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The latest news and images from Belize!!

Remaxvipbelize - Placencia

It was a very exciting couple weeks in the news for Belize!! There was a ton of positive attention all over different media – it started with Lonely Planet placing Belize as #10 on their list of top ten places to go in the world, in 2019… For a tiny country this is a HUGE accomplishment!!! See HERE

Then GQ, the knower of all things cool, proclaimed that BELIZE was the place to go – and to skip trendy, super-cool Tulum this year!! See HERE….

Then, the same week, Belize was announced the fastest-growing place in the Caribbean…

Caribbean Journal announced Belize is the fastest-growing Caribbean destination based on September’s tourism results!! See HERE
Belize and the Caribbean were labeled Zika-free – YAY! Read on HERE
Tropic Air announced a new direct flight from Belize City to Mexico!! Using the puddle jumpers makes getting around neighboring countries super easy and quick – the customs at the small private airports are a breeze and you feel like a VIP 🙂 See HERE!In local exciting news – on the island of Ambergris Caye, Maya Island Air opened a swanky, new airport in San Pedro!!! It doesn’t even look like Belize – super posh….check out the pics HERE!

And continuing with the poshness that seems to be developing around Belize (but verrrrry slowly!) the amazing new swanky store, Mirab’s, in Belize City, opened up the first Ashley furniture in the country – Belize has VERY few chain stores – you can almost count them on one hand, int the whole country. So when a chain opens here, it is a mixture of – everyone feels upset because this goes against the grain – and also, relief that it makes it just a bit easier to live here and get things you’d like to have to live 🙂 Check out the store HERE!

And nothing talks about Belize like the pictures you can take here – the country is a paradise for photographers. Here are some of our favorites over the last couple weeks – a walk through Placencia Village, getting pretty for high season!!
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
And some San Pedro favorites…
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - San Pedro favorites
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
And finally a shot of the fabulous Mirab’s 🙂
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
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Best of Belize pictures from the last couple weeks….

Remax Vip Belize: Best of Belize pictures
With our PUR team now in two locations….and lots of enthusiastic picture taking…..we are gathering an absolute TON of amazing images in different parts of Belize. There are almost too many to organize but so many of them are can’t miss — here are our favorites from the last couple weeks!!From the air over San Pedro…

Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture
Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture
Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture
Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture

From the islands near Placencia…

Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture
Remaxvipbelize - enthusiastic picture
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village

From Placencia Village…

Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village

From downtown San Pedro….

Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village

From CBC and PUR!

Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
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Trip Report – What a vacation in Belize looks like when you split time between San Pedro and Placencia!

Remaxvipbelize - Trip Report
Since we have opened our second hotel in Belize, in San Pedro, we have had a lot of questions about what a vacation might look or feel like to do both San Pedro AND Placencia in one trip! We have had a number of guests book the package deal and thus far we are getting rave reviews, because Placencia and San Pedro are VERY different – they are like different countries. Recently, we had a group of two single women come down and do both (they started at PUR Boutique Cabanas in San Pedro, then went down to Caribbean Beach Cabanas in Placencia), and they offered to write a guest blog about their adventures here!

Two Cleveland Gals’ adventures in Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Placencia, Belize!

Day 1 – Arrive Ambergris Caye. Nelson from PUR picked us up at Maya Air in Ambergris Caye to take us to PUR with bottles of water and a cold towel, much appreciated after our flights. Nelson gave us a quick tour through the town and showed us some hot spots, where we could have a fun time. Then after a quick check in, we suited up and headed to Palapa Bar downtown on the beach. It was the perfect spot after traveling most of the morning. We stopped next door to Wayos. Nancy had a cheese quesadilla. They had great music and atmosphere. It was a perfect casual evening out.

Day 2 – We slept in on our first full day. Such a treat! It was so nice to walk out of our cabana and have a poolside breakfast right at PUR. The omelet was AMAZING. We relaxed in the pool for a few hours and had a slow easy morning. Headed up north in the golf cart. It was a Monday which is a pretty slow day on the island. We spent a few hours at Pacos. Then stopped in Coco Beach. We weren’t able to use the pool, but had a cocktail and enjoyed the scenery. We headed back to PUR to change and freshen up then birthday-eve dinner at RAIN. Went to dinner around 5 so we would see the sunset at 6:25. It was pretty cloudy, so not a great sunset, but FABULOUS views. The food was excellent – ceviche & garlic lobster tail & tuna. They have some great wine choices, including Kim Crawford. Probably best wine menu on the island and they offer a cheese plate. A must do! We stayed North of the bridge all day. We ended the day at the casino at Captain Morgans, had an amazing, fun time at this tiny casino, lost a little $ but the local free drinks made that better. It was great to have $5min US tables for blackjack. You really got to know the dealers and other players because  it was so intimate. It was great to drive a quick few minutes home to PUR!

Remaxvipbelize - Captain Morgans

Day 3 – Tuesday – Shannon work up early and walked down to the beach to enjoys the sunrise at around 5:45. After a slow walk up and down the beach, we had a quick breakfast at PUR before our excursion. We were picked up at PUR and headed downtown to snorkel Hol Chan & Shark Ray Alley. It was a ½ day excursion with plenty of time to snorkel. We saw amazing fish, sting ray, urchins, spikey things, tons of sharks, shells, beautiful coral and of course sharks. By 12:30, we were back at PUR and enjoyed a relaxing poolside lunch. Shannon had the taco bowl that was so good and could have fed two people. Shannon’s birthday celebration began with a clean room and a cute message from the staff. We were going out to dinner, so we had drinks at the pool at PUR and hung out with the outer guests staying there. It was a really fun afternoon. Then off to Nook for dinner downtown. We all indulged on espresso martini and enjoyed a singer on the patio during dinner. We were right on the water – everything was 5 stars, location, service, food and drinks! Off to the crab races at Crazy Canucks. We had to take the golf cart there from downtown, but we were right on the beach. Rob, a fellow Clevelander, owns the bar and has crab races on Tuesday night to raise money for local non-profits. For a few dollars each, we picked out crabs and named them. Rob did the announcing similar to a horserace. It was so fun and great energy. We won a $10 gift card to a local restaurant. They have given over $80,000 to local charities. After, we stopped back downtown at Melt for karaoke. Rashida and Kenny made us feel at home and Nancy sang a song before we left for home.

