Yes, that was a Decemberists reference.

O Placencia!

Oh, Placencia. It’s nothing short of pure, unadulterated paradise. Located on a long, skinny peninsula about an hour north of PG, Placencia is a quaint little town featuring flawless white sand beaches, crystal clear water, graceful palms, cheerfully colored beachfront guesthouses, and a collection of restaurants serving up excellent local seafood.

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Looking down the Placencia peninsula

All of this makes it the perfect weekend trip away from PG. We caught a bus Saturday morning to Independence, from which you can take a short water taxi ride to the peninsula. Four of us spent the night at a little hotel where our door opened out directly onto sand for about $20 US each. It was amazing.

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The view from our hotel room at sunrise

The town itself is adorable. In the heart of town there’s a thin wooden walkway that runs between the beach and the main road. I would hesitate to call it a boardwalk — it’s more of a picturesque walking path that runs between dozens of cute guesthouses, art galleries, gift shops, and more. Walking along it, you’re likely to spot several local artisans crafting wares to sell to tourists. The man pictured below in particular blew my mind. He is carving statuettes out of conch shells; look at the enormous piles of shells surrounding him and his house!

The near perfection of Placencia is both a cause and an effect of it being a big destination for foreigners. Flawless beaches attract tourists; tourist money builds attractive towns. It has a huge population of British, American, and other Western expats who have chosen to retire or open businesses there. This has its pros and cons: on the one hand, it means everything is more expensive and less authentically Belizean; on the other, it means you have access to an amazing coffee shop and decadent brunches, a real rarity in Belize.

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All in all, it was a beach trip, so there’s not much to write about our two days there: we spent most of the time lazing on the beach, floating in the sea, and drinking Belizean rum. Placencia is the kind of place that, frankly, lends itself better to photos than words. Luckily, my friend Ben was generous enough to lend me his nice camera for a day so I could share with you some better pictures than normal. Enjoy!

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