Placencia is a sleepy, bohemian fishing village located on the eastern coast of Belize. It’s the kind of place where the sun and the sea conspire to make everyone slow down. But on the last weekend in June, the entire town becomes one big, exuberant beach party during Lobsterfest, celebrating the beginning of the Belizean lobster season.
Here’s how to make the most of your time at Lobsterfest in Placencia:
While Lobsterfest is all about the great, clawed crustacean, there is no shortage of edible alternatives among the open-air food vendors. Placencia’s full rainbow of cultural diversity is reflected in the smorgasbord of Lobsterfest food offerings, which showcases Creole, Mayan, Garifuna, Caribbean, and Asian influences.
Should you seek a more refined dining experience, head straight to Rumfish y vino. Owned by a husband and wife team who honeymooned in Placencia, and just couldn’t leave, Rumfish y vino is pure food artistry served in a sophisticated setting. Alternatively, head up the peninsula to the Maya Beach Bistro, where only the epicurean creations will draw your attention away from the gorgeous, Gilligan-like beachfront setting. For authentic local breakfast fare, nurse your party hangover with stuffed fry jacks at DeTatch Cafe or have a breakfast burrito and a smoothie chaser at The Shak Beach Cafe.
The aptly named Tipsy Tuna is ground zero for imbibing among the Lobsterfest celebrants. But watch your back, Mr. Tuna, because the beloved Barefoot Bar has relocated to the beach. If you want to see how the moneyed set knocks ‘em down, you’ll have to put on your shoes before dropping in for a drink at Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn.
It just doesn’t get much better than Chabil Mar Villas, located on a peaceful beach, yet proximate to the Placencia action. Chabil Mar’s guest bicycles and a free van shuttle make getting to and from the village a breeze.
Chabil Mar features exceptional service, lush landscaping and expansive villas equipped with full kitchens and washer/dryers. I may be the only person in the world who relishes the sight of a washer and dryer on vacation. But let’s face it, lobster is messy, and I was mighty glad to have a clean shirt more than once during our stay.
The challenge will be tearing yourself away from your lounge by the sea. But Placencia is a springboard to the planet’s second largest barrier reef. The fishing, diving and snorkeling are world-class. The folks at Splash Dive Center are friendly, professional and totally in the know about what’s happening on, and under, the sea.