Placencia Village

Placencia Village is a mini, downscale version of Key West, laid-back, hip, and full of atmospheric watering holes. At the end of the road, the village is the main residential center on the peninsula, with a population of close to1,000, predominantly Creoles. It is also the peninsula's commercial hub—if you can call a small village a hub—with a half-dozen grocery stores, a couple of hardware stores, and the majority of the region's restaurants and bars. Traffic on the Main Road (also called Main Street, and farther north Placencia Road) through the village is surprisingly heavy, and parking can be problematic. Most of the hotels in the village proper are budget spots, but just north of the village, between it and the airport, are several upscale beach resorts and condo developments.

Sometimes billed as the world's narrowest street or longest sidewalk, the Sidewalk is a single concrete path that winds through the village. Setting off purposefully from the southern end of the village near the harbor, the path meanders through everyone's backyard. It passes wooden cottages on stilts overrun with bougainvillea and festooned with laundry, along with a few shops and tour offices, and then, as if it had forgotten where it was headed in the first place, peters out abruptly in a little clearing. Paved sidewalks and dirt paths run between the Sidewalk and the Main Road through Placencia Village. Stroll along the Sidewalk, and you've seen the village. If you don't mind its being a little rough around the edges, you'll be utterly enchanted by this rustic village, where the palm trees rustle, the waves lap the shore, and no one is in a hurry.

Along the Sidewalk and the Main Road are most of the village's guesthouses and cafés, which serve rice and beans, burgers, and seafood.

A large dock complex sits at the foot of the village, just off the Sidewalk and near the end of the main road. At this writing it's still unclear how exactly the dock will be used. The NCL cruise terminal on Harvest Caye, opening in 2017 (it's only a couple of years behind schedule) is supposed to tender passengers into Independence, across the lagoon, and not to Placencia, but that could change. Polls and straw votes show that a large majority of local residents opposed large-scale cruise ship tourism in the area, but powerful political interests and financial magnets saw that the port was approved.

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