Strolling Placencia Village’s “Main Street”;
Real Estate Discovery “North of the Airstrip”
Did you miss the first post in this series, Night 1 In Unspoiled Placencia? Go back.
a typical Placencia native home
We started the second day of our Belize trip (our first full day in Placencia) by taking a stroll on the long concrete pedestrian-only sidewalk running up the center of the village, getting a good introduction in the process to the coffee shops, bistros, local restaurants and guest houses juxtaposed between colonial era clapboard style cottages—some of the better maintained ones had Air BNB signs, a lot of the ones where the locals lived were in disrepair. Like the other tourists and the many ex-pats from the U.S., Canada and Europe who live here, we appreciated that life was simple, but good. Where the reef meets the rainforest, nearly everyone here wears a smile on their faces. The big crime news of the year was a bicycle theft.
Kayaking, snorkeling, diving, saltwater fly fishing, light tackle saltwater fishing, whale shark watching during the full moons between April and July of each year, and an annual Lobster Fest have drawn the tourist traffic to Placencia now for years. Yet somehow, there is still much yet to be discovered by investors and developers. Together, the flight to Belize plus the jumper to Placencia are expensive, but once you get there, you’ll find that the food and drinks are about 10 years behind Dallas prices. While there are plenty of willing buyers, shopping was limited with inflated prices, given the quality and variety that were lacking.
We easily navigated the entire peninsula on a golf cart and headed off to the north end toward Maya Beach, which Peter described as “the Frisco of Placencia,” where things would be newer and fancier, he said. Not that we cared; we liked the opportunity and vibe on the Bohemian south side already, but we were anxious to compare.
Along the way, and before we passed the airstrip to head north, we stopped at the Turtle Inn, a 25-room seafront escape acquired by Francis Ford Coppola in 2001. Its thatched cottages, decorated with handcrafted Balinese furnishings reminded us of our beloved Tulum. After entering the north end of the peninsula, we made another stop at Itz’Ana Resort and Residences. A large main house serves as the lobby and gathering spaces for the beautiful Colonial style resort listed among the collection of “Small Luxury Hotels of the World.”
A courtyard in The Turtle Inn is the perfect place to enjoy a bottle of Coppola wine.
(left) The Itz’Ana Resort and (above) Beside the lobby bar we found a most interesting secret room hidden behind a wardrobe.
Continuing north, Peter pointed out what will soon be another airstrip, which promises to soon open up direct flights between Placencia and major hubs. Halfway up the peninsula, we visited Villa Jammin’ Gecko, Villa Groovy Gecko, and Villa Laguna Gecko, three of a handful of waterfront villas with enough bedrooms to sleep eight to twelve people. The villas are owned in one-tenth shares by investors, who can use the homes for their five weeks a year or rent them out through Gecko Vacations. These three homes are among the profitable vacation island and ocean front villa rental operation opportunities that Vision Properties has created for its investors over the past 10 years.
As we jumped back into the golf cart to continue toward Maya Beach, we first travelled through the small village Seine Bight, home to approximately 1,000 people primarily of the Garifuna culture, who still exist principally on fishing, hunting and small-scale farming. At Maya Beach’s The Placencia, a Muy’Ono Resort, we found a swim-up bar and spacious pool, surrounded by a traditional village of white buildings with red tile roofs offering one, two and three-bedroom accommodations. Very nice, yes; rustic, no. This would be the right choice for some less adventurous seekers, but we are more Bohemian.
After the full day of exploration on a warm day, we insisted on a nap before heading back to the Yacht Club for our Pina Coladas, followed by a light supper. Sure enough, the Dallasites were there, too. They were leaving the next day, and we would tour the home they had been renting. Island Time Gecko is located on our south end of the peninsula, just down an inlet of water from the Yacht Club. That evening, as we left the Yacht Club, our boat driver took us up the inlet past Island Time and other homes and then around the curve to an undeveloped end of the island. Its shoreline had just been drudged to widen it enough so that large motor yachts and sail boats will be able to navigate in and out.
Satisfied that the “south of the airstrip” side of the Peninsula was where we would have interest in investing, and the promise of private islands to explore there, we were looking forward to discovering all that it had to offer on Day 3.