It’s only a one hour boat ride across from Livingston in Guatemala to the Belizean mainland. Border proceedings were a breeze and after breakfast we were on a chicken bus up the coast. We are very much in the Caribbean now, the Caribbean that I had always imagined. Patois is now spoken along with English and a very youthful Queen now features on all the notes – it’s like stepping back to the 80s. Although Belize has been independent for over 20 years they have chosen to keep the Queen on all the notes – but nobody has thought to update the picture.
Four hours up the coast we pass some quite impressive jungle, I think this is where an expedition of British Army soldiers got lost and had to be rescued by helicopter whilst on a jungle survival course. Amusing.
To get to Placencia you have to get off at the wonderfully named Mango Creek and hop onto the local Hokey Pokey water taxi through the mangroves.
Placencia itself is an immaculate small caye. It’s one of those one road type towns, but it’s been invaded by North Americans so although it’s still all wooden shacks and sand floor bars it’s all very – nice. The beach is stunning – white sands and crystal clear water and we get lucky with the weather too – according to an American guy who’s been spending the winter here it’s the first nice day in four weeks.
Since the place is catering mostly to middle-aged Americans, there’s a surprisingly good range of restaurants for somewhere so small. But if you’re on a tight budget then this probably isn’t the place for you. It’s certainly not expensive by European standards but we struggled to find a room for less than $40 and eating out definitely costs more than anywhere we’ve been in Central America so far. We ate at a great little restaurant, run by another American ex-pat but if you’re looking for something more local there are plenty of bars serving fresh seafood on the beach.
Placencia’s lovely, and it’s the kind of place I could imagine coming for a two week holiday but at the moment it’s a little expensive for us so we’re only stopping for a few days before heading to the cheaper, more backpacker-friendly Caye Caulker.