PUR pool fun
Remaxvipbelize - PUR pool fun
Remaxvipbelize - PUR pool fun

Day 4 – Wednesday – Shannon headed to Akbol for yoga. They were doing a special yoga practice that was almost 2 hours long. It was amazing. Very relaxing and as a beginner, I felt very comfortable. Kirsten walked around and made sure everyone was doing things right and was encouraging everyone to go at their own pace. After, they welcomed everyone to say and meditate. After 2 hours of yoga, I was good, but the offer was nice. Nancy had breakfast at Akbol and enjoyed relaxing on the hammocks. Then off to Secret Beach – it took about 40 minutes in the golf cart. It was a very scenic ride with a lot of undeveloped properties and waterways with mangroves, etc. There are a lot of bars right by the parking lot when you arrive, but we went the trail to the left to the Blue Bayou. They had picnic tables in the water with a server delivering your drinks. It was excellent service and scenery. We had tacos & chips and queso for lunch. Everything closes down around 6, so we headed back around 5 and stopped by Truck Stop. What a cool spot. Old shipping containers contained a pizza shop, taco shop, southeast asian cuisine, and ice cream. They also play movies on the lagoon, had a great pool, checkers, and other games. It was another full day north of the bridge day.

Sunrise walking to Akbol from PUR
Remaxvipbelize - Sunrise walking to Akbol from PUR
Tables in the water at Secret Beach
Remaxvipbelize - water at Secret Beach

Day 5 – Thursday – We walked about to have breakfast at Marbucks (turn left out of the property – about an 8 minute walk). We had the quiche and bagel sandwich. Definitely try this one morning. It’s a small spot with just a few tables, and a good vibe on the sand road at the back of the PUR. We turned back to PUR for a few hours in the pool before heading to Caye Caulker. That morning we met up with friends at Dive Bar (also north of the bridge). It was a great spot…we didn’t stay long but had hammocks, lounge chairs and great beach. We then took a 25-minute boat ride to Caye Caulker with a quick stop at Koko King – must do. (They have a free water taxi from Koko King to Caye Caulker). Walked around, had lunch at the Split. While at Caye Caulker the rain came in (we were there during rainy season). It poured rain for about 10 minutes but after, besides a few puddles, you wouldn’t have known it rained. We took a quick ferry back to Ambergris Caye and headed straight to the chicken drop at Wahoo’s. What an experience. We were there early to purchase our tickets. They had about 6 “drops” a night. After everyone purchases their tickets, the winner is chosen by where the chicken “drops”  (poops) on the board. What a trip! We had lucky 35 and won! We were back at PUR around 11, yes it was a late night, and the security officer on the resort showed Nancy an anteater in the tree. We (quietly) relaxed by the pool for a bit, unwinding before bed.

Chicken Drop
Remaxvipbelize - Chicken Drop

Day 6 – Friday – We were off to Placencia. Nelson took us back to the airport, with a drive on the beach, one last time, and we relaxed in the air-conditioned lounge for 30 minutes before boarding our flight. After a quick stop at the municipal airport, we were picked up by Mr. Dave in Placencia. CBC was just reopening after construction. Many updates happened to the cabanas, casita and the villas. They now have amazing beach beds and everything was freshly restained/painted. From CBC we took a quick walk down the sidewalk to Barefoot Bar and had a delicious lunch with frozen fresh fruit mojitos and margaritas. We returned to CBC for a late afternoon swim in the pool. It was such a relaxing chill day. We ended our evening back at Barefoot Bar for a light dinner. Barefoot will pull you back in again and again during you trip, it really feels like the heart of town and is always warm and welcoming. Placencia in low season is a bit hit and miss with what’s open but there was plenty to do every night – we enjoyed being able to meet and talk to more people since the atmosphere was more intimate – we felt special because there weren’t THAT many tourists in the village, never crowds, and the beach to ourselves most days! It was such a great change from San Pedro, where it was pretty crowded and crazy, and we felt so tanquil and relaxed during our time in Placencia. I recommend people doing San Pedro first if you can so you can rejuvenate in Placencia before you head home.

Day 7 – More adventures! We headed up north to the Waterfalls at Maya King. We stopped on the way at Maya Bistro. The food is fantastic and they have espresso martinis ☺ They have a pool on-site and being right on the water it is picturesque. They are not in the village, but a fun place to visit for a meal. Took a drive up to the waterfalls. For about $10 US we were able to drive up the mountain and explore. There were bathrooms on site and the paths were clear and easy to navigate. The pictures sell it. On the way back, we popped into a few resorts for cocktails and snacks in the Maya Beach area (this is about a 20 minute ride from the village). Belize Ocean Club, Naia and Turtle Inn (this is closer to the village). With the exception of Turtle Inn, we were able to enjoy the amenities of each resort as long as purchased had food and/or drink. That evening we walked into the village for some live music at Cha Chi’s. Shannon had ceviche (again), but Nancy and our friends all had pizza. It was very good New York style pizza, sold by the slice or the whole pie. This is a new place in the village and worth the stop.

Maya King Waterfalls
Remaxvipbelize - Maya King Waterfalls
Naia
Remaxvipbelize  - Naia
Cha Chi’s
Remaxvipbelize - Cha Chi's

Day 8 – RELAXING! We walked down for breakfast at Cozy Corner (because De tatch…Shannon’s favorite, was closed for low season). Had a very relaxing breakfast. It’s always best to not be in a hurry because service can be slow. Then we walked the entire village stopping into souvenir shops, jewelry stores, and art galleries. We finished our day relaxing by the pool at CBC and had a wonderful cookout with friends. There is a gas grill onsite for guests use. The grocery store nearby has everything you need for a beachside BBQ. The pool at CBC is perfect for a boutique hotel, it is really welcoming and comfortable, just big enough and the right temperature to hang out for hours. You can hang under a huge palapa roof in the shade or in the pool on stools.

