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The Placencia peninsula is fast becoming one of the major visitor destinations in Belize, one that may eventually rival Ambergris Caye as the most popular resort area in the country. It's one 16-mile- (26-km-) long peninsula, with three different but complementary areas: Northern Peninsula/Maya Beach, Seine Bight, and Placencia Village.The former dirt track that ran 25 miles
(41 km) from the Southern Highway to the tiny community of Riversdale and then down the peninsula to Placencia Village has been paved, and the road is now in excellent condition (beware the speed bumps, however). Beginning at Riversdale, at the elbow where the actual peninsula joins the mainland, you'll get a quick glimpse through mangroves of the startlingly blue Caribbean. As you go south, the Placencia Lagoon is on your right, and behind it in the distance rise the low Maya Mountains, the Cockscomb Range ruffling the tropical sky with its jagged peaks. On your left, a few hundred feet away, beyond the remaining mangroves and a narrow band of beach, is the Caribbean Sea. A broken line of uninhabited cayes grazes the horizon.
With a population of around 9,000, Dangriga is the largest town in the south and the home of the Garífuna or Black Caribs, as they're also known...