Stretching 16 miles between the calm lagoons of Big Creek and the blue, choppy seas of south Stann Creek, the picturesque Placencia Peninsula is quickly becoming a premiere tourist destination in Belize. Located 100 miles south of Belize City, Placencia boasts the longest sand beach in the entire country. Dotted with quaint seaside resorts, guesthouses, hotels and restaurants, this once sleepy fishing village is now being recognized for its laid-back ambiance, breathtaking location, lush ecosystems and abundance of adventure-packed activities to experience.
Home to a collage of cultures stemming from the Garifuna, Creole and Mayan to retired Americans and Europeans, the typical villager uses a bicycle to get around, walks barefooted on the red dirt roads or simply strolls down the narrowest street in the world ~ Placencia’s famous sidewalk. Twenty inches wide, the sidewalk, which was featured in the “Guinness Book of World Records”, extends through the heart of the village and is a common meeting place for neighbors and friends.
Visitors can travel to Placencia by road, boat or plane. The red dirt road along the peninsula and leading into the village mostly provides a very bumpy and dusty ride. In the wet season, the road gets very muddy and slippery and a four-wheel drive vehicle is advisable. Traveling along the peninsula towards Placencia, visitors will encounter the small Garifuna community of Seine Bight. A community rich in their Garifuna heritage, visitors can take a walk around to experience a taste of local ethnic dishes, music and hospitality. Traveling along the peninsula one cannot help but wonder how this narrow strip of road is not swallowed up by the large water bodies on both its sides. The community of Big Creek can be seen on the opposite side of the large expanse of lagoons, while small mangrove cayes dot the horizon on the breathtaking view out to sea.
Arriving in the village immediately hints at the natural laid-back ambiance of the community. Residents standing on their verandahs overlooking the narrow street into the village, chatting with the neighbor across the street; children running around bare-footed and care-free dragging each other in makeshift wagons; dogs of all sizes and breeds freely running about (in fact residents of Placencia have created a calendar featuring pictures of the beloved pet dogs of the village which are for sale in most of the gift shops) and fishermen docking into the picturesque harbor at the end of the main street.
Visitors to Placencia have the opportunity to experience both sea and inland jungle adventures because of the village’s ideal location. The village comes alive in the summer months when the annual Lobster Fest is held. This seafood extravaganza is a celebration of the opening of the lobster season in Belize. Visitors can drift from booth to booth sampling the variety of delicious lobster dishes while listening to the live beats of Garifuna drums reverberating through the cool salty air.