Cozy Corner
Remaxvipbelize - Cozy Corner

Day 9 – Last full day in Belize. We walked through the village to the pier to have breakfast at the Shak. This is also a must visit. They have a great variety and it fun to people watch at the pier. We were back at CBC before noon and just relaxed and laid out. In the afternoon we shared a bottle (or two) of wine we had picked up from the duty-free shop at the airport. Man, that was really living. We walked to Rumfish for dinner (best dinner per Shannon)! Shannon had a filet, lobster tail, brussell sprouts and potatoes for $55 BZ ($27.50 US). This dinner in Cleveland could cost nothing less than $60US and it was wonderful. We stopped by Barefoot Bar for a night cap and ran into some friends we made in Ambergris. It really is a small country. It was a great way to end the trip.

Shak
Remaxvipbelize - Shak

Day 10 – Travel ☹ Mr. Dave dropped us off at the Placencia airport and we took the trek home.

**Note that in Placencia, we could have done any number of excursions, but I really just wanted to relax. I wanted to stay on my cushioned veranda, lay out, look at the sea, get in the pool a bit, maybe paddleboard or kayak a bit from CBC’s beach. I have been to Placencia before and have done Cockscomb, Monkey River, and Laughingbird Caye. These were all amazing, and I highly recommend people that haven’t been hee before take at least an excursion or two. We also wanted to do Ranguana Caye this trip, but we weren’t able to because they weren’t going the days we were there – next time!!
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Who is Belize NOT for? 8 things to know before you move or come to Belize….

Remaxvipbelize - honest and non-marketing post

While this can be considered a controversial blog – after 5 years of reading countless reviews, blogs, commentary, and posts about Belize – and who is a great fit and who doesn’t like it – there has come a clear picture that I felt might be helpful to share – for those looking to vacation or move to Belize, as you can’t get a real feel for a place until you visit. It is helpful to read an honest and non-marketing post about this topic – because it is a lose-lose if someone comes to Belize and it is not for them. There is no place in the world that is a great fit for everyone, but when you find the right place, it is heaven – and many find that is true for them in Belize. I’d love to hear feedback from others to add to this list!

1.) Belize is not for people who are very sensitive to heat and bugs; Belize is a tropical climate and it is HOT year round – some people love this and pick Belize for this reason – there are days where there can be little wind, which can bring out the bugs – and a person who is a good fit for Belize heads for an over the water bar/restaurant (where there is always a breeze and no bugs), takes a dip, goes to Secret Beach or a local pool, or finds shade and a hammock. I have seen others staggering around downtown forcing a shopping trip or something else, instead of being flexible to what the weather brings, and then complaining about the heat. Also – you may find you confront a cockroach, scorpion, mosquitos, or other things that bite during your time here. The tropics kind of come with that – and you DO get desensitized over time, I should know with my initial heebie jeebie-ness with bugs, but you just get over it, spray some deet, find some breeze, and deal. If you feel this is something you could not ever deal with, you may not be happy in your time here; most people find ways to manage.

Remaxvipbelize - know before you move or come to Beliz

2.) Belize is not for people who are rigid about schedules and systems, or are sensitive to last minute changes or unexpected turns of events. Belize is a developing country – and systems are not always perfect. By a long shot. I am personally amazed by the level of services available in remote areas and islands in this developing country – and am grateful to be able to live in a tropical climate with what I see as few inconveniences when it comes to infrastructure like electricity, water, or wifi. In the last 5 years I can count a few times where I was “inconvenienced” by something going out at a bad time, but never has it been a hideously remarkable deal. I remember one morning the water went out right before I was to get on a plane. No shower – I still had options – the pool 🙂 or grab some baby wipes and make do! On the other hand, I have seen more times than I can shake a stick at – reviews and complaints about the wifi, water, electricity – and I have to be honest – if it would really upset you to lose one of these services for a couple hours or even a day, and it would ruin your trip – I would stick to first world places – even there this can happen, but realistically it is going to be more of an issue in the developing world. Yes – the ATM machine is going to not work sometimes – but isn’t it amazing how many places take credit cards? Yes – the wifi might be slow right now, but isn’t it amazing that we have it on an island in the middle of the Caribbean in a developing country, as well as it works? If you come to Belize, you’ll be happier if you have some ability to have a contingency plan or a flexible, easygoing spirit. The business owners and locals work hard to make a nice experience for guests and can’t control everything – but everyone tries very hard to create an unforgettably warm and welcoming experience.

**Edited to note – this goes for issues like Sargassum as well. Many people ask why the villages don’t do more to tackle seaweed – there are MANY reasons but most of all, because they do the best they can with what they have to work with…it’s a long topic that has been covered in other posts.

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people

3.) Belize is not for people sensitive to food/food allergies/needs for specific foods – Because this is a developing country, there are not culinary schools or really strict regulations. A cutting board MAY be used for shellfish and then veggies. Probably less of a problem at higher end restaurants and resorts. But part of the remarkable food scene here is the food trucks, stands, stalls, and people walking around with their goodies. There is no CISCO trucks delivering processed pre-made bags of broccoli cheese soup in Belize – everything down to the tortillas is made from scratch – and it tastes like it. You know how you can tell the difference between a dinner at Applebee’s and a food truck meal in the US – the homemade quality? That is Belize food and it is amazing. BUT – many times you are going to have your heart set on guacamole, lionfish, mangoes, whatever – and the place is going to say we are out. It happens, and it is common – there is often one road into a village and limited deliveries – and small freezers and such to store things. If you want vegan or vegetarian foods – at some places you are really going to have to spell out what that means – those are not typical meal plans/lifestyles in Belize. On some cayes, food comes a loooooong way over on a boat – and sometimes the food isn’t the freshest by the time you get it home, if you buy it from the stores. It is helpful to roll with this, and learn to buy food that is as local as possible and be flexible with the inconsistent nature of the imported goods. For those that find the food terribly expensive – please note that the learning curve is a bit high here – many that live here have learned to eat for cheaper and healthier than they could in the US – but it requires flexibility and willingness to change habits (cooking from scratch, using local food etc.) Those that find this unsettling may not be happy here. Oh – there is only the tiniest selection of beer and the imported alcohol is really expensive – if you don’t like Belikin or the local liquors, but you like to drink, you probably won’t like it here.

