Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve & Placencia Village, Belize
- More about your oliver guide: Brooke Smith
- Trip type: Adult, Family, Group getaway, Solo, Beach, Mountains
- Activity level: moderate
- Ideal length of trip: 1-2 weeks
to & from
We flew into Belize City.
We drove from Blancaneaux Lodge to Turtle Inn which I don’t recommend. I would take a short flight the next time. Or stop and do the tube caving, maybe to break it up.
Where to Stay
This was our first trip to Belize. The jungle was our favorite part. We stayed at the Coppola Resorts starting with Blancaneaux Lodge in the jungle.
I must add we went in 2016 so much can change. We went in November and the place was very quiet. Our stand alone villa was totally immersed in nature, along a river.
We lived on the deck and one night at sunset a group of toucans flew into the trees above us. I have never seen toucans in the wild so this was our first awesome discovery.
Next we visited Turtle Inn– very quaint and beautiful. Not a lot for kids to do. There was one pool and it rained most of the time.
Where to Eat and Drink
We mostly ate at the lodges. Great food. Turtle Inn did a traditional Thanksgiving dinner we were were there for the holiday. It was really good.
I believe were able to watch the Colorado Buff game at a bar in Placencia — a cheesy tourist bar.
What to Do
— A big highlight were the ruins in Caracol. You can see Guatemala in the distance by the deforestation of their jungles. There were many men with machine guns which added an interesting flair. Apparently years before a group of tourists had been robbed at the ruins by a group of Guatemalans who cut through the forest. Belize knows tourism is their lifeblood and have taken measures to hopefully alleviate this problem. Our son was enthralled. Since the ruins are so remote they are still unearthing some. A soldier recently was standing at his post rubbing his boot on the ground and uncovered another part of the ancient civilization.
— I’m an herbalist and hired a guide to do a day hike learning about all of the medicinal plants in the dry and wet forest that this area has.
–We did the canoe into the cave tour. We had to trek through some expats land to get there and were the only ones. Our guide turned off his light halfway into the cave and that’s when my claustrophobia hit and we turned around. It was site of an ancient Mayan ritual place where human remains still exists. Bats galore!
— We went snorkeling about an hour boat ride from Placencia. Even with the low visibility that day we still saw sharks and other great sea life.
— The monkey river tour that we took from across the street from Turtle Inn was awesome. Small boat with just us and 1 other family took us to a tiny village nearby. We had a local lunch then cruised around seeing alligators, manatees, snakes, howler monkeys, etc. We passed the new Disney island. Literally an island Disney bought for it’s cruise ship passengers. A great but not so great dichotomy in this far away land.
— One man by the pool had SO many bug bites that I saved him with my tip I’ve learned over the years. Hot sauce–the Carribean places love their hot sauce and it’s the perfect antidote to heal and soothe bug bites. He couldn’t thank me enough. LOL!
— They speak English which was so strange to us. So you can learn a ton from the guides.
We were NOT fans of the town of Placencia where our Inn was based. It was a mix of bad Cancun and Florida from the early 70’s. It seems like manufactured fun with no vibe. I’ve read one other travel blogger recently who felt the same. I know other people who LOVE it. So to each their own.