Creole, Mayan, Garifuna, Caribbean, European, cuisine on the beach!

If you’re thinking about a trip to Belize this summer, and particularly if you like trying new food experiences, you should consider the weekend of June 28 – 30 when Placencia, Belize is set to hold it’s 15th annual Lobsterfest!

The Placencia Lobsterfest is a grand celebration of the opening of the lobster season in Belize and attracts thousands of local and international visitors to the Placencia Peninsula. The manager of guest services at Chabil Mar, Tiffany Edwards, tells us about what to expect at Placencia Lobsterfest 2013.

“Of course there are lobster dishes of all types and recipes and each dish will be eligible to enter the Placencia Lobsterfest 2013 “Best Lobstah” Dish Competition. And for those not so keen on lobster, no worries. The food vendors have you covered with shrimp, fish, chicken, steak, pork and sumptuous vegetarian sides. Many of the cooks at the Placencia Lobsterfest come to the beach carrying years of strong family kitchen traditions. Food is Placencia’s ultimate cultural immersion experience. Taste Creole, Mayan, Garifuna, Caribbean, European, Asian and North American culinary influences at the leading gastronomic party in Belize.”

“No Belize festival would be complete without Music. Popular local DJs, musicians and major headlining Belizean bands will have visitors and locals alike moving and shaking their feet in the sand throughout the weekend. Chabil Mar Resort will be featuring Garifuna drummers at their open-air beachside restaurant on Friday evening to compliment the weekend’s event and then guests can stroll along the beach to the site of the official festivities.”

Fun events for the entire family include:

  • Game for kids
  • Belikin beer drinking contest
  • Biggest lobstah’ competition
  • Lionfish tournament
  • Mr. & Ms. Physique
  • Tug-o-War
  • Tipsy tuna toss
  • Hot spicey wings eating contest
  • Kayak racing
  • Placencia Lobsterfest Classics
  • Throw the cast net – A Placencia Lobsterfest original. Throw the cast net over the sand and    try to scoop up a schilling!
  • Reel in the kayak – That’s right! Grab a fishing rod and reel in a kayak with one person on board to shore!
  • Fly fishing on the beach – Throw your fly fishing rod and land your fly in the center of a circle drawn in the sand. If you can do this, you are a real champ!

This is the most popular event of the season in Placencia. Organizers expect a record breaking crowd for this year’s event.

 

 

When we first started running sea kayaking tours in Belize we were kind of inventing things as we went. There wasn’t anyone else doing it and there were no examples to follow.

Our first trips launched from a sandy beach just past the end of the sidewalk in the little town of Placencia. Our guests would camp there the first night and then the next morning we would set out in our sea kayaks loaded with gear that we used for camping on a variety of island beaches several miles offshore on Laughing Bird, Water, Silk, Pumpkin and Ranguna Cayes.

What was then the cutting edge of Caribbean sea kayaking tours in Central America has now become a very popular itinerary operated by a number of different outfitters. And in the intervening years, we discovered Glover’s Reef and developed our eco resort out on Long Caye. But we still remember fondly our roots in old Placencia, so it was a pleasure to recently receive an email from Patrice Kelly, who used to live in Placencia back in the day.  Patrice and her partner, Tom Giblin, developed a small resort called Serenity Resort along with the only airstrip on the peninsula as they had the only backhoe in the area. She has some stories to tell! Here are a few excerpts from her email recalling the early days in Placencia:

So you remember Placencia in the “early days”…that would be mid to late 80’s. We built cisterns for water and brought generators for our electricity.

Rum Point had the only phone. We brought a giant satellite dish and had the only TV at the time. We also brought a cement mixer, which men from Seine Bight had never seen before and didn’t want to use as they thought it was spooked by evil spirits. Dennis was our cook and Florita (both from Seine Bight) was our main housekeeper. Max (Mayan) was our Main Man. We loved him like a son although he probably never knew.