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people

4.) Belize is not for people who need external regulations and rules/need to be told the appropriate level of risk to take – One of the most exhilarating, freeing, yet scary things about Belize, is the choose-your-own-level-of-risk nature about it. There ARE laws and these laws can be implemented at any time – but enforcement is inconsistent. You will see people driving their golf carts drinking, smoking marijuana in public….you will see people jumping off boats, swimming with sharks and rays (no liability to sign!), you’ll see clearly unregulated businesses all over the place, loud music, barking dogs, you’ll see building going on where you can be pretty sure there are no permits, and you’ll hear ALL manner of things that if you find the right person – you can get it done. If you are nice to and bring donuts to the right people, it is amazing what you can accomplish. The rules just aren’t like the US where our culture is pretty rigid about toeing the line, and many people do not care for this fuzzy-regulations culture. We are a guest in the country and whether we find it right or wrong, or think it should be changed or better – it was like this before we got here and it is a young country. This is hard for some to stomach when you come from a culture where you are told things like a small passionate group can change the world. You will find groups of expats living here on opposite ends of this spectrum – and it is helpful to understand where both sides are coming from; most people’s intentions are in the right place, but outside intervention/opinions are not always welcomed.

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people

5.) Belize is not for people that are sensitive to political correctness – the political correctness on every level is different here. You will see some uncared for animals and parenting choices that would get a hard time in the US. You will notice and experience that the prices you are charged as a “gringo” are not what the locals are charged. You will see a hierarchy in the ethnic classes here, inequality between men and women, or unchecked signs of poverty. You will see outsiders come in, build, and leave things half finished to rot, and you will see areas where prices are pushed up to the point where locals can’t afford to live in their own towns. You will see people from all over the world who come here with less than good intentions, and leave it worse than they found it, and give outsiders a bad name. It can be very frustrating and Belize is a very, very young country – a lot of kinks to work out – and if it sounds exhausting to be at the foundational level of this change in a country – it may not be for you. This also allows for the good to come out – many, many good people come here with the best intentions and do leave Belize better than they found it, and are humble, flexible, and helpful, and are an asset to their communities (in my opinion these outweigh the bad by far!)

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people that are sensitive to political correctness

6.) Belize is not for people who are freaked out by the crime rate – it is no secret that Belize has a high crime rate, but the areas where tourists go are about the same as anywhere in the world – if anytime a crime comes out in the news, it is going to traumatize you – it might be too stressful to be in Belize. Belize is a tiny population and there is crime – but the chances of something major happening to you here are statistically small. Belize’s largest city, Belize City, accounts for a little over half the major crimes, and this is generally personal, drug or organized crime related. Most major crimes in other parts of Belize are of a personal nature. Belize does not have a large “suburban” population to absorb the crime of Belize City, so the per capita rate looks bad. There have been crimes committed against outsiders here, where it appears to be random, and while it is VERY hard to come up with hard numbers – there are a million visitors to Belize every year. There are about 20(?) significant crimes against outsiders per year (we are talking major stuff, not petty theft) – this is about a .00002 chance of you being randomly severely injured in Belize. If you do things like leave your common sense at home – which is seen here plenty – leaving phones out of tables, leaving bags unsecured, leaving doors unlocked – petty theft is pretty common – but if you stay grounded with where you are and take an extra moment to be careful – you severely limit your problems. Again it is a young country and there is not exactly a forensic crimes unit in every town – and there is no ADT home security. But criminals don’t have access to the degree of weapons like in the US, so you aren’t bringing a knife to a gun fight. Securing your stuff (burglar bars, good locks) is pretty basic and easy to do. And, there is no random mass shootings here!

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people who are freaked out by the crime rate

7.) Belize is not for travelers who need to shop, spa, golf, and be pampered – Belize is a rustic, developing place, and while there are some amazing spas and resorts where you don’t have to leave the confines of the place – this is not the point of Belize. Belize is not meant for the all-inclusive crowd – there is very little shopping, the spas are rustically awesome but also not like LA, there is a lot of open-air, non a/c dining and walking, there are almost NO chains with predictable options for your comfort, there aren’t escalators, elevators, shade and misters everywhere. It is kind of do-it-yourself; many people are very comfortable here, but it takes a flexible spirit to figure it out. This is an outdoor culture, if you are in indoor person, you will struggle. If you are really comfortable at Disney, Myrtle Beach, or Palm Springs, you are going to find this is the opposite end of the spectrum. There is no predictable, regulated, scrubbed clean tourist areas – the beauty of coming to Belize is to interact with the village/town culture and get a little challenged. This is NOT a materialistic culture – fancy shoes, bags, cars etc look very out of place here. Everyone here hangs out at the same places for the most part. Those that breathe a sigh of relief to wear $2 flip flops and their wet hair in a bun, with a bathing suit on under their gym-looking clothes will love it here. Again – set-apart resorts with first world amenities do exist where you do not interact with local culture – but you can do that anywhere and this is not the crowd Belize has historically attracted. In fairness – Belize is in a transition right now, with many new high end resorts, hotels, chains, and condos coming – but it is slooooooooow.

