The following is an excerpt from an article entitled “Belize: “Un-Belize-able” Family Travel” which was originally published on www.travelwithkids.tv, a website about traveling with kids. You can find the article in its entirety here.
Located on a long Peninsula about 2/3 of the way down the coast of Belize, Placencia is a small village filled with a fun vibe, lots of funky restaurants and shops and friendly people. We stayed about 1/4 mile north of the village at Chabil Mar Villas, an elegant resort with a barefoot casualness about it.
The kids loved swimming in the pool and jumping off the dock into the ocean. We enjoyed the full-service…always with a friendly smile! We all enjoyed riding bikes and kayaks. Golf carts are the mode of transportation in Placencia (although there is a paved road and cars as well). For meals, we ate at the resort a couple of evenings – they do not have one restaurant, but instead will deliver your meal wherever you would like to enjoy it in the resort…a great concept for families!
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We ate on our balcony and at dining tables on the beachfront, but you could also be served out on the pier or in the BBQ area. We also headed into town for some meals – highlights included stuffed jacks at De’Tatch, the fun atmosphere of the Pickled Parrot (uber-welcoming owners Eugene, Lynn and Tommy and a nearby playground made us all feel right at home), lobster cakes at The Secret Garden and burritos ($1.50) from a cart along the road. After our time in the jungle hearing the grunting of the howler monkeys, the kids are keen to see some, so we head out with Monkey River Eco Tours, for a guided boat ride upriver.
After winding through the maze-like paths through the mangroves across the lagoon from Placencia, the guide tells us about his hometown, Monkey River, at the mouth of the river. Along the river, he points out iguanas, birds and a crocodile. Then he pulls over to a bank and off we hop for a short hike…and short it is! After about 10 feet of hiking, we find a troop of howler monkeys – including a couple of babies. They come down from the trees searching for food and get within 8 feet of us.
Watching the kids faces as they gaze in awe at the monkeys makes the trip! Their faces change – accompanied by “ewww” and laughing and shrieks – as the monkeys turn the tree we are standing under into a port-a-potty; an easy way to get the kids dashing back to the boat! While the kids have fun jumping off the pier and checking out the fish, we’re told the crystal clear waters the Caribbean is known for lie just off shore on the barrier reef (the second longest barrier reef in the world).
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So, we head out with Avadon Divers for a day of scuba diving on the reef. Out of the 13 people we are traveling with, only 3 of us (including Nathan, our 12 year-old boy) are certified. So, Avadon sends plenty of dive masters to support an enjoyable Discover Scuba Dive. They start out with a short class about diving – including essential skills you will have to perform in shallow water prior to diving. The first dive starts with each student performing skills like clearing their masks and retrieving a lost regulator. They we swim around checking out small coral heads. The second dive is off the boat where we spot huge coral formations, brain coral covered in Christmas tree worms, lots of fish, a shy lobster, an Eagle Ray and more. I’m busy counting kids (and adults) but enjoy watching them discover a whole new world!
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