Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sargassum is gone....but there is still plenty of beauty to enjoy no matter what mother nature brings!

Sargassum has been an issue for a few weeks in parts of Belize - and it is a nuisance to everyone. It can come and go, or stick around pretty nastily for days at a time; it is very unpredictable. Many visitors in their first time to Belize had a lot of questions. Because having it wash in, in the amount it has been, is still a relatively new phenomenon, there are many different theories you will find. It is everywhere in the Caribbean - not just Belize by any stretch, and many places get it much worse.

Guests ask why Belize doesn't use nets or bulldozers, the way they would imagine it would be done in the US? Belize is unique in that it has a fragile barrier reef, the 2nd largest in the world, to protect. It typically gets more sea grass than an average beach because the sea grass helps support the marine life. Without it, there wouldn't be the amazing sea creatures that people come from all the over the world to snorkel with. It is part of the ecosystem and is not seen as a negative thing in reasonable quantities. We cannot use nets and heavy beach equipment because it destroys the fragile beaches (you can see much beachfront all over the world is seawalled - the seaweed helps build up the shore, and it doesn't take much to erode a beach.) Belize takes the protection of sea creatures very seriously, and the use of nets or other water devices will cause those same creatures to get caught up in them.

So Belize tends to take care of the seaweed the old-fashioned way - by hand...one person at a time, with a pitchfork and wheelbarrow, or just a shovel and rake. This means that it doesn't get cleared fast, and while we all hate the Sargassum, and we are all concerned about the garbage that tends to get caught up in the seaweed and wash in, it can be helpful to see the bigger picture and what is best in the long run for the environment. This post is meant to show the other beautiful things you can look at - even if the shore is messy. Also, the final pictures show what the beach is like when it inevitably goes away - and Belize is working towards environmentally friendly ways to balance the desire for our beaches to stay clear, and to do what's best for the long run!
You can take a walk through town - we have an amazing sidewalk with jaw dropping, postcard worthy snapshots....





We are fortunate in Placencia Village to have a wide enough beach in areas that even if the shore is messy - the views are still incredible.



You can always find a hotel that has a pool that provides you the exotic experience you came to Belize for....
 Paddleboarding is always an option if you can get past the shore!!
And one morning - poof! It's gone and back to normal :)
 And Sticks has been enjoying an extended vacation in Placencia...his favorite place in the world :) He has thoroughly been enjoying each and every dog-friendly guest!!



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

We've been busy at CBC, and the secret is out, we opened our 2nd hotel in Belize!

Although the staff at CBC have known about the new hotel for about 2 months now, we were only able to start talking about it in the last two weeks!! What a crazy 4 weeks it has been!!

The old Casitas Tres Cocos, about a mile north of the bridge, was a gorgeous, boutique hotel built with an amazing aesthetic eye....I remember the first time I saw it in early 2017, I was in awe and I had a bit of FOMO wanting to stay there! They had a super fun, cozy-but-yet-sexy swim up bar, and it all just had the right "feel" to it - that feeling that everything is just right, very comfortable and pleasing to the eye.

We were so fortunate it came on the market, and when we realized - hey, this place has the same feel as CBC, what an amazing sister resort this could be! We put a bid in, and wow, it all worked out!!!

So now we all had to shut our traps and act like everything was normal....even though our team started to be spotted an awful lot on the island...and hmm......Carlos seemed to be missing in Placencia for a while? (we stole him for PUR for a while :))  It is a small country and word got out, and now we can finally shout about our excitement. In a 3 week span, we all descended onto the island, closed on the hotel, rebranded, worked with staff, redid a bunch of aesthetics - mainly making it more earth colors, less bright colors, so it would match our look at CBC. We changed the restaurant into a Taco Bar, and started to recruit our first guests. :)
About 2 weeks ago we finally put our sign out on the road! And then the secret really was out that we were reopening Casitas Tres Cocos as PUR Boutique Cabanas. We have been working our tails off ever since and loving EVERY minute! CBC does not have the bar/restaurant right on site, as we are walking distance to all the great ones in the village. We used our same customer service passion (obsession?) to make the Taco Bar a fun, high energy, good-vibe place - so far - it is AWESOME!


We welcomed our first great guests on April 5th and we are going on a week being open. We are learning a ton every day - and so grateful to the local community for welcoming us so warmly. We had a super fun soft opening party where we got to cut our teeth on our local friends, and have been making needed tweaks each day to improve the experience. We are trying hard to serve the residents on the island, as well as our guests, and to do our part to use as little plastic as possible. We are building great relationships within the community and with our staff, and we can't wait to continue to contribute positively to our little corners of Belize!


