placencia, Belize
Placencia lies at the southern end of Belize and is a thin 16 mile long stretch of land that offers the best beaches in Belize and is the ideal location for divers, snorkelers and those who wish to explore the Mayan ruins in the south of the country. The town still has a laid back Caribbean attitude and life here centers around the 3ft wide main street. This is where you’ll find most of the bars and restaurants. I loved it here and ended up staying an extra week.

Typical Costs

  • Hostel Prices: There aren’t really hostels here, mostly guesthouses, which are the next best thing. Expect to pay from $15 – 20 USD per night for a cheap private room.
  • Budget Hotel Prices: There aren’t many low cost hotels here (that’s what the guesthouses are for). Hotels here tend to be pretty nice and start at around $30 USD per night.
  • Average Cost of Food: A basic meal of rice, beans and chicken will cost $3.50 USD with dinner in a sit down restaurant costing $6 USD. Restaurants along the beach cost more.
  • Transportation Costs: A taxi fare will cost $2.50 USD per person although you can really walk everywhere since Placencia is pretty small. Bike rental is the best option and bikes cost around $7.50 USD per day.  The public bus from Belize City takes 3 hours and costs $5 USD.

Top Things to Do

  • Go Sailing – Sailing is a very popular activity with boats and catamarans going on day trips to the islands on the reef and further afield to the Honduran and Guatemalan Bay Islands.  For something a little different, take a full moon cruise.
  • Go Diving – The Belizean Barrier Reef is the world’s second largest barrier reef and lies around 45 minutes away from the shore. If you’re new to diving, consider a trip to Laughing Bird Caye as the gentle waters are perfect for novices and offer the chance to swim with hawksbill turtles and lemon sharks.  For something more unique, head to The Elbow at Gladden Spit. For the two weeks following a full moon, whales sharks feed on the small fish that spawn here.
  • Sea kayaking – Rent a sea kayak for around $30 USD per day for a chance to explore secluded beaches and caves. Bring your snorkel gear to take advantage of the amazing snorkeling in the region. There are also guided kayaking tours if you don’t fancy going alone.
  • Fish – A day’s fishing is quite expensive at $275 USD but is well worth it as you’re likely to catch barracuda, tuna, and many others. Fly fishers can hook tarpon, snook and bonefish.
  • Snorkeling – Many of the diving sites are also great for snorkelers too. Snorkeling day trips often include a beach barbecue and cost between $27 USD and $68 USD with trips to Laughing Bird Caye being the most inexpensive and a whale spotting trip being the dearest.
  • Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary – Just a 45 minute minute drive from Placencia is Cockscomb Basin, Belize’s prime jaguar spotting territory.  The sanctuary covers 150 square miles of tropical forest including a small Mayan ruin and mountain area. Cockscomb is renowned for its bird watching with over 200 species being recorded here, including macaws and toucans.
  • Visit Nim Li Punit – Nim Li Punit is one of the smaller Mayan sites but is well known for the large amount of stelae found there. The site also consists of pyramids, tombs and plazas but the intricate carvings on the stelae steal the show, they’re the tallest in Belize. Trips to Nim Li Punit are usually combined with a visit to Lubaantun.
  • Visit Lubaantun – Lubaantun, translated as “place of fallen rocks,” is the largest Mayan site in Southern Belize.  Strangely, the structures have a rounded shape and unlike Nim Li Punit, there are no stelae at the site, however, there are ball courts, temples, pyramids and tombs.  Historically, Lubaantun was famed for its ceramic artifacts, many of which are displayed in the small on-site museum.
  • Explore Placencia Lagoon -This is the perfect place to catch a glimpse of manatees, saltwater crocodiles and numerous species of birds. The mangrove forests are ideal for exploring via canoe or kayak.
  • Whale Watching – The months of May and June are prime time for spotting the gentle whale sharks that swim down here. It’s one of the most amazing experiences ever.
  • Hike – The Coxcomb basin is a subtropical rainforest located between the Maya mountains. There are many guides available to lead you through the vast land of orchids, tree ferns, air plants, vines, trees, and more.

Budget Tips

  • Bike it – Placencia itself is small enough to explore on foot but many hotels offer guests free bike rentals.
  • Happy hour - Most bars have a happy hour in the late afternoon and offer 2 for the price of one drinks.

Other Destinations in Belize

Caye Caulker Orange Walk San Ignacio