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for travelers who need to shop, spa, golf, and be pampered

8.) And finally, to be honest here, Belize is not for people with health problems or disabilities – being a young country, there are not regulations or supports in place for most health problems or even things like wheelchair access. I met a great individual in a wheelchair who recently moved here, and he was making a go of it – so it can be done – but he said the few ramps there are – are the wrong degree and are quite difficult. He appeared to have a lot of grit and I would say you would need to have that quality. There are few health care resources here for chronic problems, or emergency services, and while there are clinics that do a GREAT job with what they have to work with – this is a developing country issue and Belize as a whole is not there yet. There are also few counseling or mental health services, even social security and social programs are in their infancy.

Remaxvipbelize - Belize is not for people with health problems or disabilities

While this list comes across perhaps a bit harsh…it is the reality of living or traveling to a developing country. Why would people want to come here? I have about 50 blogs on this topic. I feel like Belize is on a cusp of many wonderful changes, many growing pains right now – but to be part of the experience of a young country that has been welcoming and warm to me and dozens of friends and family I brought here numerous times, who come again and again, and have fallen in love with it too, not to mention the thousands of happy/too-many-to-count repeat guests we have the honor of hosting at our hotels in Belize…to experience the refreshing way of life here in so many ways, to rethink what makes you happy and what is important, to stop trying to keep up with the neighbors and materialism, to experience the staggering degree of nature experiences here – waterfalls, mountains, jungle, the reef, the prettiest water, beaches, palm trees, to stay in a thatched-roof cabana and eat the most simple and delicious food, to hear local drumming and music, to have the opportunity to live where people come from all over the world to relax and dive, feels like a privilege!

Who is Belize not for? While this can be considered a controversial blog - after 5 years of reading countless reviews, blogs, commentary, and posts about Belize - and who is a great fit and who doesn't like it - there has come a clear picture that I felt might be helpful to share - for those looking to vacation or move to Belize, as you can't get a real feel for a place until you visit.
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Some very tranquil, peaceful images from around the sleepy Placencia Village right now…

Remaxvipbelize - Some very tranquil
We are in quiet, low season right now – but Placencia is always tranquil and low key, so while the village is less crowded, it is less noticeable than the high/low seasons other places where you may experience packed beaches in high season. In Placencia, if you have to wait for a table even in high season, it is a head scratcher, and that is part of the lovely charm it has. Our team is pretty obsessed with taking pictures because there is ALWAYS something charming to see when you walk around the village  – here’s a taste of the beauty and tranquility over the last couple weeks from our eyes!
This is most people’s first view of Placencia – the tiny, modest airport – most people cannot believe that they are actually going to land the puddle jumper on the tiny runway right next to the water….
Remaxvipbelize - Some very tranquil
This is Ranguana Caye – one of those islands that is truly jaw dropping every time….right out of a calendar.
Remaxvipbelize - Ranguana Caye
There is a TON of wild fruits growing all over the village – they are so exotic and gorgeous…
Remaxvipbelize - TON of wild fruits growing
CBC had a lovely beach wedding last week….here is the gorgeous bride and groom!! Congrats from all of us at CBC!!!
Remaxvipbelize - gorgeous bride and groom
Even in low season, you will find stocked farmer’s markets throughout the village….totally worth a stop, we bet you can’t identify at least a quarter of the produce in them!
Remaxvipbelize - stocked farmer's markets
Pelicans are always around the peninsula – but when they are, it is so super fun to watch them dive and act crazy!
Remaxvipbelize - Pelicans
Walking the beach walk in the village is especially tranquil this time of year….
Remaxvipbelize - Walking the beach walk
Garifuna drumming – one of the authentic cultural must do’s during your time here…
Remaxvipbelize - Garifuna drumming
One of the many spectacular sunrises recently….
Remaxvipbelize - spectacular sunrises
More crazy wild growing sea grapes!
Remaxvipbelize - More crazy wild growing
We love to capture the rustic simplicity around CBC…
Remaxvipbelize -love to capture the rustic
Amazing sunset…..
Remaxvipbelize -Amazing sunset
Always a wonderful place to stop – the pier, where there is always local culture to experience, no seaweed, and a wonderful pier…
Remaxvipbelize - wonderful place
More pics from Ranguana Caye, full of cute handpainted art…
Remaxvipbelize - pics from Ranguana Caye
Ranguana Caye clear water
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A fun newer place at the pier is Cool Coconuts – you are truly having a tropical vacation when you are drinking out of one…
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Adorable Cozy Corner from the beach side…
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Quiet sidewalk
Remaxvipbelize -Quiet sidewalk
 “fast food”
Remaxvipbelize - fast food
 Amazing harbor views
 Remaxvipbelize - Amazing harbor
 Main heart of town on the beach
Remaxvipbelize - Main heart of town
 Local stores – charming, vintage look buildings
Remaxvipbelize - Local stores - charming
 More harbor views
Remaxvipbelize - More harbor
 Quiet grocery shopping can be found…
Remaxvipbelize -  Quiet grocery shopping
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Placencia Lobsterfest Update

Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Lobsterfest

Lobsterfest is in full swing every weekend around this time every year. Both San Pedro and Placencia (and Caye Caulker has one too) go NUTS for the opening of Lobster season, and it is really, really endearing – everyone gets into it, bartenders wear lobster hats, the steel drum music, the crowds – just super fun, and if you’ve never experienced it – you really want to be here for it next year. In fact you can make both festivals by splitting your time.

This year, In Placencia, there was a bit of controversy as the location changed (and the village is not a big fan of change :)) and because there are some serious limitations on land to use for a festival, the land that was finally chosen was by the pier. In order to get the mass amount of tents etc there – a tree had to be cut down. It happened to be a tree on the beach that people used a lot for shade, and there were a lot of unhappy folks because Placencia tends to be conservative about preserving nature. However — the happy ending is, Village Council went over the top this year with setting up – it truly looks amazing. There will be two trees planted in its place, and with the perfect weather/water/set up – everything has calmed back down, and now Lobsterfest has a new home every year. Here are some of my favorite pics from this year so far!
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Lobsterfest Update
Image may contain: 3 people, people standing, crowd and outdoor
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Image may contain: one or more people, sky, ocean, mountain, outdoor, nature and water
Image may contain: one or more people, sky, cloud, outdoor, nature and water
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10 reasons why Belize is perfect for a single traveler & some ideas for your trip!

