Green City: Placencia, Belize
We, the editors at eco18.com, have decided to chronicle our travels and highlight some of the green aspects in various cities. Please feel free to submit city ideas and information for upcoming Green City features.
Central America is growing in popularity as an eco-tourism destination, and the country of Belize is no exception. While I myself have never been to Belize, I have friends who have gone to visit the city of Placencia, a peninsula in the southern part of the country, and they have fallen in love with the area. Placencia has only recently started to become a popular tourist destination and is still rather underdeveloped, making it the ideal vacation spot for the nature lover. While the beaches are beautiful and the water is clear, there are so many other things to do for the adventure lovers and explorers aside from hanging out on the beach. Placencia is dedicated to preserving and showcasing their natural treasures as tourist attractions and snorkeling, scuba diving, zip lining, hiking and fishing are only a few activities the area has to offer.
Belize is known for their Mayan ruins and visitors will get the chance to have an up close and personal look at these ancient treasures which have been preserved for thousands of years. Just a couple of hours outside of Placencia are the Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun Mayan Ruins which are partially excavated, and about 80 miles west of Belize City you’ll find Xunantunich which features 26 temples and palaces. While you’re out exploring, visitors should also check out Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) which is a cave near San Ignacio that is also a notable Mayan site. This site is well preserved since the Belize department of Archeology only allows small groups of trained guides to take groups through.
If you’re looking to explore the marine wildlife, you can enjoy endless hours of snorkeling at the barrier reef amongst a variety of tropical fish. Belize has 392,970 acres of protected marine areas as well as the longest living barrier reef in the western hemisphere. The Splash Dive Center located in Placencia is dedicated to protecting the local dive sites including the barrier reef and the aquatic life. In fact they have a special Placencia Mooring Masters project in place that helps to raise funds to install mooring buoys for boats at popular dive sites to protect the reef from anchor damage.
In addition to the historic ruins and beautiful barrier reefs, Placencia is also known for its wildlife. Visitors to the area will enjoy the Monkey River Boat Tour through Placencia’s mangroves and will get to see all sorts of wildlife like manatees, Black Howler monkeys, birds, saltwater crocodiles and iguanas. Also in the southern region of Belize about an hour from Placencia is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve that covers 150 square miles of tropical rainforest. Its home to the world’s only jaguar preserve and while tourists won’t see any jaguars, they will get to check out their habitat and enjoy a variety of hiking trails.
Belize has a variety of eco-friendly resorts to choose from and one in particular is the popular Turtle Inn, a luxury resort located in Placencia that is Rainforest Alliance Verified and owned by acclaimed director Francis Ford Coppola. Turtle Inn consists of 25 cottages that incorporate environmentally sound designs with renewable resources like bamboo and locally sourced materials from the area. This resort does not have any air conditioning and they serve their guests organic vegetables from their organic vegetable garden.
The snippets of Belize that we’ve captured here are just a few highlights of Placencia, Belize that shows that this country is all about eco-tourism. Belize cherishes their natural treasures and take great efforts to keep them in tact while also making them appealing to tourists and helping people to have an appreciation for the nature around them.