We built 12 cabanas with barrel tile roofs, each with a kitchenette and shower, hot water heater in back of each. Two were doubles to accommodate large groups/families. We also built a main dining room, meeting rooms, a manager’s apartment and a gift shop. We even had a drive-thru entrance. Yes all buildings were blue. That was some sort of a trade deal Tom worked out with someone. We also volunteered paint and labor to paint school house the same blue as it was in rough need of paint and some new trim.

At Serenity Tom installed a sprinkler system and sod to keep dust at a minimum. He also dredged and filled (my oh my lots of government paper work and money paid out along the way…you know… the “blue eyed” price to do business in Belize) across the road as we owned that property also. We built the “Bamboo Room” and some good sized docking slips. This was in addition to building the landing strip. As I mentioned no backhoe in sight so I bought him one for his birthday! We were crazy in love with each other and nothing seemed impossible!

Patrice eventually moved to Florida and Tom remained in Central America following his dream and passed away years later. But her memories of their days together building their resort in Belize are still fresh and alive. Thanks, Patrice, for sharing this with us. — Lucy

Recently I was a guest blogger on the premier Belize blog, Tacogirl. We exchanged some emails, and Tacogirl asked to use one of my emails in an upcoming blog post. Of course I said yes! In this email I reminisced about Slickrock’s very old days when we based our sea kayak trips out of Placencia, Here is her post, with some old pictures I sent her from our original days way back when: http://tacogirl.com/2012/01/belize-history-and-san-pedro-weather/

Placencia
On the beach we used to rent in Placencia, Belize, about 1988.

Slickrock’s first foray into Belize was in 1986, when I was running river trips in nearby Chiapas, Mexico. I had heard that Belize’s barrier reef would be an ideal location to run sea kayaking tours, so I drove over from Palenque with my friend Scott Davis and 5 sea kayaks to explore the reef and figure out a workable itinerary.

Our first adventure was with Belize Customs, where they impounded the kayaks and demanded $2,000 in duty to clear them. After several days of figuring out the system, I was able to bond the boats with the promise that I would take them back home after a couple of months.

I had found a contact through a friend who had a small sailboat we could rent, with captain, and we managed to find him and provision the boat for a week’s sailing down the reef to explore the islands. We dragged 3 kayaks behind the 28’ sailboat, and we planned to camp on the islands as we traveled.

Fishing boat that we rented

We launched at dusk, and slowly made our way out to the reef. Within a mile, we were suddenly surrounded by two patrol boats, which consisted of the entire Belize navy, who wanted to check us out. But, we were too small to board and they didn’t have any way to come over, so after much shouting they let us go.

We spent the next week going from island to island, sometimes paddling, sometimes sailing. We met a lot of local fishermen on the islands who were able to give us more information on what islands were better than others. We found that most of the island were mangrove swamps and not suitable for camping, but as we reached southern Belize the other islands along the reef were found to be ideal, sand covered with palm trees, surrounded by coral reefs. It was in this area that I decided to set up our itinerary.

(Click on images below to see full image.)

Queen Cayes kayaking, Belize Belize camping on the Belize Barrier Reef Camping on the Silk Cayes in Belize

After seeing these islands, we went to the coastal town of Placencia, then just beginning to experience tourism. There I was able to make arrangements to set up a base of operations and store equipment, and we were thus able to start advertising some trips for the next season.

Our initial sea kayak trips started in Placencia, and we paddled from island to island for 6 days (Bugle Caye > Laughing Bird Caye > Queen or Silk Cayes > Pompion Caye > Ranguana Caye), camping on these deserted islands under the palms, and fishing for our dinners. It was idyllic, but a bit rugged as we were at the mercy of the weather and sea conditions, which sometimes were so rough that we had to layover four days at a time on one island or another. And, after five seasons of these trips, the islands we used for camping began to see development or other kayak companies, on some cabins or private habitations were being built. At this point we discovered Glover’s Reef and made arrangements to move out there for our trips. It was an exciting beginning exploring these little-known cayes of the Belize Barrier Reef, but once we rented and later bought our own island, we never looked back!