Remaxvipbelize - single traveler & some ideas for your trip

Why pick Belize as a single traveler – and tips on how to do it!

1.) Belize is very popular for adventurous, free spirits – it is not known for its luxurious all-inclusives – and although there is a lot that is romantic about Belize, this is not what it is best known for. Belize is known for being off the beaten path, full of adventure, the 2nd biggest reef in the world, Mayan ruins, cave tubing, and being a rustic paradise where you don’t have to be fancy. Belize gets a LOT of single travelers because the adventures, while pretty sweet to experience with someone else, are not necessary to have with another, the way that an all inclusive on the beach would be.

2.) It is a destination for people to come when they are seeking out a place with more authentic, non-corporate experiences. While you can probably picture the whole vacation start to finish if you are headed down for a week to rent a beach house in Florida or Myrtle Beach (nothing against those places, it is just that you really know exactly what you are getting, no surprises, lots of chains, and sometimes this is just right!) The average traveler to Belize — ALL over the map. Although there are plenty of families, this is not the most wonderful place on earth for a lot of kids (it is a do-it-yourself place, there isn’t putt putt, wifi everywhere, water parks etc), and you will see a lot of free spirits on the plane to Belize. While the crowd headed to Cancun generally has its share of manicured nails and designer bags in line at the airport, you are more likely to see Tevas, backpacks, and generally more earthy-types (totally generalizing – however – check this out for yourself at the airport!)

Crab Races at Crazy Canuck’s Paradise Guy’s page – see below

3.) You are NOT going to stick out in the Belize crowd as a single traveler – on almost any excursion, there are singles, you will see them at hotels and bars, and it does not look weird here at all. In fact, I have never been to a place in my life where people seem to become best friends over the course of a vacation – and I have been to many places where I didn’t talk to another traveler for a week. Belize is small, intimate, warm, and friendly – and the vibe here is one of openness and inclusion – perfect for a single traveler.

4.) Materialism is NOT a thing here, and it looks almost funny/definitely out of place if you happen to see really nice cars, shoes, bags, jewelry, etc. In fact, you will stick out if you are wearing more than a tank top and t-shirt – barefeet are even ok. In general, when traveling alone, you can feel free to be as casual as you want.

5.) Many/most hotels are small/boutique in nature, and the excursion groups can be as small as 3-5. It is so easy to make fast friends here – you aren’t a small fish in a large pond here, quite the opposite. People WILL talk to you if you are a single traveler sitting alone and look reasonably friendly!

6.) You don’t have to navigate public transportation or long drives by yourself – you can stay right in the village in Placencia, or right in the heart of town in San Pedro, Caye Caulker, or San Ignacio, for example, where everything you would want to do is steps away. You can be picked up right at your door for excursions. There will always be people around and you won’t have any scary walking-by-yourself-at-night-in-the-dark moments. (This isn’t recommended anywhere of course, even at home, but because Belize is so small, you can do everything on foot.)

The scene by Barefoot Bar
Barefoot Bar is the best place for a single traveler to meet locals

7.) Getting around the entire country by yourself can be easy, painless, and not scary at all – you can hop on the regional puddle jumpers safely and easily and get around the country in no time – minus your fear of flying in something the size of a car, most any traveler will feel comfortable and safe. There are many options of course, like driving, shuttles, or the bus, but even for a beginner traveler you can travel the country with ease in the puddle jumpers.

8.) Pick your hotel wisely. I do not recommend staying at a larger condo-type place – because these generally get more families, children, and groups who tend to be a bit less socially-motivated. The bigger the condo, the easier it is to get lost in the couch/TV comforts of home! You will notice when you go to these many condo type places – you may not see people socializing and interacting at the pool. Many may also have longer-term residents who have different energy than a traveler. You want to find a smaller hotel with common social areas, a pool, or close to the action, or a hostel-type hotel if that is your speed – because those truly are social havens, and Belize has many great ones in every town. You probably also want to stay away from romantic hotels that cater to honeymooners as a single traveler – for obvious reasons 🙂

Secret Beach-from Pinterest
Image result for secret beach belize

9.) Do a bit of research before you come to see where to go each night, near your hotel, so nighttime alone travel is minimized. You will probably get invited to group outings before the end of your trip, but at least the first few nights – some great resources are the Placencia Breeze online, the Placencia What’s Happening page, or take a walk around town and read the boards out front at the bars. There are activities aimed at socializing every night in the tourist towns. A great link in San Pedro is THIS for nightly happenings. San Ignacio is a town that is less beach bar/tourism driven so I would travel there for the excursions and adventure, but less for nighttime fun.

10.)Here are some recommended hotels and activities in Placencia and San Pedro for some single traveler fun!
Placencia
Bars- Thirsty Parrot (don’t miss, most social warm place you’ll find), Barefoot Bar, Tipsy Tuna, karaoke at J Dee’s on Sundays
Activities – hang out at the pier beach and The Shak, swim around Barefoot, Cozy Corner or Sailfish during the day, set up a snorkel the first day you are there – you can easily find these by the chalkboards all through town. This is a sure way to meet people! Also go to Caye Caulker and hang out at the Split for an afternoon.
Hotels – Julia’s Cabanas, Miramar, Sea Spray, Cozy Corner, Anda Di Hows, Lydia’s Guest House are all casual, laid back social hotels.

