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Belize: Placencia – Photo Essay of Another Paradise Lost

December 7, 2009

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When I first traveled to Placencia in southern Belize, transport was difficult.  The first leg involved a public bus that passed by way of Belmopan through some of the most atrocious roads known in the former British Empire.  From there we switched vehicles for the ride to Stan Creek, now known as Dangriga, and then made our way to Mango Creek, from where one could catch a dugout across the lagoon to the peninsula upon which Placencia is located.

1) Approaching the village from the lagoon

The fishing vessels at the time were still powered mostly by sail, with the occasional dugout/outboard arrangement, and locals would travel 15 nautical miles offshore to the reefs where the fishing was good.  The village had a processing plant for conchs, and the women who shelled the creatures often found gorgeous conch pearls, which they would sell for a pittance.

2) Sailing vessel, probably a fishing boat

At the time of my visit, there were no hotels, save the Rum Point Inn, an eclectic  series of round bungalows that boasted a first-class bar and tennis court.  The American owner seemed quite content with his lot in life.

Now, of course, hotels abound and tourists have the run of the place.  I always wonder, am I partly to blame for helping to discover this jewel of the western Caribbean.  I understand most people visit the village now courtesy of the recently built airstrip.

But the world moves on, and we have to move with progress whether we approve of it or not.

3) The house I rented.  It may have set me back $40 per week

4) Our roommate Bob performing his morning ablutions in front of the beach house

4.5) Local kids playing on the beach in front of our house



6) Village life

7) The beach north of the village.  Highway, condos, airport access?  I wonder what goes on there now

8) Garifuna (mixed Native American and African ethinc group) village north of Placencia.  Looks like iguanas are on the menu for lunch

9) Garifuna house

10) Bamboo chicken, anyone?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2010 12:28 pm

    I loved Placencia when I went there in 2005. Now I’m afraid to return. I know there are condos and “villages” and things that have taken over the beaches. It scares me to think what it might look like even only 5 years later.

    I stayed in a colorful cabins near the point where the dive shops are. I bet they aren’t even there anymore.

  2. December 8, 2009 11:15 pm

    Yeah, I keep wanting to go back. I used to know a hotel manager on the lagoon side who always said she would comp me a room because of the business I sent her, but alas, she moved on.

    Is the Rum Point Inn still there? We used to go there to play tennis and then quaff a few rums.

    Anyhow, some day I will return with my wife, who has never seen the town. I’ll try to look you up if you’re still around.

  3. December 8, 2009 2:08 pm

    Thanks for the details. We have been here full time for five years and it’s very interesting to see and hear about the “earlier” years. I think it’s time for you to make another visit! Take care…

  4. December 8, 2009 12:24 pm

    Hi Drew,

    My first visit was in 1978, I rertuned in 1980. Not much had changed, except that someone had converted a house into a backpacker dorm-type place. Of course, nowadays you can find all manner of high-end hotels and resorts. When I worked as a travel agent I would occasionally send people there for a quiet destination, but my clients would report that the town was pretty busy, what with the new ease of access and all.

  5. December 8, 2009 10:57 am

    Wondered what year you were in Placencia?

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  1. Belize: Traditional sailing craft « The Backpacker's Handbook

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