Placencia Travel Guide
Placencia, Belize lies at the southern end of Belize and is a thin 16 mile long stretch of land that offers the best beaches in the entire country (in my opinion). It 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 three foot wide main street where you will find most bars and restaurants. I loved my stay here and ended up staying an extra week. In Placencia, you’ll find a lot of travelers who do the same. Eat seafood, relax on the beach, drink beer as the sunsets. This travel guide can help you plan your ideal trip.
- 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). A single room will start around $50 USD per night, so I recommend checking out the smaller spots. You can get a lot of accommodation just by showing up and asking around.
- Average cost of food – A basic meal of rice, beans and chicken will cost $4 USD, with dinner in a sit down restaurant costing $10 USD. Restaurants along the beach cost more as they are a bit more touristy.
- Transportation costs – A taxi fare will cost $2.50 USD per person although you can really walk everywhere since Placencia is pretty small. Your best option is to rent a bike for about $7.50 USD per day. The public bus from Belize City takes 3 hours and costs $5 USD.
Money Saving 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.
Top Things to See and Do in Placencia
- Go sailing – Sailing is an incredible way to see this area, 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 just 45 minutes from the shore. If you’re new to diving, consider a trip to Laughing Bird Caye—the gentle waters are perfect for novices and offer the chance to swim with hawksbill turtles and lemon sharks. For something more adventurous, 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, usually around $275 USD, but is well worth it if it’s your thing as you’re likely to catch barracuda, tuna, and more. 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 $25-70 USD with trips to Laughing Bird Caye being the most inexpensive. Look into whale spotting!
- 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, and trees.