14 best things to do in Placencia

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Belize, formerly British Honduras, became its own nation in 1981. It is located on the east coast of Central America, south of Mexico, and northeast of Guatemala. With 239 miles of coastline and 200 islands and cays, it’s easy to see why tourists flock to Belize. A quick 22 minute flight from Belize City to Placencia and you’re ready to enjoy beach life.

Placencia, a fishing village on the south coast, attracts tourists with the ecotourism excitement offered by water activities and historic treks through Mayan ruins or tropical jungles – and the best soft white sand beaches in the country.

The Placencia Peninsula is a 16-mile spit of land stretching north to south, narrowing to just 80 feet in places. To the east, white sandy beaches and lush palm trees frame the Caribbean Sea. To the west, the Placencia Lagoon, a natural and aquatic playground, stands in the foreground of the Maya Mountains.

Wherever you land on the peninsula, you will notice its laid back attitude. It is the one that Placencia consciously cultivates.

1. Lower cost of living

Belize has become popular with American expats looking for a cheaper place to live with American amenities and close proximity to their grandchildren.

Expats stay in Belize due to the lower cost of living and great tax benefits. Residence can be obtained after a stay of 50 out of 52 weeks in a year. With that comes the ability to work in the country.

Expats stay for the simplified and less materialistic lifestyle available, while enjoying multiple dining options, an active lifestyle, and a great place to invite friends and family. And, for convenience, the official language is English, the currency is the US dollar, and the electric current is the same as we have in the United States. No need for adapters or converters.

(Simon Dannhauer / Shutterstock.com)

2. Climate of Belize

The temperature is generally 72 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit and humid. This makes it the perfect place for Americans to escape our winters. After the snow I had experienced in Minnesota and Arizona in February, it was a welcome change. My laundry needs are drastically reduced as I spent most of my days in shorts, T-shirts and flip flops, only covering my boat and kayak trips to reduce the risk of sunburn.

The rainy season lasts from June to November. Locals tell me it’s ‘not bad’, with only a few major hurricanes in recent years.

3. History of Placencia

Settled in the 1700s by Puritans from Nova Scotia, the Spanish-American War of the 1820s led to the extinction of the population. It was later in the 1800s that the Spanish would have named it “Punta Placencia”, now adapted to Placencia. And it’s a pleasant spot, with gentle sea breezes and wonderful weather the norm.

Its Mayan history, however, takes you back 3000 years, when the Placencia Peninsula would have been a major producer of salt. You have a great sense of history with an excursion to the jungle or the Mayan ruins, but also visits to the restaurants where you have the best combination of food that these different peoples have graced in the region will give you an indication of their diversity.

4. Good food

At the intersection of many cultures, Placencia’s cuisine includes traditional Métis, Garifuna, Creole, and Mayan offerings.

Whether you stay on the Placencia sidewalk at Barefoot Bar, Tipsy Tuna, Cozy Corner, or The Shak, or move around Placencia Road with Wendy’s, Omar’s, Ruth’s, Rick’s or Tutti Frutti, there is enough choice for you. can go to another place each day.

Then, down the village road, options like Turtle Inn, The Quarterdeck, and the Maya Beach Resort offer exceptional dining just a short distance away.

Footprints on a beach in Belize
(Photo credit: Gail Clifford)

5. The best beaches

People arrive in Placencia ready to enjoy the white sandy beaches with the thought of sunbathing, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving or kayaking.

You can put on your flip flops or tie up your sneakers. Enjoy the most relaxing 90 minute sunrise walks (or run) along Crescent Beach as the sun quickly enters another day (sunrise takes an average of 3 minutes here).

Just a few of these daily excursions and It’s easy to see why people focus on the dreamy beach lifestyle that Placencia offers.

Jungle Gateway in Belize
(THP Creative / Shutterstock.com)

6. Adventures in the jungle

But there is still more to do. Raise. Explore Monkey River and see howler monkeys scream at the intrusion of their territory and maybe spot a few crocodiles too. Wildlife tours are available to see jaguars, macaws, and anteaters.

Perhaps the most exotic of the local tours on offer is the Monkey River tour. This tour gives you an overview of rural Belize. We found a small family of howler monkeys in one part of the jungle and a single lone howler in other explorations.

Through lush stands of mangroves, we returned to our origin at Sunset Point, happy to add another unique adventure to our credit.

Belize fishing boats
(ohrim / Shutterstock.com)

7. World class fishing

When you’re ready for the “reel action,” rent a boat and go sport fishing.

