I wish I had known more about the town of Placencia before going. No matter what I read about the "sidewalk" I didn't understand how the town is built around it until I got there.
However you read this review, I am glad I went. What a unique experience.
We stayed at Ranguana Lodge. Cute bungalows right on the beach. Can't beat the price and the staff was kind and friendly. However, having a community built around a sidewalk, as unique as this is, has drawbacks.
First, we drive everywhere in Belize. We have driven to every district except Toledo. The road to Placencia is long and bumpy. It's worse than the road from Orange Walk to Chan Chich! Our rental car's bumper fell off on this road. People are nice and will stop to help. I really love the Belizian people.
If you stay at one of the many places on the beach in the heart of town you will have to walk your luggage through the intricate sidewalk system to get there. This was not so good for my 60+ year old parents who were struggling to adjust to the Belizian heat as it was. Once there, we were all happy. The houses, lodges, shops and restaurants are about 4 or 5 deep in some places from the driving road to the beach. The main sidewalk is about 3 feet wide and the side-sidewalks are about 2 feet wide.
The bungalows and homes along the entire peninsula are pressed very tightly together. The first night the power went out on the peninsula (I suspect this happens often, you can tell everyone is illegally hooked into the power supply) and it was like being back in college in the dorms. You can hear everything in every direction and there were many young partiers enjoying the darkness on the beach and in the lodge next door. If I had known a place like this existed for this price when I was back in college, I would have been in heaven. It is made for a young, social crowd. Chan Chich is more the speed for my parents.
Our only full day was spent on a whale shark tour. We did see one whale shark, but the tour was not what I expected, either. They take you out to the northern part of The Gulf of Hondras and tell you to get in and start looking. 3000 feet of blue, blue water. Not another fish or coral or anything but ocean. Well, after 45 minutes a whale shark showed up behind me close enough to touch. He just swam by me like he didn't even know I was there. It was incredible. I was amazed. How do they do that??? The whale shark photo is from a disposable underwater.
Food and shopping in Placencia can be worn out quickly. Again, nice enough shops, decent food, friendly people. I had the best shrimp creole of my life. But I would say it's more for college kids who want to sit on the beach or divers and fishermen. Of course, seeing a whale shark made my trip to Belize (we've been before and it is a destination we can't seem to get enough of anyway). This is not Ambergris Caye (it, too, has pros and cons, of course). I would not classify Placencia as my typical tourist destination.
I am including photos of the sidewalk. I don't think you can get the uniqeness of it without going. I suggest making the trip and being open to adventure. Even though it wasn't perfect, it was well worth the drive.
I know others have posted photos of Ranguana Lodge. I will skip those since they are out there if you look.
- Also Known As:
- Ranguana Hotel Placencia
- Ranguana Resort Placencia
- Ranguana Lodge Belize/Placencia