Pic from Julia’s Cabanas website
Image result for julias cabanas

San Pedro – a Single Traveler Meeting Place
Bars- Palapa Bar, Sandy Toes, Wayo’s, Melt, Sandbar, CocoLoco’s, Crazy Canuck’s
Activities – karaoke (check the link above!), the chicken drop, crab races at Crazy Canuck’s, swim at Palapa Bar, Secret Beach, YOLO boat outings, hang out at SandBar during the day
Hotels – Sandbar for sure, this is modest but is truly your best chance of meeting others, Pedro’s Inn for younger backbackers, Sun Breeze Inn, slightly more upscale but great social pool and bar attached -these are all right in the heart of town with social stuff going on all day long.

Pic from TripAdvisor….Sandbar
Image result for sandbar belize
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Gorgeous pics and new stuff to do in Placencia, Belize!

Remax Vip Belize: Gorgeous pics
The weather has been awesome lately! April and May for the last few years have been great months weather-wise in Belize, very little rain, and since it is still technically high season-ish, everything is open! So I’m just going to sprinkle in a bunch of recent pics while you catch up on some Placencia happenings….

Remax Vip Belize: Placencia happenings
 One of the things to love here….decide your own level of risk
Remax Vip Belize: own level of risk
 This place is building up and getting good reviews
Remax Vip Belize: good reviews
An often photographed area 🙂

One of the the things I have heard again and again that Placencia is missing….is a wine bar….and….now one is opening! Right near Above Grounds, “The Little Wine Bar” is a welcome addition to what the village offers 🙂

Remax Vip Belize: An often photographed
 Placencia Fast Food
Remax Vip Belize: Placencia Fast Food
 Placencia artists 🙂
Remax Vip Belize: Placencia artists
EnE got a lil facelift!

One of the things to LOVE about Placencia, that is truly, truly unique to this little village, is how the village connects on Facebook. EVERYTHING there is to know about what’s happening in town, good, bad, awesome, or ugly, can be found on the Facebook groups. One of the things that I miss when I am anywhere else, is with one scroll through, let’s say, “Placencia Restaurants/Food!” you can find out who is open, who is delivering, who has specials, see their menus; even pics of the dinners places are offering. And most of the posts are from little locally-owned food stands, which is one of the greatest experiences for food in the village. Don’t scroll through it if you are hungry. But definitely scroll if you are coming here to get caught up on where to eat! You will always find something new, or an idea of where to go that you haven’t been in a while. You can also learn about the vast array of local food available in the village.
**You will also realize that you can become dependent on these news feeds, and then when you are other places, find yourself saying, what am I going to do??? I don’t know where is open or where to go! 😀
***Want more group info? Check out these:
Placencia WHAT’S UP
Placencia What’s Happening

Remax Vip Belize:  Placencia What's Happening
 One of the best beach atmosphere places to eat
Remax Vip Belize: best beach atmosphere
 Nice people and nice golf carts
Remax Vip Belize:  nice golf carts
 Heart of town
Remax Vip Belize: Heart of town
You haven’t lived until you’ve done Sunday Karaoke here

The village is in preparation right now for Lobsterfest, which is one of the high points of the year every year. Lobsterfest is an example of the kind of tropical activity/event that you can’t really do in the same way when you live in other climates. There have been a few examples recently of events that I think are just so exotic, fun, and unique – another example is this Parrothead Beach Bar Belize – wow, a 3 day festival/concert on a private island, seriously?? Ranguana Caye is amazing without this added fun so this is pretty much head exploding. Recently, in the village, there was another amazing party with bikers from all over the region, check this out, what an amazing international events, the stories that must have been passed around!!

Remax Vip Belize: Parrothead Beach Bar Belize
Placencia from the lagoon side

Oh, and there is some crazy whale shark sightings happening….one of the premier activities people come to Belize to do.

In other news, Belikin is partnering with Heineken – we are all wondering what this will mean about availability of different beers in Belize, or Belikin in the US??? Will have to wait and see…

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Spotlight on the “Tres Cocos” neighborhood of Ambergris Caye, Belize…

Remaxvipbelize - Spotlight on the

Since we have opened PUR, in the Tres Cocos neighborhood of Belize, I have had a LOT of questions coming my way about what Tres Cocos neighborhood is like, where it is, why is it up and coming, why should they choose it as a place to stay, what are they missing if they don’t stay in town? There isn’t much info online about this neighborhood so I thought I’d give a fresh perspective about this area!

Remaxvipbelize -tres-cocos-neighborhood

Tres Cocos is the area just north of the bridge in San Pedro. San Pedro is the biggest town on Ambergris Caye, and there are different neighborhoods around the island that you will hear talked about. One of the more famous destination neighborhoods is called Boca Del Rio – which is the heart of town, where the majority of beach bars and docks are. This is a definite must-do, it has some of the anchor places on the island, like Palapa Bar, Sandy Toes, Wayo’s, all the excursion docks, Melt, Sandbar, and many more. The other great parts of town to visit are south of there, where you’ll find Estelle’s, Nook, Blue Water Grill, and then farther south, an entirely different neighborhood with the fun of Crazy Canuck’s, Road Kill, AJ’s and more….this is why Belize gets many repeat guests, as each area has its own vibe and I am barely scratching the surface of all the places to go, eat, see, and do.

Back to Tres Cocos. Tres Cocos is really, really pretty – and looks different than the rest of the island. It is newer and less developed, and less busy. One definite positive most will agree is that the road north is amazing compared to the rest of the island. Much of the road on the island is cobbestones and bumps and is pretty rough to drive on, not to mention, BUSY! Once you get north of the bridge, you find a very polite, straightforward, smooth, two lane road with mostly golf carts and bikes. The road was just paved within the last couple years, which has helped the growth.

