Offering a glimpse into Belize's Mayan roots, Placencia attracts curious travelers from all over the world. And it's easy to see why: its lobster festivals, along with the chance to relax on its beautiful beaches and its offerings for adventurous nature activities make it the perfect spot for both vacationers and explorers alike!
With lots of designated dive centers, the longest barrier reef in the world, and plenty of instructors for beginner snorkelers, this activity should be at the top of your list.
Go solo or tandem while you explore the Placencia Lagoon and even take a picnic trip to nearby islands.
After a couple of days full of outdoor activities, you'll likely want to relax in sun and maybe even take a stroll along Placencia's coastline.
Island fare abounds in Placencia but so does handmade Italian cuisine! Take your pick and eat your way through several spots like De'Tatch, Trattoria Placencia, and Pirates Grill, to name a few.
With its guided tours and the chance to spot creatures like howler monkeys, crocs, and even jaguars, a tour of the neighboring jungle, along with the mysterious Mayan Ruins is a must.
Like most of central America, Belize is littered with cultural heritage sites. The ruins date back over 3,000 years, to when the Mayan civilization ruled these ancient lands. There are many ceremonial centers close to Placencia, including Lubaantun, Nim Li Punit and Xunantunich. There you will find ancient temples, hidden tombs, ornate sculptures, and sacred shrines made to honor the old Mayan gods. Hiring a local guide is the best way to understand the context of venerable Mayan traditions and history as you explore these three sites.
Located just 20 miles from Placencia, Silk Cayes offers some of the most beautiful snorkeling in all of Belize. The colorful reefs and healthy biodiversity make for a rather eclectic mix of fish to cozy up next to. From trumpet fish to angelfish, sting rays to barracudas, there's never a dull moment in these pristine waters. For those looking to swim a bit deeper, head to Belize's barrier reef, where you can swim through deep underwater canyons in a guided dive of the region. Between the months of March and June, you might even encounter a few whale sharks, who come to Placencia to feed on jack and snapper spawn.
Belize offers over 500 types of colorful birds within its small area. These attract thousands of visitors each year. Take a boat tour 30 minutes out on the mangrove lined Monkey River for some of the best bird watching in Placencia. Here you can see regionally specific varieties of bird including parrots, macaws, and blue-crowned motmots. Along the way you might even come across some crocodiles, iguanas and the indigenous howler monkeys for which the river is named.
For those looking to spend a lazy afternoon watching the waves gently lap against the shore, the Placencia Lagoon in the heart of downtown is the place to be. This tropical haven close to many bars and restaurants offers a peaceful retreat into nature with calm waters, sandy beaches, and beach loungers available for daily rentals. Even those who decide not to venture into its temperate waters can enjoy the views of bottlenose dolphins and West Indian manatees caring for their young in the distance.
Go hiking alongside the tracks of jaguars, deer, tapir, and other wildlife at the 400 square kilometers Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. This tropical forest is rich in biodiversity, with two basins which provide ample vegetation to support a thriving ecosystem of insects, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and a host of colorful birds. However the main attraction of the park is its large population of jaguars. The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular destination for visitors due to its plethora of waterfalls, mountain views, clearly marked hiking paths, and overnight lodging opportunities. Daily park fees can be paid upon entering the official Sanctuary Office or at the Maya Center Women's Group Gift Shop.
The best time really depends on the activities you want to undertake. Some say that the best time is from late November to mid-April, when Belize experiences its dry season. If you want to go swimming with whale sharks, you can only do this from March to June. On average, expect highs of 86 and lows of 71.6.
The closest airport is Belize City's Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE). From here, take a bus or car to get to Placencia.
Use a combination of the Western Highway and Coastal Highway to go south from Belize City to Placencia.
There are "shuttles" coming in from neighboring towns and airports that will get you to Placencia. Regular buses are quite cheap but fares depend on city of origin. For example, the fare from Dangriga to Placencia is BZ$5 and the fare from Belize City to Dangriga is about BZ$15, which would mean your whole trip would be BZ$20 with a transfer.
Luxury lovers will be able to bask at Casa Edgell. For suites that are moderately priced, check out Michelo Suites. Budget travelers will appreciate the view and the rates at Omar's.
Downtown Placencia - this is the main street of Placencia that houses plenty of bars, restaurants, tour services, and access to beaches.
Seine Bight - home to the the Garífuna community, a hub for traditional drumming and dance.
Placencia Lagoon - home to manatees and saltwater crocodiles. Offshore, there are dive sites along the Belize Barrier Reef.
There are plenty of local buses but these are hop-on and hop-off and mostly informal. Routes are set and there are no stops in between.
There are plenty of local taxis you can grab from companies like Cabo's Taxi, J's Taxi Service, and Peninsula Star. A blue license plate indicates that the taxi is legal. Fares can be less expensive if there's more than one person. It's BZ$3 per person.
You can get a car rental from tour companies like Barefoot Rentals and Services or from well-known companies like Hertz. Fares start at BZ$29.65 for a standard, compact 4-door.
Right in the center of the village is Beach Bazaar, a spot to find traditional trinkets and ceramic, wood, and metal art.
Top Value supermarket is located to the south. A quart of milk costs BZ$2 and a dozen eggs costs BZ$4.30.
Delight in great island eats with a Caribbean twist at De'Tatch Restaurant. So-called for its thatched roof, open-air view, and great food, you can enjoy mains like coconut shrimp curry, chicken in mango-rum sauce, or whole fried snapper. Two can dine for BZ$30-45.