The Placencia Peninsula is a 16-mile long strip of golden beaches jutting outside from the southeastern Caribbean coast of Belize. Still a laid-back eco-friendly place that more than lives up to its “barefoot perfect” motto, Placencia is the gateway to all of the best dive spots on the southern half of the great Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with clear waters and white sandy seafloors that teems with hundreds of colorful marine flora and fauna species.
Laughing Bird Caye
Many people come to Placencia Village to stroll along the beach, zoom around in golf carts, and generally take in the sights, but Placencia is also the perfect place to access the world-class dive sites that have made Belize so famous.
One of the premier dive sites just a short distance offshore from Placencia is the Laughing Bird Caye National Park. Just 11 miles from Placencia Village, Laughing Bird Caye is a national park and the southernmost island in the central lagoon portion of the Belize Barrier Reef.
Laughing Bird Caye (in Belize, islands are known as “cayes”, pronounced “keys”) is located on a narrow stretch of the reef technically called a faro. The sides of the faro are quite steep and the waters offshore are separated by deep channels that connect it to the rest of the barrier reef. This unique physical structure makes it the perfect place for fish to spawn and hide from predators. The enormous numbers of fish and other marine animals in the area draw in other creatures, making it a top dive spot.
The island gets its name from the Laughing Gull bird that once used the caye for a breeding ground. Laughing Bird Caye has been a protected marine park since 1981.
The Silk Cayes
The Silk Cayes are a three islands that lie inside the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, a protected natural area since 2000. The Silk Cayes are located approximately 22 miles off the coast of Placencia.
Gladden Spit is an elevated piece of land located on the southernmost tip of a long atoll, itself a popular dive site. The three Silk Cayes, North Silk, Middle Silk, and South Silk, are located on the southern approach to Gladden Spit.
This is a premier dive area in southern Belize because the elevation and water quality make it one of the healthiest and most ecologically diverse parts of the Belize Barrier Reef.
Chabil Mar is an award-winning luxury resort located just a five-minute walk from Placencia Village and is a great place to stay to enjoy all the best dive spots in southern Belize.
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