Maya Beach, Belize “Fine Dining” Experiences.

This is an article I wrote for a new magazine I am writing for about life in Central America, soon to release the first issue. I thought it was perfect for promoting Placencia Peninsula, Maya Beach and Belize.

Enjoy,

Gary

 

     Oceanfront dining options in Maya Beach, Belize, the new “Florida Keys”.

 

The Placencia Peninsula on the southern coast of Belize is quickly becoming the “go-to” destination for not only vacationers but also Expats. Considered part of Placencia is the small village of Maya Beach just north of downtown Placencia. Here the peninsula narrows to where in some places there is water on both sides of the road. However, the Maya Beach section is known as the Florida Keys of Belize. Offering both oceanfront homes and building lots as well as lagoon side lots, it quickly becomes a target for development.

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This parking lot overflows many nights a week at Mango’s, for visitors and locals.

Besides some of the best sandy beaches in Belize, the main draw for many is the handful of restaurants in the village. On any given evening they are packed with cars lining the streets. Locals, as well as visitors in Placencia, will drive or take a cab just to eat and socialize in Maya Beach, for a good reason.

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Inside Mango’s is a comfortable oval bar, my personal seat, and inside / outside tables with ocean view.

If you visit TripAdvisor and search “Best Restaurants in Placencia, Belize,” the #1 is the Maya Beach Hotel Bistro” located in Maya Beach. With well over 1,200 reviews, including a few of my own, everyone loves the menu, food, bartenders and especially the ocean views. They encourage you to come for happy hour with your bathing suit, relax in the pool, and then dine in the open-air restaurant.

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Bar / counter seats at the Maya Beach Bistro, #1 Restaurant on Placencia Peninsula.

What’s not to love with an exceptional wine list, fresh seafood, and fine dining menu.

Ellen and John opened the Bistro eight years ago and had built reputations that will certainly last years. My personal recommendation for breakfast is the Duck Sausage Hash, and dinner Seafood and Coconut Chowder, or truthfully, everything!

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Inside seating at the Maya Beach Bistro, and awesome view! A two minute walk from my house!

The next restaurant, especially with the Expat population is Mango’s which offers a large parking lot, which you rarely will find a space. Ask anyone what they don’t like about Mango’s and they will tell you the fact that it’s closed on Monday and Tuesday! It’s that popular, as you can experience on a Wednesday night when cars line the main street in front. They offer a large menu of both American and Belize cuisines, with emphasis on local seafood. Another specialty served, and a local favorite is custom pizza! Climb the stairs, and as you enter the open restaurant doors, you immediately scan the “Specials Board,” offering dishes at a discount. You can bet when I see Lasagna on there; it becomes my choice. With an American named Frank as an owner, you can bet the pizza and lasagna are excellent. With Belizean cooks, guaranteed the seafood and traditional Belize dishes like the “Belizean Special of the Day” is the bomb!

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Inside dining room at the Bonefish Grill in Maya Beach, spectacular !

And then there’s the Bonefish Grille located at Singing Sands Resort located within what appears a small Belize village in itself. This tropical setting, all under palm and Belize hardwoods creates a picture perfect dining experience. With a large multi-level open experience restaurant, Warm Ocean breezes, soft music and fine dining, you have arrived in heaven. With a delicious menu featuring local seafood with the Asian influence, a super open bar, and one of the best wine lists I have experienced in Belize, prepare to dazzle your taste buds.

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Outside on oceanfront beach looking in at Bonefish Grill in Maya Beach.

Although there are a couple of other restaurants in Maya Beach, these are the ones that offer some of the best the area has to offer. Offering ambiance, fine dining, picture perfect locations and are frequented by locals, expats and vacationers more frequently than not. They are a major part of what keeps Maya Beach one of the most popular and visited villages in Belize today.

Look forward to dining at you all in one or all of these fine restaurants when you visit or move to Belize.

Cheers to all,

 

Gary……The Pirate

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Building our new home in Belize, the Saga Continues.

                                                     Got Wood ?