Pro tip: If you have access to cooking facilities and eat fish, plan your fishing trip early in your stay – you’ll have all the protein you need for the rest of your visit.

Typical catches include tuna, snapper, grouper, and barracuda. The latter does not make a good table price.

By hiring Alfred and AJ as a captain and guide, you are virtually guaranteed to have a significant gain in your fishing experience. Anyone in the area can tell you how to get in touch with the duo.

It’s a race to their selective fishing hole of the day. With the decline of tourism during the pandemic, the fish population skyrocketed due to lack of fishing pressure.

Your guides allow you to be as involved as you want. You can do it all or they can do almost anything for you, or anywhere in between.

8. Adventures in the reefs

Placencia is only 20 miles from the second largest barrier reef system in the world, for scuba diving and snorkeling.

Whether you visit Silk Cays or the Blue Hole or Half Moon Cay, you will find different reef structures creating different environments to explore.

All experience levels can be accommodated by Placencia tour operators.

Snorkeling with a turtle in Belize
(Photo credit: Turtle Inn)

9. Snorkeling

Beginners can get their feet wet along the white sand beach on the Caribbean crescent section of the east side of the Placencia Peninsula or past The Shak on the beach near the community pier.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to explore the Silk Cays and Laughing Bird Cay.

Make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen and reapply often. Consider wearing clothes soaked in sunscreen. The relentless equatorial sun will damage your skin before you know it.

10. Beaches

Nothing soothes the soul like a walk on the beach.

With the sun rising around 6 a.m., the best time to walk or run along the crescent section of the beach is from 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. It’s a peaceful time along the shore where you can collect your thoughts, plan your day, or walk hand in hand hand in hand with the one you love.

Diving with a shark in Belize
(Photo credit: Turtle Inn)

11. Scuba diving

The most popular sport remains available in Placencia with several PADI tour operators present from top to bottom of the village.

Choose between the Blue Hole offer, departing at 7:00 a.m. and returning around 5:00 p.m., or a more local dive at Glover’s Reef, Southwater or the North Wall of Silk Cays.

Stone pillar at the ruins of Nim Li Punit
Stone pillar from the ruins of Nim Li Punit (Photo credit: Turtle Inn)

12. Visit of the Mayan ruins

The Mayan people settled in this region between 2000 and 1250 BC. The ruins of their civilization can be visited via several circuits.

The Mayan ruins of Lubaantun, where the “crystal skull” was discovered in the south, contain 11 structures and are believed to have been inhabited between AD 700 and 900.

The ruins of Xunantunich allow people to climb the temples. This “stone woman” site in western Belize is just a mile east of the Guatemalan border. It was once known as the tallest building in Belize. From an archaeological point of view, it served as a Mayan civic ceremonial center at the end of the Classical and Terminal periods. Some believe that the underground tubes in this area allow you to see the Mayan underworld.

The ruins of Nim Li Punit are famous for the tall stone pillar carvings found on site.

Mayan chocolate making tools
Traditional Mayan Chocolate Making Tools (Danica Chang / Shutterstock.com)

13. Chocolate and spice towers

Once traded as currency, the Mayan kings drank cocoa beans in a spicy and sacred drink. Mayan chocolate producers profit from the world’s love for specialty chocolate.

Right in the middle of town, you’ll see the Green Hut to sign up for chocolate, spice, and rum tours. You can visit Ixcacao Chocolate and taste a variety of chocolates (hint: one is from a company in Oceania that you will recognize from home) and see how roasting the beans makes a difference in the bitterness of the chocolate. At Belize Spice Farm, learn about the origins of cardamom, vanilla, allspice and nutmeg and how they are processed. You’ll never look at your spice rack the same again. Some tours also include a rum tasting.

Sailboats moored in Belize
(Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock.com)

14. Sailing at sunset

When you get a small group of people together, it can be as economical as US $ 50 per person to experience sunset sailing.

We rented Hank’s catamaran with a wide open, mesh front deck with roomy areas for everyone to sit or lie down as they see fit.

Soft drinks, water, beer or rum punch served with cheese and crackers or ginger cookies accompany the navigation in the Caribbean Sea.

As 6 p.m. approaches, the sun changes from yellow to orange, illuminating the sky and clouds.

It’s not the same as a sunset on the horizon, with the Maya mountains to the west, but a respectful, hushed silence descends as the sun slips behind the mountains.

Hank Rhamdas owns both the catamaran and a motor boat.

This is just one of the many ways to spend a perfect day in Placencia.

Belize has garnered a lot of interest from vacationers because of its water sports and dive sites, but retirees like it for its economical lifestyle:


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