We are hoping to appeal to guests who want to experience both Placencia and Ambergris Caye with us - and we offer a discount to those who want to try both places. The new PUR Boutique Cabanas is a lively, fun, social place, where you can definitely find tranquility in our gorgeous rooms, hammocks, the beach walk out back, or at the pool - or find fun and new friends at the bar round the clock (until a reasonable hour of course!)

We are still working on our website and online presence. Right now you can book our rooms by emailing us at info@caribbeanbeachcabanas.com or info@purboutiquecabanas.com, or going to www.purboutiquecabanas.com. You can also follow us on Facebook HERE. We hope within about a month to have everything just right ;). Oh did I mention the super low rates through most of the summer?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Looking to have a unique, off-the-beaten-path experience in Placencia? Here are some ideas!


There are some excursions and adventures that are well traveled and well known in Placencia- such as snorkeling at a caye, visiting a private island, hiking or seeing waterfalls, etc. Belize gets so many repeat visitors that our awesome tour guides are always coming up with new tours to keep guests coming back for more and more intense experiences!

Here are some of the off-the-beaten-path experiences that are NOT on everyone's radar....yet.....but should be! Also great for repeat guests, or for those that live here - here's a way to really blow your guests away with adventure :) (all pics from provider websites)

Description:
Pick up in Placencia at Buba Waba’s Smoke Shack and Grill on Harbor Side Dr North next door to Day Tripper Catamaran just south of Top Value Supermarket in Placencia, 4pm. Beautiful 40 minute sunset boat ride to Monkey River Village. Delicious local dinner at Kecerene’s Restaurant (Percy’s Sister). Tour historical Monkey River Village, then boat ride up the river to explore its inhabitants with high-powered spotlights. Enter the jungle for the ultimate night jungle tour, and experience the sights and sounds of many different types of nocturnal wildlife...On request we supply bug shirts or bug hats to keep the insects out of your face and off your clothing! Exhilarating boat ride back to Placencia, in the DARK!! Returns at approximately 10PM.
What you'll see: Crocodiles ~ Jaguars ~ Bats ~ Birds ~ Tarantulas ~ Tapirs ~ Wild Boar
Description:
After the 60 minute drive to the wildlife sanctuary, headlights will be distributed to each person. First we fuel up with a hearty local dinner, followed by a briefing of the hiking trails.. The hike is around 2 hours long where you will have the chance to see tapirs, howler monkeys, river otters, 5 species of wild cats and many more. Various types of frogs, snakes and the morlet's crocodile are prevalent in this area as well. After a short break, we collect river tubes and head to the river for night river tubing! The key to seeing wildlife is staying quiet and being in the right place at the right time. Sightings are never guaranteed but many animals are nocturnal and can only be seen at night!
6pm - 12 or 1am
$ 100 USD per person
What to bring: Hiking boots, long pants, insect repellent, bottle of water. Headlights are provided.
Taste Belize has well known food tours - I am including this one for people that are looking for exotic food trips!
Description:
Tomorrow Sunday at Taste Belize Tours join us for our famous Chocolate and Spice tour: Belize Spice Farm for fragrant vanilla, spicy black pepper, aromatic cardamom & allspice, sweet cinnamon, then its off to Ixcacao Chocolate for an unforgettable all you can eat Belizean Maya lunch followed by a tree-to-bar chocolate tour full of delicious samples where we make our own chocolate on heirloom stone tools. Email tastebelize@gmail.com or call 664-8699/630-5253 to join tomorrow's award winning hands on adventure!

Barefoot Services Belize has three really unique ways to see Belize...
If you are in for an adventure, Maya Sky Canopy boasts the most scenic zip line in Belize. Zip over the beautiful South Stann Creek River that rests between two valleys, just 1 hour from Placencia. Whether you are looking to soar with the birds or just see a gorgeous part of Belize, this location offers the perfect activities for you, all under the direction of well-trained professional guides.
You may add more activities on the same property:
– River tubing or
– Maya King waterfall

Horse Back Riding
Come for a ride on a beautiful family owned private ranch. This horseback riding adventure is perfect for both the experienced and non-experienced riders. The herd of gentle, well trained horses and staff will ensure you have a great time.
Tour details:
Time: 8am – 1:00pm
Price: $100 usd per person

Dirt Biking in Belize!
We explore and ride off-road near Placencia. Swim at a River or Waterfall.
150cc of eye popping, open air 2 wheeled fun. Drive in the jungles near the Jaguar Preserve/Cockscomb basin, or see the scenic Sittee River then loop back to the Southern highway though the beach town of Hopkins. There is no such tour being offered and it is an absolutely adventures way to get to see Southern Belize. Spend some time on the coolest wheels in Belize.
Travel time: 4 hours Round Trip
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Need: valid motorcycle license or endorsement, an adventurous mindset, comfortable shoes, bug spray and sun screen, backpack. 
This in an off the beaten path Tour that allows you to immerse yourself with the locals
with their authentic local cuisine and people! Enjoy live Garifuna drumming
while feasting on some delicious traditional Garifuna food.
Travel time: 40 minutes to 2 hours Round Trip
Level of difficulty: Easy
Need: An adventurous mindset, comfortable shoes, bug spray and sun screen.










