Some 16km south of Maya Centre, a newly paved road cuts east from the Southern Highway, heading through pine forest and banana plantations before reaching the sea and snaking south down the narrow Placencia peninsula, immensely popular for its sandy beaches, which are among the best in Belize. Though accommodation throughout most of the peninsula, including the villages of Maya Beach and Seine Bight, is limited to upscale resorts and hotels, Placencia village itself has an abundance of budget options, mostly clustered around the northern end of the Sidewalk which runs parallel to the beach. Shaded by palm trees and cooled by the sea breeze, the village is an ideal spot to relax. However, a recent and unrestrained boom in the property market has led to justified fears for local ecology, along with concerns that the peaceful atmosphere of the peninsula may soon be a thing of the past. Apart from simply hanging out on the beach, Placencia is a good, if expensive, base for snorkelling and diving trips to the southern cayes and reef or a day-trip to the Monkey River.