Placencia is on a sandy spit that stretches south from the mainland 27 miles long. At points the sea is just metres from either side of the road. We were meeting my Mum and her best friend, Else there for a week on the beach at Christmas. They had been doing their own trip around El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala and joining us on the road for three days after our week together on the beach. We were all so excited and pleased to be spending our first Christmas away with them.
The village is has 2 streets, one for cars but the Main Street is just a boardwalk through the sand. There are quite a few tourists here but it still feels very quiet with no big hotels or resorts in the village. The village is a mixture of local houses and guest houses. Mum had picked a wonderful small boutique hotel right on the beach with a big veranda to relax on. The sea was perfect for swimming and we had a fabulous time with them. We went snorkelling out at Laughing Bird Caye were we snorkelled on the reef and swam with big loggerhead turtles, nurse sharks and rays.
Christmas had many elements of our traditional Christmas celebrations: midnight mass, stockings for the kids and a big lunch. However there was a Belizean twist to it all, the mass although familiar as it was Anglican, was in a small clapboard church with 3 doors open and fans running to cool the midnight worshipers and the priest had a wonderfully unhurried rich Caribbean accent and we stepped out straight onto the sand. Santa’s elves seemed to have bought mainly Mexican presents, which luckily passed with little comment. Lunch was a smorgasbord of marine delights that the hotel let us cook up on their barbecue.
We had to drag the girls out of bed on Boxing Day to go to the jungle at Monkey River. We saw so many birds, reptiles and even howler monkeys on the river and walk but we got absolutely soaked on the way back and couldn’t find the elusive local manatees.