Belize has quickly become an up and coming tourist destination. Yet it remains unspoiled. What makes Belize unique is that it offers both jungle experiences and beautiful beaches. The language is English and traveling around the country is relatively affordable and safe.
There are three main places that attract visitors to Belize, the Cayes (small islands) with Ambergis Caye the largest and most inhabited being the most popular. Cayo District, one of Belize’s six districts a 1.5-hour drive directly west of Belize City where the International Airport is offers the ultimate jungle experience. Cayo’s main city is San Ignacio. The third place that is quickly becoming popular because of its location is Placencia. Placencia is a peninsula in the Stann Creek District about 3 hours south of Belize City. Placencia is popular because it is on the mainland unlike the Cayes and is offers both Jungle and Sea experiences for tourists.
Placencia Village is at the end of a 16 miles peninsula flanked by the Caribbean Sea and the Placencia Lagoon to the east and west respectively. The Placencia Peninsula is what gives this destination the feeling of the Cayes with mainland access. One can easily do day trips to the Cayes off the coast or head inland to see Maya ruins and do other jungle excursions like cave tubing and horse back riding.
There are several Villages along the peninsula inhabited by mostly the descendants of the Garifuna. The Garifuna are descendants of African slaves and Caribs (native Indians) who arrived in southern Belize in the early 1800’s. They have managed to maintain their culture which is largely afro centric. This offers an added cultural experience. The Villages on the Peninsula are Maya Beach, Seine Bright and the largest Placencia. Placencia is in the Guinness Book Of World Records for having the narrowest street in the world at only 24 inches wide the street is more of a sidewalk that allows only pedestrians. Hopkins Village north of the peninsula has also become popular. There are many small hotels and resorts up and down the peninsula with more expats settling in the former fishing villages every year.
How to Get There
One can get to Placencia by renting a car and driving. The best place to get a rental is from the Belie International Airport. Rental costs are comparable to daily rates in the US. The road is paved and makes for an easy drive. Belizeans drive on the right and many cars are American made. You can also hire a private driver. Costs for this range from $30 per person to a flat rate of $150 each way. The drive is between 3 and 4 hours. Adventurous tourist can also take the bus from Belize City which cost about $18 per person each way. The fastest way to get to Placencia is by taking a puddle jumper (small airplane) from the Belize International Airport. There are two regional airports in Stann Creek and Placencia. Depending on where your hotel is one or the other is best. Hotels offer to pick up and drop off at the airport. The cost for this varies from$50-$100 per person each way. The two local airlines that offer flights are Maya Air and Tropic Air.
What To Do
This is an entire post onto itself. However, there are many tour companies that do various excursions. The few that I have found most popular and have experience with are Happy Go Lucky Tours, Roam Belize, and Barefoot Services. Activities in the Placencia area are as follows, note that because of the sea and jungle opportunities you have a very long list of adventurous things to do.
Monkey River Tour, Bioluminescence Tour Anderson Lagoon, Laughing Bird Caye, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Fishing, Silk Caye, Whale Sharks, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Kayaking, Maya Ruins, Cave Tubing, Ziplining, Inland Blue Hole, Horse Back riding, Chocolate Tour, Garifuna Cultural Tour
Besides all these activities you still have the beach, restaurants, and bars and the hotel pool of course.
Where To Stay
Many resorts and hotels have popped up in southern Belize over the last 10 years. They vary in cost but are small, quaint and very affordable. Here are hotels I would recommend.
Parrot Cove – Located in Hopkins north of Placencia this small resort offers highly rated food and comfortable lodging. Parrot Cove is moderately priced.
Hopkins Bay– Also in Hopkins Village this resort is larger and offers more family friendly options with 1-3 bedroom suites with full kitchens. This resort is moderately priced.
Robert’s Grove – This is a family owned family friendly resort on the Placencia peninsula. It is upscale and offers many amenities. It has a long strip of beach, several pools, and several restaurants.
Maya Beach – A budget friendly hotel offering various rooms from bungalows to larger apartments. The resort is on the northern end of the peninsula.
Chabil Mar – 22 Villa resort some with full kitchens close to Placencia. The resort offers two pools and a restaurant on site. Free bikes and kayaks. This resort is priced at deluxe hotel rates.
Turtle Inn – Located north of Placencia this upscale offers quiet hotel offers individual bungalows. The resort is perfect for couples and offers 3 restaurants.
Belize Ocean Club – A family friendly resort located north of Placencia that offers full kitchens and many amenities. This resort is moderately priced.
There are several special events and occasions that the Peninsula hosts each year. The most popular festival is Lobster Fest. Lobster Fest is hosted by the Placencia Village Council the last week of June each year. Fresh grilled Lobster for as little as $10 US. Another event that draws a large crowd is the Placencia Arts Festival held along the Main Sidewalk street in Placencia each year in February. Known as Settlement Day this Garifuna Festival celebrated on November 19, each year to celebrate the arrival of the Garifunas to Belize from St Vincent. The festival includes authentic Garifuna food, a reenactment of the arrival, music and other cultural immersion activities.
I’m happy to answer your questions about Placencia and help you book your next vacation to the best of both worlds Belize has to firstname.lastname@example.org 331-213-9904.