Now that the entire upper floor has been poured in concrete, I have anxiously awaited the building of the concrete stairs to it in front and back. I did climb up a rickety wood ladder once to view the concrete floor and view from up to on my new deck once, but it appeared a “death wish” to do it again.

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The day after the floor was poured I climbed up to check out view.

Finally it appears that my wish is being answered, with the construction of forms for the stairs in front.

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Starting to build forms for concrete front steps

Another pleasant surprise was the delivery of wood to start the framing of the house. I was out and about with my good friends Oliver and Della DeHart, also building in the area, and returning found wood stacked “upstairs”.

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Pouring rain, guys underneath taking out support poles 😉

This morning as the crew arrived, a load of concrete bags followed them on a truck, and so did the pouring rain! They had told me they would be mixing and pouring the steps, but now that process is postponed.

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Instead they all ran under the house and started removing all the support poles and sheets of plywood that supported all the upper concrete until it hardened. I am actually thrilled with that so I can see the view of ocean under the house from the Cabana.

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Here comes another load of wood!

And then the next load of building/framing lumber arrived and watched the crew unload and lift up the 12 feet to upper level of house.I bet they wish those front stairs were built!

Now I should tell you that when Kevin places an order for the wood, it is cut to order at that time, dried and shipped to the building site directly from the lumber yard. There is no “Home Depot” or the like here to just go pick up lumber. Its cut to order!

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Unloading lumber from truck, and lifting up on top to stack! Where are the stairs ??? 

Seems that the rain is subsiding and the guys are back to work outside. The next blog should feature concrete from steps and some house framing started.

See ya then.

Gary……The Pirate

 

 

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Building our new home in Belize, the Saga Continues

                               OMG…from up here I can see Cuba !

 

My last post the guys were laying rebar steel, a lot of it, criss crossed on the top floor of the house, in preparation of pouring the concrete floor. They also installed all water, electric and gas PVC tubes thru the floor area before the concrete is poured, so it comes up inside walls.

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         Pumper and cement truck show up this morning !

The arrival of the concrete pumper tower truck is a welcome site because my dreams are being answered to finally have a floor that I can walk around up there, to see what views I will have when the house is completed.

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Watching them pour concrete floor from my neighbors, Pat and Wendy’s pool 😉

These guys work really, really, really hard during the concrete pouring stage. Just hauling that monster hose that the concrete shoots out of is hard work. Add to that the guys raking and smoothing all that concrete, in 80 degree F. hot sun!

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       Pouring and raking/leveling concrete in the hot sun.

That’s a crew of eight guys on this, and every one is a hard worker! That’s for sure gets high marks for my builder / contractor, Kevin Brodsky.

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    Standing on the new poured floor, looking back at the cabana and sunset.

After they completed the pour, the next day the crew started pouring the bases for the front steps, and removing some of the poles supporting the structure. Looking forward to having those gone, so I can see what I can see under the house?

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Starting the structure for the concrete steps up to front deck.

 

End of day, floor done, waiting on wood and tile 😉

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         It’s going to be quite a view, and wait, isn’t that CUBA ???

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For those of you that have not yet been to Placencia, my “in-town” office 😉

 

Not sure exactly what the next phase will be, but rest assured, you’ll all be the first to know. Remember, if you don’t have the answer yet…you have not drunk enough rum!

Gary …the Pirate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The building of our new home in Belize “The Story Continues.”

        It’s been many days since my last confession, and I have sinned!

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My new friend from The Placencia in Maya Beach, bigger than he looks!

OK, I know, I know, I have been away from this desk for a few weeks now, but for good reasons. Everybody needed a break for various reasons, and after all, it takes a while for concrete to really “cure”. That being said, the upright columns are hard as rocks!

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Excellent day aboard (and in the water) on Day Tripper. Can you say RUM 🙂

I have actually gotten to play a bit, enjoying the Easter holiday here in Placencia, which is a really big time here. Then there was the day sail catamaran sail on the “Day Tripper” with my buds Tracy and Ryan. Of course, something new in my life is becoming a member in the newly formed “Parrothead Club” here on the Peninsula, which is just another “drinking game with friends”, along with benefit events for local things.

