Saturday, December 13, 2014

12-6 to 12-9-2014 Trip to Placencia, Belize

Eight of us gathered in Placencia, Belize.  It was the 3 Stallsmith brothers, their wives and 2 friends.  Everybody had a great time.  (If you check this post soon after we initially post it check back because we will make it better by including some pictures that other people took.)

The Friends Lynn and Diana arrived on Friday and checked out the town and prepared to dive on Saturday.  Lynn went diving again on Sunday as well.

At about 3 in the afternoon on Saturday, December 6th everybody got there and got together to start the weekend.  Greg, Danny and Stephanie were running in the End of the World half marathon on Sunday so they focused on that, and we didn't stay out late Saturday night.


We rented the top 2 floors of this beautiful place (Bamboo Gardens, near Captain Jak's) for all 8 of us.  Each floor had a full
kitchen, living area, 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, and 2 decks!  It was walking distance to all the action in Placencia.

The third floor living area (this is where we stayed).

One of the 2 third floor decks, complete with a cat that meowed and meowed and meowed for Eric.

One of the 2 second floor decks, with an awesome hammock.

The main floor living area.

The Tipsy Tuna was near us and we went there several times.

Beautiful sand volleyball court at the Tipsy Tuna

Indoor bar with sand floor at the Tipsy Tuna

Colorful outdoor seating at the Tipsy Tuna

The Barefoot Bar was open and had several dogs running around....the whole town had a lot of dogs running around and we
saw several 3 legged dogs.

The beaches were well groomed and beautiful.  This is the view from a cute little restaurant/bar called The Shak.

There is a stamped concrete walk that parallels the road.  There are all kinds of restaurants, bars and shops along here.

At the south tip of Placencia there is a nice dock


Dan and Stephanie finishing the half marathon - woo hoo!

Greg finishing the half marathon - way to go!

The marathon got over early in the morning, so after cleaning up a bit we all went to Miss Brenda's and had an amazing meal:
Ribs, chicken, shrimp, beans and rice, pasta salad (unlike any we've had before), fresh fruit, plus a fifth of Rum and a huge
bowl of  fresh juice to make drinks.

Our group (minus Lynn) with Miss Brenda (in the white blouse) and a local artist.

After lunch we stopped at the Picked Parrot before heading out on our rental golf cart to check out the peninsula.

We had to stop for a quick photo break.  Katy is enjoying a Belikin beer by the beach.

Diana and Stephanie

We stopped at Maya Beach Bistro for appetizers and delicious drinks.  This is the incredible view from the deck seating.

Eric, Katy and Greg checking out the dock at Maya Beach Bistro

Eric enjoying the hammock on the dock at Maya Beach Bistro

We had to get back by 4 pm for our nighttime Monkey River jungle cruise and hike with our guide Percy. The tour lasted several hours and included dinner at one of his relatives' restaurants.  From the river we saw loads of crocodiles, plus herons, kingfishers, owls (called night hawks here), and iguanas.  On our hike in the jungle we didn't see any wildlife, though we could smell where the howler monkeys were.  Percy showed us some medicinal plants and trees, and he took us through a HUGE bamboo grove that had to be completely sheltered from rain and wind because the dense bamboos grew way tall and formed a thick canopy above us.

Leaving Placencia for Monkey River with our guide Percy (driving the boat).

Our guide Percy caught a small crocodile for us to check out, and Diana held it first.

Katy really liked the baby crocodile

It was pretty cool to see the crocodile up close, and thankfully nobody was bitten.

Lynne with our new friend (which we released unharmed).

A larger crocodile on shore - probably 8 feet long or so, and still an "adolescent" according to Percy.


Monday we hired a boat to take us out snorkeling.  He took us to Silk Cayes and we saw many nurse sharks (harmless), a blue colored ray, a brown spotted ray, many different types of fish (parrot fish, puffer fish, etc.), and a giant sea turtle (way cool).

Waiting at the lovely dock before the snorkeling trip.

We stopped here briefly for a bathroom break and to pay the fee to snorkel at Silk Caye National Park.  We saw little lizards
and hermit crabs on this tiny island.

We all saw at least one ray.  Cara saw a blue-colored ray and a larger brown spotted ray.
(Thanks for the pic Diana Lu.)

Conch shells littered the ocean floor
(Thanks for the pic Diana Lu.)

We saw lots of nurse sharks, which thankfully are harmless to us.
(Thanks for the pic Diana Lu.)

Cara and Katy's favorite sighting was the giant sea turtle.
(Thanks for the pic Diana Lu.)

The sea turtle had a small school of fish that constantly swam just underneath its belly.
(Thanks for the pic Diana Lu.)

You can see how close the sea turtle came to us.  Cara even had to move out of its way one time because it was swimming
right at her.  (Thanks for the pic Diana Lu.)

We got back from snorkeling just in time to clean up and take Diana to the airport so she could fly to San Ignacio and continue her Belize adventure, visiting caves and Mayan ruins.  Then the rest of us hopped on the golf cart and continued our tour of the peninsula, stopping in at several interesting bars along the way.

The Flying Pig - an awesome bar/restaurant north of the Placencia airport.

The Flying Pig was opened by a really nice former school teacher from the U.S.

Swings for seating at The Flying Pig!

Jaguar Lanes is Belize's only bowling alley, and they actually have good pizza there.  (Don't ask me why we ordered pizza in
Belize, but we did.)

They have WiFi at Jaguar Lanes, so that meant it was time for the ladies to check in on the rest of the world via our

We had breakfast together on Tuesday morning before everyone else had to fly home.  We ended up taking the bus back to Hopkins ($6 US for both of us to go about 39 miles).  It was a friendly and uneventful ride.

Our take: Placencia is definitely on the touristy side, but it is beautiful, and it was a ton of fun to explore with this great group of people!  We're so glad they were all able to make it, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

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