Tuesday, March 6, 2018

What's new in Placencia, Rotary auction & Sargassum seaweed!

Let's start with a few new fun things in Placencia Village -

New sub shop in Placencia! Chris, a great guy who has been living in Belize for several years - has opened a new restaurant where Hot Chicks used to be - and he is getting rave reviews about his Subs and Chicken! Check out Sidewinders Subs & Rotisserie Chicken on Main Street. Here's his menu:
Cha Chi's - look for future Thai Pop Up events and live music!
Live music Line up:
Saturday March 10- World Culture band
Saturday March 17 - Mile 41
Thursday March 29 - Lorde Rhaburn
Saturday March 31 - Nello Player
Sunday April 1 Ras Indio
From their Facebook page:
This was the past menu for the pop up event...
We are excited to announce our Thai Pop up Kitchen this weekend with Chef Nantha from Siam Thai Belize.
We will announce the menu later this week
Thai food in addition to our regular menu will be dine in or take out 523-3305. 
New Store - The new Placencia Pharmacy has been in its new location for about a month - really nice!! And it is right around the corner from CBC :)
Food Delivery - When you are in town and you are feeling lazy, and want to get food delivered - this is a relatively new place, getting great reviews, and they will deliver hot dogs and hamburgers to your door! The Burger Joint -
From their Facebook page:
The Burger Joint will be serving burgers from 11am - 9pm. To order Call 626 - 5502 Delivery or Pick Up
$1.00 Wings Available
$2.00 Burger Joint Fries Available
$3.00 Joint Hot Dog's Available
$3.00 Natural Juices Available
$4.00 Cheese Fries Available
$7.00 Joint Burgers with Cheese Available
More choices available on our menu.
Located in Placencia in front of the police station next to DeJa's Closet

Fun Recent Event - The Rotary Auction ran by the Placencia Rotary Club is a very anticipated event every year - if you are in town, you've got to check it out, you will see it advertised all over the village, and the prizes are amazing - and such a good cause. Here are some pics from this year's event:



Sargassum Update - Finally - yes, February was a Sargassum-ey month - yuck!!! We were blessed with wonderful and patient guests who made the best of it, even though some of them missed seeing the beautiful Placencia shores. It is understandable to be frustrated and upset when you look forward to your beach vacation and then happen to have the seaweed take over your shore - it is an unpredictable occurrence, and can go away quickly, or stick around - just when you think the beach can't get worse, it can disappear. We wish that we had a way to predict it and deal with it better, we are passionate about making our guests happy and really wring our hands over it.

I found this very interesting and thoughtful thread on a Trip Advisor forum (from a seaweed invasion a few years ago, but it was similar to this one) - and I wanted to share it to show the VAST differences in reactions a guest may have to a "mother nature" problem. The initial "poster"/person had a rotten experience - but it wasn't helped by their negative attitude and perhaps inflexibility. If you read the responses, guests that were also in Belize during the same time had a wonderful experience. I couldn't have written a better thread to explain how we hope visitors will choose to react to natural occurrences (in the responses of course!):
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g291962-i1458-k8450836-BEWARE_of_sargassum_and_medical_facilities-San_Pedro_Ambergris_Caye_Belize_Cayes.html

Next Up in Placencia - Easter Weekend!
If you are here for Easter weekend coming up - please note that every year there is always confusion and questions about what is open and when. I highly encourage people to check out the Facebook pages Placencia What's Happening and Placencia Restaurants and Food for the most accurate info about what will be open.





Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2018 Placencia Arts Fest Pics, another great year!

The Arts Fest was another success in 2018! The best way to describe the Art Fest short of being there is to check out some pictures from this year...
Handmade local art and signs

 Booths full of local artisans


 When you come to Belize, do your self a favor and have a do-it-yourself wine tasting with local wines - totally unique!
 Garifuna drumming is a huge part of the culture here.
 Mayan baskets - you will see these everywhere
 Whether this says "meat tacos" or "me at tacos", it works
 Local carvings
 Mayan jewelry
 Garifuna drummer
 Local treats
 This festival is a huge draw, always packed!
 CBC was thrilled to be a sponsor, this is a very community-supported event
 2018 shirt
 One of the highlights is always the music
 Local artists were able to be commemorated on Belikin bottles!
 Walter, one of the local artists featured (with CBC's Sue and Carlos!)



The Arts Fest is always in February and is a great excuse to book your trip next year!!