Regular Leisure eNewsletter readers know that most of my writing is done at about 35,000 feet in the air on planes. This month is different. This eNewsletter is coming to you from about 10 feet above sea level on the deck of SoulShine Resort in the sleepy, little known town of Placencia, Belize. I enjoy writing, so the quiet of the Caribbean tropics with those constant breezes makes for a perfect writing environment.
Belize is a country about the size of Massachusetts with a population of 250,000, and it's located on the Caribbean Sea below the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Placencia is about a 40-minute single-prop airplane ride south of Belize City. You arrive at the Placencia airport, if you want to call it that, on a runway about the width of a double-car driveway, but not as smooth. Don't be mislead by the word "resort." SoulShine has all of seven thatched huts sitting on the water's edge. Placencia is not a town known for partying. It might best be described as rustic and undiscovered. The excitement during the day is a walk into town, or as the natives call it, the village. Lunch is at the open-air Purple Space Monkey, famous for having the first espresso machine and Internet café in Placencia. That's followed by a walk down the street to TuttiFrutti to have some ice cream (the coconut was to die for!). In the evening you can walk the sidewalk, all of 3 feet wide, and dine at De' Thatch on the beach (literally in the sand), by the light of a kerosene lantern, or at the Cozy Corner on the beach. (Click here for some photos of Placencia)
One night we lived it up and went to the Turtle Inn, owned by Francis Ford Coppola and the most upscale resort in Placencia. We sat at the bar overlooking the beach and had frozen pina coladas. A local fisherman pulled his boat up on the beach, cleaned some red snapper right there on the boat, and the cook came down to take them back to the kitchen (of course, that was the one time I wasn't carrying my camera.) That night at the restaurant, we had red snapper steamed in banana leaves. It doesn't get any fresher than that.
One day we took a boat tour about 12 miles down the coast, often traveling through the mangroves, and up the Monkey River into the jungle area. We saw howler monkeys, Proboscis bats (about the size of a half-dollar), giant iguanas sunning themselves in the tree branches and all sorts of other wildlife. The boat ride made us feel like we were on the African Queen. On the way back, we stopped at Monkey River Town for lunch and had curried snook and walked around the town of 215 population. (Click here for some photos of Monkey River) On the boat ride back to SoulShine, we saw dolphins and manatees.
Anyway, back from nature to the real world. This month we have a variety of interesting and thought-provoking (we hope) articles about horses, dinosaurs, children, market areas, destination dining and a possible baby boom. That's all I'm giving away here. You'll have to read the articles to learn more.