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Peace and Quiet by the Sea: Real Estate in Placencia, Belize

Placencia is a small town in southern Belize with a population of about a thousand people. In recent years, it has become a popular destination for tourists and for those seeking real estate in one of Central America's most affordable, welcoming, and beautiful nations. Bungalows, bed and breakfasts, and small resort hotels in every price range line its white-sand beaches. Yet it still retains a quiet, small-town character that makes Placencia, Belize real estate ideal for those seeking peace and quiet by the sea.

Seafront lots in Placencia can be found for under U.S. $125,000, and building costs in Belize are affordable at $75-200 per finished square foot. Waterfront homes with private white-sand beaches fetch prices that are substantially less than comparable properties in the U.S.

Diving, boating, and fishing are all favorite activities here. The mangrove forest in Placencia's lagoon is popular among kayakers, who paddle by the mangrove roots hoping to spot the resident manatees. Another activity particular to Placencia is salt water fly-fishing. Whichever hobby you'd like to explore, you'll be able to find a knowledgeable guide in the village to help you learn.

Because Placencia is on a peninsula and not a caye (island), it's easy to access the rain forests and Mayan ruins that can be found in this southern part of Belize. One popular day trip from Placencia is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the world's first jaguar preserve. Located on the eastern slopes of the Maya Mountains, the sanctuary offers river tubing, hiking, and wildlife viewing, as well as the chance to swim in beautiful waterfall pools.

Placencia is a place off the beaten path, where it is possible to stroll along the beach for miles without seeing anyone. Yet, it has the basic amenities needed to support a year-round community of locals and expatriates: clean tap water, reliable internet and utility services, and several affordable grocery stores. Placencia's beachfront cafes and village restaurants serve inexpensive fresh seafood and other traditional dishes – though if you order chicken soup or tamales, remember that while the chicken is quite good here, it's sometimes common to include the chicken feet! This area of the country is also unique for its several ethnically Garifuna villages, with a population descended from Carib, Arawak, and West African groups. The Garifuna speak a language related to the Arawak language of the Caribbean natives, and have developed a musical style that is gaining popularity in Belize today.

If you are considering real estate in Placencia, Belize offers many advantages for the expatriate resident. English is the official language, making it fairly easy to search for properties and complete all necessary paperwork. The cost of living, as well as the cost of property itself, is affordable in Belize. Belizeans themselves have a reputation for being hospitable and good neighbors. When combined with the natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere of Placencia, it's easy to see why many people from other countries are finding a new home here.