Oh gosh, how is it Monday already!? Did your weekend fly by because mine sure did. Oh well…I finally got around to recapping part 2 of my amazing Belize family vacation! If you missed part 1, you can find it here. The first half of our trip was a jungle adventure spent in the central part of Belize. After a few days exploring Mayan ruins, spotting wildlife, and hiking to waterfalls, we traveled three hours to the southern, coastal town of Placencia.
Monday January 8th – Travel to Placencia
We arrived in Placencia at 2:00pm. Our transfer (that is how they referred to car services) brought us directly to the docks because where we were actually staying was on Placencia Caye (aka a tiny island off the main land). It was only a five minute boat ride and really cool to be on our own island! My mom stumbled across the Hummingbird House on VRBO (here) and at first it seemed wayyyy too good to be true. Only $215 USD/night for a whole house, and that price included a caretaker, paddle boards, being shuttled to and from the mainland any time of the day….seriously!? It seemed like a scam, but after reading all of the amazing reviews we realized people couldn’t recommend this place enough! Like the previous guests who stayed at the Hummingbird House, my family really enjoyed our time there. Then again, how could you not?
[Side note: this was the first time my family rented a house on vacation. We typically stick to hotels, but I’m so glad that we tried something new and the risk paid off! There were so many pros to staying in a house rather than a hotel, like each of us having our own bedroom and having a full kitchen to cook in!]
After dropping our luggage off at the Hummingbird House and doing a little unpacking, we boated back over to the main land to explore, grab a late lunch, and of course a few drinks. We ended at the Tipsy Tuna, which had so much character. It’s definitely the perfect place for getting a nice buzz (if that’s what you’re into), and the food was good (not great, but the service made up for it). I loved the brightly colored furniture and being steps away from the beach.
From the Tipsy Tuna we wandered around Placencia some more and did some grocery shopping. Since the Hummingbird House has a full kitchen, and since my dad is a chef, we knew we wanted to cook at least one dinner using the local, fresh produce. The grocery stores are good for buying things like rice, beans, olive oil, beer, but to buy fresh produce you kind of just walk along the main road until you stumble across a farm stand. I think, correction, I know we got way overcharged for our produce since we are obviously tourists, but $1 USD is equal to $2 BZE so it was still a pretty good deal.
Tuesday January 9th – Relax and Explore Placencia
Waking up Tuesday morning in Placencia was like a dream! We decided to head to the mainland for breakfast by paddle boarding from our dock at the Hummingbird House to the beach. We doubled up on our paddle boards, so while I was paddling, Katherine (my sister) was sitting down in front just along for the ride! With a few boats passing us by at high speeds, we miraculously made it to the beach without falling into the water. After finding a spot in the sand, my dad and I hung by the paddle boards while my sister and mom went to find food. They came back with coffee and pastries/bagels from Above Grounds, which ended up being our go-to breakfast spot during our time in Placencia. One morning they had freshly made mango jam and oh my gosh, it was amazing! I’m not even a jam person, but it was delicious on top of my everything bagel.
bikini top: Marysia (I bought mine from Everything But Water)
We paddled back to the Hummingbird House after breakfast to enjoy some low-key time on the dock. I did (okay, attempted to do) some paddle board yoga. But I would definitely call it a success because I never lost my balance!
Later in the day we headed back to the main land for a Creole lunch at Yoli’s. It was such a dive, but the food was really authentic and delicious! The whole restaurant is kind of like a covered dock, it’s a little difficult to find, but we just asked the locals (who are really friendly) and they pointed us in the right direction!
From lunch we wandered over to the Barefoot Bar for some drinks. Our table was right on the beach and we ended up playing corn hole as well. How fun! My mom and I passed on the drinks, instead holding out for a different treat….gelato! Tutti Fruitti Gelato is some of the best gelato I’ve ever had! There were so many flavor options, but I stuck to the classic chocolate and was not disappointed.
Wednesday January 10th – Bike Ride and Turtle Inn
My mom and I started the day off with our morning routine of paddle boarding to the beach, grabbing breakfast from Above Grounds, then paddling back to enjoy some time lounging on the dock. We eventually rallied and headed to the mainland to rent bikes and ride to Turtle Inn, a luxury resort a few miles up the beach. This couldn’t have been a more perfect day. After a fun bike ride and getting to do some more sightseeing of Placencia we made it to Turtle Inn. It’s gorgeous! Have you seen the movie Couples Retreat? Yeah, that Eden resort that seems unreal, that is what Turtle in felt like!
Even though we weren’t guests of Turtle Inn we were still able to enjoy all it had to offer. We obviously worked up an appetite from our bike ride, so my mom and I snagged a waterfront table for two on the beach (again, unreal!!) We got some amazing pictures, but then again, how could we not with the delicious/picture-perfect cocktails and meal.
My coconut mojito was made with fresh coconut juice. I got to watch the whole process from our table and after taking a sip from what looked more like a piece of art than an alcoholic beverage, I don’t think I’ll ever want to drink a mojito out of anything other than a coconut again! Turtle Inn had every detail accounted for, I mean, just look at these wooden drink menus! And look, the menu matched my Gaia Ark bag!
After our lunch, which seemed more like something out of a movie than real life, we kept biking up the coast to Lola’s Art studio. This was something my mom had read a lot about in travel guides prior to coming to Placencia. Lola is an internationally known, local artist who paints Garifuna culture. Rather than buying trinkets and t-shirts when I go on vacation I prefer to collect pieces of artwork. I know they’re a lot more expensive, but it’s so worth it! Eventually I’ll have my own place and I can’t wait to decorate the walls with these pieces of artwork, each with countless memories from all the amazing places I’ve traveled to. Getting to meet Lola in her humble art studio was an amazing experience. Hearing her stories about how she got into painting at such a young age (she sold her first painting at 8 years old!) and getting to hear her story about the painting I purchased was priceless!
After our eventful day living it up! We reconnected with my sister and dad for dinner at the nicest restaurant in Placencia, Rumfish Y Vino. The food was amazing and I would highly recommend this spot for a higher-end dinner when you’re in Placencia.
Thursday January 11 – Snorkeling Excursion
We set up a private snorkeling excision with the caretaker of the Hummingbird House. He made a call to his friends and they picked us up at our dock and boated us away for some snorkeling! Originally we planned on going snorkeling at Laughing Bird Caye (a national park that is highly rated online for having the best snorkeling) with an excursion company. Instead, we took a chance and went along with some locals to some secret snorkeling spots and wow, we definitely made the right choice!! The snorkeling was amazing! We got to see so many kinds of beautiful coral and so many types of fish! The locals that took us snorkeling actually caught our fish while we were swimming around. After we snorkeled, we headed to a private island, where our guides cooked the fish (lobster, snapper, conch, and more!) and we just relaxed in what could only be described as paradise!
We got back from our snorkeling excision around 3:00pm and just relaxed around the house before heading to Wendy’s for dinner (the food was okay, not great). And of course we had to get more gelato! Afterwards we relaxed at the house and packed for our departure in the morning.
Friday January 12 – Departing Belize
Our last morning in Belize was nice and quiet. We had breakfast at The Shack, which is right on the beach by the dock. After a quick breakfast we packed our bags and grabbed a taxi to the Placencia airport, where we caught a 30 min flight to BZE (the international airport). The flight was a little scary, I’d never been in a small plane before, but we made it! The only problem was that our flight was 30 minutes late, luckily we had some wiggle room and didn’t miss our international flight, but if you’re planning on hopping on a plane from place to place in Belize then make sure you allot extra time. Well, that’s all I have for now. Cheers!