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Belize is a preferred choice for holiday for many Americans as well as other tourists from different parts of the world. Many also retire in this beautiful Central American country since buying a home and daily cost of living is very low here. But most tourists head for popular spots like Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker in northern Belize. But there are little hidden gems in different parts of the country that regular tourists rarely visit. One such place is the village of Placencia from where you can go to the Ranguana Caye.
When you come here, you will be stunned how picturesque the whole place is! You will feel like that you have walked into the set of some Hollywood movie! In fact, Placencia has a Hollywood connection as the most popular and sophisticated restaurant of the peninsula is owned by Francis Ford Coppola! The brightly painted boats in myriad color, the smiling friendly people in beautiful sarongs selling local handicrafts and the thatched bars with sandy floors will all transport you into another world where time seems to be of no meaning! The best part of this place is going to stay like this even if it comes up on tourist maps because the local infrastructure won't support overdevelopment.
Now the reason why this quiet little place should feature in your itinerary, especially if you love fishing, is because it is the nearest point for Ranguana Caye. This tiny island is situated in the middle of Belize Barrier Reef which is the second largest barrier reef in the world. You can walk hundreds of feet into the water and still see clearly the bottom of the sea! Even the fishes love this place so much that they don't migrate from this place! It is better for you because you can do a host of activities like fishing, snorkeling or kayaking to your heart's content. If you are interested in scuba diving, you can talk to your hotel manager in Placencia who will arrange for an instructor.
Staying in this island, which is so small that it will only take you 5 minutes to walk the perimeter, will require prior planning as it has only three cabanas for the guest. There is one caretaker who acts as chef, waiter, maid, fisherman and everything you need him or her to be! When tourists are not present in the island, the caretaker shares the island with local fishermen who fish here way past midnight and then anchor the ship on Ranguana to sleep. You will be totally cut off from civilization; no calling your friend or checking mail on the laptop. In fact, unless it is a clear day, you won't be able to see any landmass around the island! You will surely feel like the last man living on earth after a cataclysm has wiped the rest of mankind. But people who come here love this solitude; in fact they love it so much, that sometime they have to be forced to leave the island for the next batch of tourists!
How to go there
Reaching Placencia is easier now than ever. This southernmost tip of a long skinny peninsula is only 100 miles from Belize City but the journey takes about 3 hours by road. Flying from Belize City to Placencia which lasts for about 35 min. is also an option; Maya Island Air is one airline which has regular flights in this route.
Staying in Placencia
Since the place is small, most hotels are located within a short distance. You can try out any of the Beachfront Guest Houses in the village which have beach front cabanas with veranda most whose budget rooms starts for around $50.
Another great staying place in north part of Placencia village is The Inn at Robert's Grove . This hotel has 50 rooms whose charges for double room starts from $145. This place has the most reputed dive shop of the village and three pools. The beach restaurant is very popular with locals as well as guests. They will also arrange for your Ranguana Caye stay which starts from $323 per person and includes everything from transport to drinks.
For a real international feel, try Turtle Inn in north Placencia which is owned by Francis Ford Coppola. The rooms and suites here are free-standing cabanas on the beach or near it with thatched roofs. It has two restaurants, one serving Italian and the other local cuisines, two bars and quaint footpaths that lead to the beach. The décor is Balinese and it is one of the nicest hotels perhaps in all of Belize! The room rates here start from $240 which includes continental breakfast.
Eating in Placencia
For local Belizean delicacies like spicy snapper or conch steak or Creole dishes, try The Galley in Market Square. If you want to eat while gazing at the sea, try DeTatch known for their coconut curry shrimp and fish burritos.