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The guys were working hard laying reinforced rebar in flooring sections before concrete.

But now the crew are back on the job and have been working days preparing the upper level for pouring the concrete floor. Eight inches of wood frame needed to be perfectly installed all around the perimeter.

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My crew finishing wood borders for concrete pour, and steel reinforcement.

Next, it was time to lay tons of iron rebar criss crossing each other, which needed to be wired together at each intersection. This will be the support for inside the concrete once its poured, and will make the structure strong as bull! Or should I just say, stronger than a hurricane!

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Starting adding plumbing lines inside flooring.

The next step in the process is to run all the water supply, drain lines and air vent tubes up through the flooring and secure them in place before pouring concrete floor. This is very critical because all these must be in perfect placement before pouring, so they will correctly connect to sinks, toilets and showers in the house.

Stay tuned because they are supposed to be here tomorrow to pout the concrete flooring for the house and entire deck. This is oh so exciting on so many levels. After the concrete floor in poured, the next step is walls! OMG, have I been waiting for the day that I actually see walls going up.

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Just about finished securing all the rebar steel, and plumbing lines for pouring floor tomorrow.

And then there is the celebration of actually walking on the edge of my deck at waters edge! I will finally get to see, as will you, what the view will be for the rest of my life, every day from our master bedroom. Already my Architects, Tracy and Ryan are planning to come over and next weekend for a cocktail from on top of the new deck!

But then, any excuse for RUM when the Pirate is around…

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Oliver checking out the two new inhabitants to the Pirates Cabana !

Until the “Big Pour”, Cheers my friends,

 

Gary…The Pirate

 

 

 

 

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As a new Expat living in Belize..how we find stuff !

           The ongoing story of relocating to Belize, Central America, and building our new home.

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More like the “Beach less traveled” 😉

 

The road definitely “less traveled” by me of not only moving to Belize, moving into a small cabana, and being here during the construction of our final home, does have challenges. Trust me when I say it’s not all walking the beautiful beaches, eating fresh seafood, and sipping exotic rum cocktails, or a cold Belikin and sushi every day, but close.

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Although more rarely these days, fresh sushi and a couple Belikins at the Tipsy Tuna in Placencia.

 

The fact many call Belize and most of Central America “3rd world countries”, and not matter how improved the internet service, sewer, electric and phone service becomes, it still is. As I have traveled much of the globe, and experienced first hand what poverty, corruption, crime and war can do to countries, everyone needs to realize how frickin good you have it in the U.S. and Canada.

First of all, if you wake up one morning and have a desire for a Starbuck coffee, or what to shop for specific designer shoes, what do you do? You Google them, right? You not only can find just about anything you might want on your smart phone and Google, and oh boy, there’s probably 100 places nearby to buy them.

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“South of Bistro”?

When our cabana was dropped on the property, my builder had arranged for electricity to be installed and turned on, if you remember that fiasco. But when it came time to receive a bill, I didn’t, for three months! Finally I googled “Placencia Belize Electric Company”, and found nothing. I had to call my builder and ask where it was. Same for the water company, who after four months still has not sent me a bill, and I need to address. And on the term “send”, there is no mail delivery, because there is no physical address for my home! When I paid my electric bill, I noticed the “address” they had for my cabana was “a couple lots south of Maya Beach Bistro:?

There are many other things we take for granted in the U.S. that I continue to realize I will never experience here in Belize, and actually I’m pretty happy about it. Over the past few months I needed to find specific things. Coconut palm and fruit trees, ceramic 5 gallon water base,  picture frames, veterinarian services, plant fertilizer, dog watchers, and so many other things, i couldn’t locate on the internet. So where did I find them?

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Facebook is where Belize lives, with many “groups” set up to help everyone out, with anything. I belong to some specific Facebook Groups for Expats, as well as one of my favorites, Placencia Classified, where I can find stuff for sale, and ask locals where to find something. Not only do I hear immediately suggestions from other Expats, but also locals, and it has become one of the best “friend builders” I could hope for.

