I found Frank & Joyce's B&B on craigslist by a stroke of luck. We e-mailed back and forth a few times after reviewing their website and Joyce asked for my phone number to call me. She was so sweet and thoughtful, an absolute joy, a hostess with the mostest you could say.
Cash Only (or Travellers Cheques)
Being a small 'mom & pop shop' as she called it, we needed to pay by cash or travellers cheques, the first being most preferred. No credit cards could be used.
Car Rental/Travelling the Roads
Joyce and I discussed flying in to Belize City and driving to the B&B (3.5 hours) - as opposed to taking the commuter airplane from Belize City right into Placencia airport strip, since my boyfriend and I wanted to see the countryside. Joyce's advice was invaluable. Make sure you get a 4x4 and not a regular car. Check the tires. Negotiate a rate lower than asked. Air conditioning is required because it is VERY hot in March, April and May.
The highways are excellent, well paved, somewhat winding, two-lane roads. Let me say right here, travelling to the Maya Beach/Placencia area on the last 23 miles of road is rough, sandy, pot-holed and littered with tire-busting rocks. It is NOT for the faint of heart. Throughout the two weeks we spent in Maya Beach/Placencia area, we had two flat tires which we had to change ourselves on the side of the road.
Breakfast included/Meals of interest
Breakfast is included in the price of the room rental, two doors over at the Green Parrot. The breakfast was delicious and plentiful and the staff there are very pleasant and accommodating. However, we found out that if we had choosen not to have breakfast included the daily room rate would have been less.
We ate lunches and dinners all along the Maya Beach area. There is expensive, fine dining and local squat spots and a couple of places in between. We LOVED The Hungry Grecko (run by native locals) and The Frisky Frog (run by an American named Gary who has been in Belize for 10 years) located just up the road from the B&B. Local food was delicious and affordable. The Frisky Frog also offers some awesome American food, meaty, juicy, bacon double cheese burgers w/ fries or homemade pizza to name a few, in case you are homesick for some North American grub. Just ask Joyce and she will give you the low down on the restaurants in the area.
There are a number of rooms/cabins available at this B&B. They are clean, well appointed and cozy (read small). We ended up choosing the Beach House located behind the main building. It was wonderful, well decorated and any thing we didn't have we just asked Frank or Joyce or their groundskeeper, a native Mayan named Verheelioh (phonetic spelling). There was a large family room, two tvs with satellite, three air conditioners, two bedrooms (queen) and (twins with tv) and a fantastic washroom - the shower had lights, radio and the rainforest shower nozzles. The kitchen had a full-sized fridge/freezer and the stove was gas. We loved this space and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others. We parked right outside our front door. One should check out all the cabins available for rent - including the one on the lagoon side - across the road from the main establishment. Included when you stay at Frank & Joyce's is the kayak, private dock with hammocks, and bicyles. We borrowed a cooler one day and requested a fry pan and flipper for the kitchen.
This is a lovely little town, very quaint, lots to offer, friendly locals, many grocery stores and restaurants/snack shacks. We preferred it to Punta Gorda (PG) and Dangriga. There are clothing stores, internet cafes, tour companies, a gellato store all along the main road and placed within the nooks and crannies of the side streets. Wendy's Restaurant is delicious and affordable, clean and fashionable with a wrap around balcony for dining. The grocery stores sell the Belizian beers (3 different types) and you can walk the streets enjoying a cold beverage while you take in the sites. With the Belizian heat, this is a nice perk.
We avoided the Patricia Ramirez Dive shop as we found the prices to be the highest. We also do not recommend booking tours through the Green Parrot as they add on a significant built-in surcharge to be picked up in Maya Beach. The tours, depending on what you are embarking upon, usually depart from Placencia. We booked our Monkey River Tour - the most highly recommended tour by Joyce and other proprietors, through Fiona's Trip N' Travel in Placencia. She charged $50 US per person whereas Patricia Ramirez Dive Shop was charging $65 US and the Green Parrot $85 US. This was a terrific informative tour. First a boat trip to the Monkey River, then a hike through the rainforest to see various of indiginous plant life and, of course, the Howler Monkeys. Lunch is provided at a local restaurant and then it is back on the boat to see the Manatees before returning to Placencia. Approximately a 5 hour outing.
We booked our snorkle trip out to Silke Caye with the Sea Horse Dive Shop for an affordable $60 US per person whereas Fiona at Trip N' Travel was going to charge us $10 extra. These three men, our guides, were incredibly hospitable and informative and well mannered. A 1 hour trip out to the island where lunch is provided. A 45 min snorkle trip first and after lunch another snorkle tour. One man in our group broke his snorkle 10 min into the tour and the guide provided his own so the man could enjoy the rest of the snorkle stress free. The guides were very respectful of the life on the reef and educated us to respect it as well.
Belize is still very much a third world country and I would liken the experience to Mexico and Dominican Republic. Don't let the glossy photos of the tour brochures fool you. Always be prepared with hand santizer, kleenex packets, a flashlight and bug spray. Seeing Belize can be very affordable. There were a number of very pricey resorts along the Maya Beach/Placencia road. A buffet dinner at Robert's Grove was $100 each for a couple we met at a neighbouring mom and pop resort. There was a variety of seafood on the buffet and they had a couple of fancy drinks. We had dinner that same night at the Hungry Gecko for $30 Belize (which is $15 US) and that included a couple of Belizian beers - the Lighthouse Lagers.
Basically, we mingled with the locals - and the locals are very diverse. (Beware of the few rastafarians who loiter about, there are some in every town. They want to sell you certain things and then beg for money. Some harass and it takes a strong stance to get them to finally leave you alone.) We shopped and ate at the local spots and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves while learning about the history of the people and the country of Belize from the people themselves. We prefer this to the castle-in-the-sky resorts that charge you and arm and a leg and keep you distanced from the true flavour of the area.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC