Placencia, Belize is known for a lot of things these days. It’s got beautiful white sand beaches. There’s a stop light at the airport so that cars don’t drive across the runway while a plane is landing. And it’s also a secret hideaway for the occasional rich and famous visitor.
But Placencia also has another claim to fame: The Placencia Sidewalk.
The Placencia Sidewalk is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s narrowest main thoroughfare.
Running from the pier to the other side of town, and wedged between the beach and the village buildings, it’s a great way to take a pleasant stroll through town without getting sand in your shoes or getting them soaked during the rainy season.
Yet it’s original purpose had nothing to do with your feet.
In the past, Placencia was primarily a fishing village. In order to get wheel barrows full of fish from the boats and into the town without fighting the sand, the sidewalk was constructed.
Now the sidewalk’s primary purpose is as a pathway with which to navigate the town. And it’s definitely worth a meander. Along the way you’ll encounter shops, restaurants, woodworkers, bars, an internet cafe coffee shop and a fresh coconut water salesmen ready to knock the top off a coconut with a sickle and stick a straw in it for a few bucks.
You’ll see buildings painted in Caribbean colors of pink, green, blue and yellow, be shaded by palm fronds and have no worry about getting lost as there are frequent hand painted signs directing you to nearby businesses.
Most importantly, take your time. As Emerson once said, “it’s the journey, not the destination.” Did he ever visit Belize? No one knows. But if he had he would certainly have understood there’s a different awareness of time here. It can be experienced while slowly navigating down the world’s smallest walkway.
Brett Renee Stone is a managing partner and director of communications for Palm Reef Resort.