Top Things to See and Do in Belize
Placencia Village on the southeastern coast of Belize is a popular holiday destination for North American expats and tourists. The village is located on the southern tip of the 16-mile long narrow Placencia Peninsula, a relaxed “barefoot friendly” community that bills itself as the caye (island) that you can drive to as it is easily accessible by automobile via a paved 27-mile road that branches off from the Southern Highway.
Placencia is a popular destination for vacationers but each tourist brings their own expectations to the kind of experience that they have in the area. Many enjoy the laid-back barefoot atmosphere where you can wander up and down the public beaches or mosey into some of the best bars and restaurants in the area. Others visitors looking for a more pampered experience can stay at top-rated luxury resorts like Chabil Mar located just a few minutes’ walk from the village.
The high season in Placencia starts in mid-December and lasts until after Easter, although any time of the year is a good time to visit. There’s always a bump in the number of visitors during the full moons of the months of May and June as that’s when the whale sharks come to feed in the waters just offshore.
Here are 8 must do activities/tours in Placencia.
Explore Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the Stann Creek District and not far from Placencia Village, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is globally recognized as the world’s first jaguar preserve and is home to cascading waterfalls to swim in, panoramic mountain views, nature trails, furry mammals, colorful insects, scaly reptiles and a variety of neotropical birds. In addition, river tubing is a favorite adventure for the many visitors to this unique tropical paradise. Tours leave daily from Chabil Mar.
Although the jaguar (the largest spotted cat in the world) is what the reserve is famous for, you are unlikely to see one as the cat is nocturnal. However you will see its tracks along with tracks of tapir, deer, and other wildlife that inhabit the nature reserve. Cockscomb Basin is also home to one of Belize’s highest points — Victoria Peak and many travelers who vacation in Placencia go on this tour.
Go on a Kayaking expedition at Laughing Bird Caye
Kayaking in Placencia is a joy! The crystal clear waters, tepid sunshine and balmy Caribbean breezes that Belize offers make for an ideal kayaking expedition. As you glide across the warm waters, you will observe untouched coral reefs, white sandy beaches and abundant marine wildlife like the amazing sea turtle.
Belize has numerous cayes that can be explored on a kayak. Laughing Bird Caye National Park for example, is a mini atoll and is a favorite stopover for reef kayakers.
Pay a Visit to the Resident Howler Monkeys
Take a boat to Monkey River Village and head up Monkey River and into the jungle to pay a visit with the resident howler monkeys. Complete your adventure along the ride to observe crocodiles sunning along the river banks, along with exotic birds, iquana hanging in the trees, a few bats and lizards and enjoy a lunch with the villagers in Monkey River. On the way back to Placencia you may even see a few manatees along with their pups.
Explore Maya Temple Sites
According to archeologists, over 1 million Maya people lived in present day Belize. Today there are a range of Maya temples scattered throughout Belize. If you are vacationing in Placencia, you might want to explore Maya Temples like Nim Li Punit and Lubantuun in the Toledo District or Xunantunich and Cahal Pech in western Belize. While visiting some of these sites, maybe even add on a swim up river and into a cave! That is a thrill of a lifetime.
Dive or Snorkel – even with Whale Sharks
Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, Belize is a diver and snorkeler’s dream come true. In addition, over 100 islands dot the coastline, just offshore from Placencia, providing endless opportunities for diverse diving and snorkeling opportunities.
During the months of March, April, May and June around the full moon, giant whale sharks will emerge in the turquoise clear waters of Gladden Spit and Silk Caye Marine Reserve near the Placencia Peninsula. This marine reserve is used by over 30 species of tropical fishes to release their eggs and it is the eggs of the cubera, mutton and dog snappers that the whale sharks munch on.
Both divers and snorkelers can swim with these giant whale sharks in the pristine and warm waters of southern Belize without any risk from these magnificent creatures as they do not pose any significant threat to humans.
Fishing is Extraordinary
As a traditional fishing Village, Placencia is the residency of some of the finest fishing captains in Belize. And, due to its location on a peninsula, the lagoons to the west, the Caribbean to the east and the barrier reef 18 miles offshore, while being dotted with multiple islands (cayes, pronounced “keys”), fishing is inherent in the population and history of this beautiful Village of 1500 residents. A grand slam is a definitely a possibility while visiting Placencia.
Enjoy delicious Belizean Cuisines
Placencia Village is a traditional fishing Village with a tourist element. It is this small tourist exposure that has encouraged its residents to populate it with amazing restaurants like Tipsy Tuna, Rum Fish, Barefoot, La Dolce Vita, Secret Garden, Yoli’s, Pickled Parrot, Purple Space Monkey and Wendy’s (no not the fast food restaurant) and these well known restaurants offer a variety of fresh sea food at a reasonable price. Dotted along the streets are many vendors serving some of the best Belizean dishes in the country, passed down from generations and prepared with local ingredients. Rum Fish for example, sells the best fish tacos and if you are into gourmet burgers you’ll have to try Barefoot Restaurant & Bar which is located right on the beach.
You can also check out the Italian Gelato Shop that offers incredible and authentic fruit gelatos. Gelato in Placencia? Yes, and we dare say among the best you will ever have the pleasure to put to your palate.
In a country with more than 180 miles of beaches, the Placencia Peninsula truly stands out. Lovely white sand, refreshing tropical breezes, and the sight and scent of the sparkling waters of the Caribbean combine for a truly unforgettable tropical beach experience.
While many people partake in organized adventures on both the mainland and nearby Belize Barrier Reef, one of the truly special joys of a Belize vacation is relaxing and exploring the beaches of the Placencia peninsula.
Below are a few ways to make the most of Placencia’s golden beaches:
- Take a long walk – In some parts, it’s considered a cliche to say that you enjoy a long walk on the beach, but in Placencia the words won’t matter. Whether you’re strolling hand in hand with a loved one or simply admiring the view on your own, walking along the beach in Placencia is undeniably good for the soul.
- Enjoy a fine meal – Whether you’ve packed a picnic basket filled to the brim with tasty local goodies or you’ve decided to enjoy a seafront view at one of the peninsula’s amazing restaurants, few experiences can compare to dining on delicious food and drinks on the beach.
- Main Street – New York has Fifth Avenue and Paris has the Champs-Élysées, but the village of Placencia has its own unique claim to fame. Officially declared the smallest main street in the world, the central “boulevard” running through the middle of the village is actually a sidewalk just four feet across. No cars are allowed which makes it the perfect place to visit cute little shops, grab a coffee, or sit down for a delicious snack.
- Relax! – Many people get so wound up trying to cram in as many activities and tours during their vacation that they forget the reason why they decided to visit Belize in the first place. The lovely golden dunes of Placencia are a great place to work on your tan, swing in a hammock, or dip your toes in the Caribbean while unwinding and relaxing.
- Seine Bight – Heading north from Placencia Village, visitors walking along the beach have the opportunity to go see the village of Seine Bight. Home to Belize’s unique Garifuna culture, Seine Bight is a great chance to experience Garifuna music, dancing, and food.
- Take unforgettable photos – Whether you want to impress your friends on social media with your amazing selfies or simply want to capture the happy memories of vacation, the beaches of Placencia are ideal for taking photographs.
Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize and Placencia, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize vacation.