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Found this Mexican water cooler bottom on Facebook at Mayan Pride here in Stann Creek.Had the beautiful Belizean hardwood base made by a local artisan I found.

 

One thing I have found out is the fact that on these sites, many people answer questions that fit their own purpose and agendas. Being directed to their own business or partnership, or a friends. Now that may be all well and good, and I try to take good with bad, but sometimes its very obvious something doesn’t pass the “smell test”. More an more when I ask for advice I receive “IM”s” telling me to ignore and stay away from specific people on the site and their “advice”. I have found that this can be very helpful eliminating my “gut feelings”. It’s the answer to what I call “Online Dating “truth dilemmas”.

The bottom line is here in Belize, you may never find everything you think you want, but if its available, your “village” will help you find it.

Refreshingly like going back in time, isn’t it?

Cheers everyone, will talk soon,

 

The Pirate …..Gary

 

 

 

 

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Look Who’s “coming to dinner”?

Source: Look Who’s “coming to dinner”?

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Look Who’s “coming to dinner”?

The continued adventure of living in Belize, and building a new home.

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Start of another beautiful day in Belize

You probably have noticed that we have been taking a “holiday” from the construction phase of our new home the past few weeks. Both the crew and I probably need the break, and as it works out, things really do “happen for a reason”. First of all, my lovely wife Marsha was able to come down for a short visit, only a week, but as good luck would have it, so were a bunch of our good friends.

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How do you like the custom stand I had made for our water jug ? 🙂

 

One of the fun things we did together was plan an entire day together, starting with “brunch” at our good friends Jimbob and Valerie’s lovely bamboo home. Bloody Mary’s and Mimosa’s  do have a way of getting people ready to party all day and night!

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What a motley crew, our little “gathering” at the Slocum’s beautiful house

Next stop was to travel to the town of Hopkins and everyone’s favorite riverfront bar, the Curve Bar. Not only are there awesome food choices and cocktails, but they are home to a almost 12 foot crocodile! I do believe he has gotten this large because they feed him patrons that can’t pay their bar bills?

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We followed a few hours at the “Curve”, to another friends lot and more importantly, pier and screened in room, directly on the Sittee River, for SHOTS! 😉

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Another day the boys (and one lady) headed out to sea for a day deep sea fishing, which I must say was awesome.The Pirate had the pleasure of being the only one aboard that caught a shark and a seagull!?

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Gilligan ! Did you bring that cooler of 1 Barrel Rum ?

Now getting back to the build, and surprises that can and often do happen without notice. Marsha and I over the past year have been lucky enough to meet the owners of the houses on either side of us. That’s lucky because they are owned by Expats that don’t live here full time. That being said, we have a vacant wooded lot to our right, that we were told was purchased by a young couple about 8 years ago. They were supposedly not interested in building foe 20 years?

The other day they showed up at my doorstep, introduced themselves, and told me they were having a construction company clear their treed lot, tomorrow! They also told me their plan is to start building a house in the fall.

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Lot between our house and neighbors

I was actually thrilled to hear this because having a vacant treed lot next to me isn’t the best of situations, for security reasons. Also, locals have been using their lot as a dump!

Things were going good until they brought up the fact that our builder and crew had set up a worksite, along with piles of lumber and stuff, on their side of the lot line. As they are planning on having the entire lot cleared and leveled. they needed this stuff removed, before the next day. Telling them I agreed, and that we had no idea they would be here, I told them I would have everything removed before their crew got here in the AM.

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The boys scurry to get stuff over the line ?

It’s this morning, and finally the crew of guys are here removing all the construction stuff, and luckily, because they just showed up with some monster equipment to start clearing.

One thing I have always believed, make good friends of neighbors, and with that said, invited our new neighbors for beers on my deck to watch the clearing 😉

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Marsha and Little Oliver taking a last walk on the beach before she leaves ;(

And so the adventure continues.

“May the wind always fill your sails, and the matès always keep the rum in yer cup to the rim!”

The Pirate

 

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