Until recently, Placencia, Belize was a small, sleepy fishing community, home to approximately 1000 residents. And only within the past few years has it become a destination for tourists from around the world. With exotic white sand beaches, world-class diving and breathtaking Mayan ruins, Placencia is the ideal getaway or vacation for memories that will last a lifetime.
When I first heard we would be traveling to Placencia, my initial question was, “Where is that?” Sure, I had heard of Belize. I knew it was tropical and somewhere in the Caribbean, but other than the basics, I had no idea what we were in store for. Little did I know it was a yet undiscovered hidden gem, a peninsula only 12 miles in length.
At the Placencia airport, we met hotel representatives who drove us to Belize Ocean Club. We were immediately charmed by the unspoiled nature of Placencia; it is not your typical “touristy” town. In fact, we joked about four cars in Placencia being a “traffic jam!” Quaint restaurants, shops and beautiful lush vegetation line the one main street on your quick ten minutes trip from the airport to Belize Ocean Club. Upon arrival, we were greeted with cool towels and tropical rum drinks to refresh ourselves. What a nice surprise!
But, what we came to realize is the service at Belize Beach Club is excellent. In fact, we felt like we were treated like royalty from the moment we were picked up at the airport to the time we left by the courteous and accommodating staff. Basically, they anticipate your every need before you begin to ask. And they cater to your every whim and desire. The staff was always five steps ahead of us. They paid attention and took time to get to know us personally. For example, we ordered breakfast the first day. The second day, they were already aware of what we wanted. There was a request made on the first day for non-dairy milk. They didn’t have it. The second day, it miraculously appeared and was there from every day forth. They also knew exactly who was vegan and who requested it.
The dining area is literally right on the beach. It is a beautiful palapa overlooking the ocean. And, quite simply, the food is amazing. Homemade bread, tortillas and pizzas are served daily. Fresh fruit abounds. We were served chutney made from fresh pineapple and local honey that was a perfect accompaniment to tropical pancakes. One of our favorite drinks was a watermelon licuado which is fresh watermelon juice served over ice, so refreshing! I remember a server carrying endless watermelons over his shoulder to make them. There is a mix of Mayan and Caribbean influences in the food so they serve everything from egg white breakfast burritos to jerk chicken. And to illustrate how attentive the staff is, one member of our party was a red wine drinker. The next day, a waiter recommended wines after doing research on what was available to him that would suit our palates.
During the day, we enjoyed lying out by the pool and playing beach volleyball on their private beach. And we ordered yoga under a palapa next to the ocean’s edge. This was an amazing experience and we found the yoga instructor to be extremely knowledgeable and patient. Doing yoga outside with the beach breeze and simply breathing in the fresh air in savasana pose was an experience we’ll never forget.
For those seeking a bit more excitement, every Sunday they have a pool party from noon to 7pm complete with DJ and great music! This is the place to be on Sunday afternoon. We also enjoyed bicycling, kayaking, beach combing and swinging in the large hammock! And the friendly atmosphere makes it perfect for both couples and families with children. There is no “attitude” here, just happy people enjoying a beautiful day in the sun.
And for those of you wanting to book a day excursion, the resort will quickly and easily arrange this for you. Trips to swim with the sharks, rays, manatees, whale sharks, fishing, hiking and site seeing are all reasonably priced. It is important to note that the Big Blue Hole, located a stone’s throw from Placencia, is the second largest great barrier reef in the world. It is second only to The Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This makes it a popular destination for divers from around the world.
Conveniently, most of the excursions will even pick you up from the resort lobby. One trip in particular sounded divine. It was a boat trip to snorkel by a local, uninhabited island. This was followed by a homemade meal cooked on the island by your tour guides. Could this be paradise found?
These are the features that separate this resort from others. And don’t forget the fine dining, beautiful scenery, a powder soft white beach, comfortable and luxurious rooms and an ocean view for all. And speaking of the rooms, ours was 1200 feet with huge vaulted ceilings. We had a large balcony that overlooked the ocean, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, dining area and a full size kitchen. The kitchen is extremely cost effective. We rode the hotel bicycles 10 minutes into town to the local grocery store. Wi-fi, cable television and all the luxuries of home were available to us. And we loved the comfy high thread 100% cotton sheets! And no trip to the tropics is complete without truly effective air conditioning; it is essential based on the humid climate. The large balcony was ideal to watch the sunrise and sunset, how romantic! What’s not to love?
Upon leaving, the staff was thoughtful enough to serve us coffee in our rooms as we had an early flight. Lovely, steaming coffee was presented with a smile and a thank you punctually at 5am. Could it be me, or is the coffee in Belize far superior to the coffee back in the US?
Would we return to Belize Ocean Club? Absolutely! This spectacular resort is willing and welcome to embrace their guests in a very special way. And for Americans, the dollar is pegged to the Belize dollar 2-1. That’s lots of bang for your buck in Belize! And with weekly, non-stop trips from LAX to Belize, what’s stopping you from a quick trip to paradise? Belize Ocean Club is one of the best-kept secrets, a hidden gem to explore where you will create wonderful memories with your friends, family and loved ones that will last forever.