This cute market is just north of the bridge…
Remaxvipbelize -tres-cocos-neighborhood
 One of many beachfront scenes you’ll see on your drive up…
Remaxvipbelize -tres-cocos-neighborhood
 One of the first cute restaurants, Pirates Treasure….
Remaxvipbelize -tres-cocos-neighborhood
 Another cute place to stop –
Remaxvipbelize -tres-cocos-neighborhood

This neighborhood has recently started to be on everyone’s destination list partly because of Truck Stop and Croc’s, which are two super unique experiences to have on the island. Truck Stop is a veritable carnival of fun, with games, movies, food trucks, and is a must do – it is always a hub of activity.

Great photo opp at Truck stop
Remaxvipbelize -tres-cocos-neighborhood

Croc’s is an amazing 3 story tiki bar – HUGE! – that overlooks the lagoon and has amazing sunsets. It has become the place to be for many major events – the Superbowl this year was so packed on every floor that there was barely a seat available.

Remaxvipbelize -tres-cocos-neighborhood

Many, many condo developments can be found in Tres Cocos, along with an amazing, tranquil beach walk that is a must-do. It is just gorgeous. You can walk to Ak’bol Yoga on the beach, and do yoga on a palapa over the sea.

Remaxvipbelize -tres-cocos-neighborhood
Remaxvipbelize -tres-cocos-neighborhood

There are some wonderful resorts north of Tres Cocos for spas and upscale dining, including rooftop dining at Rain. Coco Loco’s is a very friendly, warm pool bar that has some fun events weekly, and Dive Bar is an amazing experience.

Remaxvipbelize - Coco Loco's
“Marbucks” is a great pace for coffee and breakfast.
Remaxvipbelize - Marbucks
Stella’s is a romantic stop for wine….
Remaxvipbelize - Marbucks
Lisa’s Kayak rental….
Remaxvipbelize - Marbucks
There are also little tiki bars tucked here and there, like Tiki Maya and Paco’s Tiki Bar. There is a new bbq place and an Irish Bar. All of these places are popping up and there seems to always be something new!
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
There are plenty of stretches of really pretty landscaping, homes, and stretches of road…
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
 Really interesting houses to be seen!
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar

I think it is fair to say that there is less authentic local culture north of the bridge, it is newer and many of the larger fancier resorts are just north of Tres Cocos. Downtown San Pedro has a very authentic feel, and it can be crazy – busy, loud, hectic…a little bit gritty – and always fun. North of the bridge in Tres Cocos is quite tranquil, you will awake to hear birds in the morning, and there is some space and nature between each establishment, as opposed to in town where things are right next to each other.

Some scenes from the tranquil beach path…
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Scenes from the beach front…
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar
Remaxvipbelize - Paco's Tiki Bar

One other reason that north of the bridge is great is that it is a perfect takeoff point to get to Secret Beach, which is most definitely not a secret, but may never lose that name. Secret Beach is a place where there is no sea grass, and the sandbar extends forever, so you can walk out in waist-deep water, and enjoy an amazing number of super fun beach bars that have popped up there. Belize has been getting Sargassum seaweed in large amounts recently, along with all of the Caribbean, and for beach fun, this is definitely the place to go when the sea grass hits the east side of the island.

You can always book something in town for half the trip and spend the other half in Tres Cocos!

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Sargassum is gone….but there is still plenty of beauty to enjoy no matter what mother nature brings!

Remaxvipbelize - Sargassum is gone
Sargassum has been an issue for a few weeks in parts of Belize – and it is a nuisance to everyone. It can come and go, or stick around pretty nastily for days at a time, it is very unpredictable. Many visitors in their first time to Belize had a lot of questions. Because having it wash in is still a relatively new phenomenon, there are many different theories you will find. It is everywhere in the Caribbean – not just Belize by any stretch, and many places get it much worse.Guests ask why Belize doesn’t use nets or bulldozers, the way they would imagine it would be done in the US? Belize is unique in that we have a fragile barrier reef, the 2nd largest in the world, to protect. We typically get more sea grass than an average beach because the sea grass helps support the marine life. Without it, there wouldn’t be the amazing sea creatures that people come from all the over the world to snorkel with. It is part of the ecosystem and is not seen as a negative thing in reasonable quantities. We cannot use nets and heavy beach equipment because it destroys the fragile beaches (you can see much beachfront all over the world is seawalled – the seaweed helps build up the shore, and it doesn’t take much to erode a beach.) Belize takes the protection of sea creatures very seriously, and the use of nets or other water devices will cause those same creatures to get caught up in them.

So Belize tends to take care of the seaweed the old-fashioned way – by hand…one person at a time, with a pitchfork and wheelbarrow, or just a shovel and rake. This means that it doesn’t get cleared fast, and while we all hate the Sargassum, and we are all concerned about the garbage that tends to get caught up in the seaweed and wash in, it can be helpful to see the bigger picture and what is best in the long run for the environment. This post is meant to show the other beautiful things you can look at – even is the shore is messy. Also, the final pictures show what the beach is like when it inevitably goes away – and Belize is working towards environmentally friendly ways to balance the desire for our beaches to stay clear, and to do what’s best for the long run!

You can take a walk through town – we have an amazing sidewalk with jaw dropping, postcard worthy snapshots….
Remaxvipbelize - amazing sidewalk
Remaxvipbelize - amazing sidewalk
Remaxvipbelize - amazing sidewalk
Remaxvipbelize - amazing sidewalk
Remaxvipbelize - amazing sidewalk
Remaxvipbelize - amazing sidewalk
We are fortunate in Placencia Village to have a wide enough beach in areas that even if the shore is messy – the views are still incredible.
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia Village
You can always find a hotel that has a pool that provides you the exotic experience you came to Belize for….
Remaxvipbelize - experience you came to Belize
 Paddleboarding is always an option if you can get past the shore!!
Remaxvipbelize - Paddleboarding
And one morning – poof! It’s gone and back to normal 🙂
Remaxvipbelize - one morning - poof
 And Sticks has been enjoying an extended vacation in Placencia…his favorite place in the world 🙂 He has thoroughly been enjoying each and every dog-friendly guest!!
Remaxvipbelize - Placencia