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Booming Business Opportunities in the Southern Belize Tourism Industry

Several years ago, Placencia, Belize, was considered a remote fishing village, hard to get to, but with abundant natural beauty and resources – and it is becoming much less a secret in recent years. Placencia is an approximate 14-mile peninsula in southern Belize, with parts of the peninsula barely wider than the one road that leads to its southern tip. Anyone who has had the pleasure of driving down the Hummingbird Highway into the village, will drive down a gorgeous highway with mountains and tropical forests, with rustic Mayan villages dotting the landscape, before entering the northern part of the peninsula, which looks like the natural and open landscape of South Carolina. You soon enter what looks like 1940’s Florida in Maya Beach, with several highly rated resorts, and many hand painted signs and rustic wooden guesthouses. You then enter the authentic Garifuna Village of Seine Bight, where you will find amazing local food, drumming, and an authentic Central American/Caribbean village. At the southern tip of this peninsula, who only got its paved road in 2011, you will enter Placencia Village.

Placencia has been getting an amazing amount of press, world-wide, especially considering it is home to 1,500 residents. The amount of repeat visitors, and the explosion of new homes and hotels, is a result of several factors. Unlike all-inclusive resort cities that line Mexico and the US, where guests tend to stay in the confines of their resort, the village IS the experience. Locals, tourists, and expats (and the beach dogs!) all hang out together, and it is a very playful, warm, and friendly experience. Placencia is known to have far more than its share of world-class dining, along with exceptional and affordable local dining options. The pier at the very tip has fisherman who come in with their local catches daily, and farmer’s markets can be found throughout the village. There are only two roads in the village – the famous, pedestrian-only Placencia sidewalk, which takes you from north of the village to the pier, where you will find one Caribbean-colored wood house after another, with shops, ice cream stands, and beach bars dotting the shore. Turn the corner at the pier and head up Main Street, where you will find a bustling Central American village. Bikes, exotic trucks, and golf carts line up for the slow crawl through the one driving road. Add to this, the unique excursions available from Placencia, including private islands, world class snorkeling and diving, Monkey River, Cockscomb, and many more – along with the jaw-dropping landscape. As far as your eye can see, throughout the peninsula, you are surrounded by the sparkling Caribbean Sea, palm trees, exotic birds and flowers, and everything from wood shacks on stilts, to luxury homes.

Placencia has been gaining momentum more than ever recently, with recent and upcoming major resorts opening on the peninsula. Naia Spa and Itz’ana are bringing national attention to the area. Within the village, there are several small boutique resorts popping up, giving travelers more options within walking distance to the village – where the lodging used to be mostly rustic cabins, now there are luxury accommodations, with more on the way. Several airlines have increased their Belize offerings, and where low season flights used to be half full – now there is a need for additional routes because the flights are filled year-round.

Ms Laura Diffendal, a Placencia business owner stated, “When we began our experience a little over three years ago, Placencia was quite different even then. We had a vision to create a small boutique micro resort, as we saw this was a niche not filled within the village. There are many amazing dining options walking distance to our place, but not many commensurate lodgings. We started with three rustic cabanas and slowly built our half-acre on the sea into six luxurious beachfront options. We added touches that luxury travelers look for – clean, raked beach, pool, private verandas, luxury robes, towels, and linens, complimentary kayaks, bikes, paddleboards…numerous small boutique touches that add to the experience for our guests. We are thrilled to see that over the next year, there will be a few other boutique resorts opening within the village.” You can see our final result at www.caribbeanbeachcabanas.com.

There is still a vast array of opportunities within the village, and the village is still in need of many more high-end vacation experience options – there is a rising tide and a sense of teamwork in the village that has made it a wonderful experience to be a business owner here. Mr Frik De Meyere from Boris Mannsfeld and Associates Real Estate confirms : “If you look at the cost of real estate, land, or businesses for sale here, compared to other places in the Caribbean, there are still remarkable opportunities to be had that you will not find elsewhere. So there is no better time to invest then now. Belize is at the point of no return !”
You can find opportunities at www.RealEstatePlacencia.com

Co autors :
Laura and Dave Diffendal – Caribbean Beach Cabanas
Frik De Meyere – Boris Mannsfeld and Associates Real Estate