Guide to Placencia

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aerial photo of placencia Belize

Placencia is one of the most popular beach destinations on Belize’s Southern Coast. The picturesque peninsula is known for beautiful beaches, exclusive luxury resorts, and easy access to the southern barrier reef, cayes, and mainland jungles.

On this page
1. About Placencia
2. Things to Do
3. Where to Eat
4. Where to Stay
5. Best Time to Visit
6. Safety Concerns
7. Getting Here & Around
8. Related Blogs on Placencia

About Placencia

Beach area in front of Tipsy Tuna Bar in Placencia

Located in Southern Belize, Placencia is a seaside village on the tip of Stann Creek’s 16-mile-long Placencia Peninsula. From simple beginnings as a quiet Creole fishing village, it is now known for luxury beach resorts, world-class restaurants, and lively beach bars. However, Placencia’s growth spurt has not affected its charm and it remains a quiet getaway spot where golf carts are still a popular mode of transportation.

Related: Top 10 Placencia Attractions & The Best Placencia Hotels

Placencia’s expansive stretch of beaches, luxury hotels, and quality food and drink establishments are not the only things that entice travelers to visit. It is near many top jungle attractions and it sits only 20 miles (32 km) west of the southern part of the Belize Barrier Reef. This, of course, makes it a great spot for tourists interested in a beach and jungle vacation.

Area:0.356 Square miles
Population:2,500 Residents
District:Stann Creek
Nearby Settlements:Seine Bight, Maya Beach, Riversdale, Hopkins
Nearest Airport:Placencia Airport (PLJ)

Things to Do in Placencia

Diving with Whale Sharks in Placencia ,Belize

Exploring the entire Placencia Peninsula is a must. North to south, villages on the peninsula include Riversdale, Maya Beach, Seine Bight, and Placencia. I recommend that you go bar hopping, eat at top restaurants, or just explore the various beaches along the coast.

With the southern reef nearby, diving and snorkeling are very popular. For example, the waters off Placencia are famous for drawing Whale Sharks every year. Placencia also acts as a home base for fly fishing, with the nearby reefs and offshore cayes offering fishermen the opportunity to catch Permit, Tarpon, and Bonefish.

A major draw to Placencia is that it offers easy access to mainland tours and attractions. For example, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Bocawina National Park offer incredible hiking opportunities just an hour away by car. Red Bank Village has magnificent scarlet macaws from December to March, and Monkey River offers a wonderful boat tour followed by a jungle hike in search of howler monkeys.

Top Things to Do in Placencia

  1. Relax at some of the best beaches in Belize
  2. Explore the Placencia Peninsula and eat/ drink at some of the best restaurants in Belize
  3. Explore the Southern Cayes and Reefs! Go kayaking, fishing, snorkeling or scuba dive with Whale Sharks
  4. Visit either Hopkins, Monkey River or Red Bank for the day
  5. Hike the Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve or Bocawina National Park

Where to Eat in Placencia

Turtle Inn beach hotel by Francis Ford Coppola

Seafood is abundant, fresh, and oftentimes very inexpensive in Placencia. Lobster is a prime staple in the region, with the area holding an annual celebration, much like the Lobsterfest celebrations in Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.

One “must try” in Placencia may surprise you – authentic Italian gelato. Tutti-Fruitti is one of the most visited spots in town and for good reason. It features quality Italian gelato with traditional flavors such as Stracciatella (chocolate chip) and local influences such as soursop.

For a night out on the town, one of the highlights in Placencia is a visit to the Turtle Inn, owned by Francis Ford Coppola. Here you can dine in a romantic setting while enjoying an extensive selection of Coppola’s own California wines. I also recommend you try Rumfish y Vino for a superb dining experience!

Top Food Spots in Placencia

  1. Rumfish y Vino
  2. Rick’s Cafe
  3. The Galley
  4. Secret Garden
  5. Above Grounds Coffee House

Where to Stay in Placencia

all inclusive resort in placencia belize

Similar to Hopkins Village, Placencia is a great place to stay in Belize for beach and jungle vacations. Here travelers have the option of staying in town at one of the luxury resorts, several with their own dive centers onsite, or venturing to remote private islands such as Coral Caye, which is owned and operated by Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn.

Despite the trend of more luxury accommodations, Placencia is still home to a number of budget-friendly spots such as Miramar Apartments or Harry’s Cozy Cabanas. However, to save money on food, families often prefer renting one of the many upscale vacation villas with kitchens or all-inclusive packages.

Best Time to Visit Placencia

Beach Yoga at Turtle Inn in Placencia, Belize

The best time to visit Placencia is from December to April. During this time it’s Belize’s dry season and you can expect beautiful days with clear blue skies. However, since this time period coincides with Belize’s high tourism season, the downside is that hotels and tours are more expensive.

But in all honesty, things in Belize are relatively not too different during the tourism offseason and in addition, many discounts are offered. Belize’s offseason is during Central America’s wet season, but unless you’re visiting during a tropical storm, often the rain happens overnight or for brief periods during the day.

As for a specific time that is most optimal to be in Placencia, this is perhaps during Belize’s Whale Shark season. Every year, from March to June, for a couple of days before the full moon and up to 10 days after, Whale Sharks visit the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes. Typically, April and May are the best months to see them.

Top Events in Placencia
Placencia Sidewalk Arts & Music Festival, February
Whale Shark Season, March to June
Easter Week, March or April
Placencia Lobster Fest, July 14th – 16th (Belize’s Lobster Season runs from July to February)
Belize Independence Day, September 21st
Conch Season, October to June
Garifuna Settlement Day, November 19th

Safety and Security Risks in Placencia

Popular tourist areas in Belize, such as Placencia, are typically just as safe as where you live.

The most common crime is petty theft so normal safety precautions apply. Do not flash large sums of money, do not leave personal belongings unattended, refrain from walking alone late at night (especially if drunk), and lock your doors when you leave your room. Resorts typically provide in-room safes for valuables and have security guards at night.

Most food and beverages are safe to consume in Placencia. But don’t drink the tap water. If drinking water isn’t included in your stay, which may happen at vacation rentals, bottled water can be bought at supermarkets. Resorts and hotels provide “purified” water for guests so pack a reusable water bottle.

Lastly, young women that are traveling alone/ are single may receive unwanted attention from Belizean men. Unfortunately, there is no “right way” to deal with catcalling but often the best response is to ignore it. Sorry.

Getting Here & Around

Placencia doesn’t have an international airport, so you’ll have to fly into the Phillip Goldson International Airport (BZE) near Belize City. From there you’ll need to either take a domestic flight, taxi/ shuttle or rent a car to get to Placencia. You can also take the local bus from Belize City.

Taking a domestic flight to the Placencia Airport is the most direct option. The flight to Placencia from BZE costs about US$120 and it takes about 25-30 minutes. Getting to Placencia by vehicle involves an approx. 3-hour trip if it’s a taxi/ shuttle (US$150-$300) or car rental (US$125/day). Buses from Belize City to Placencia take about 6 hours and the trip costs about US$15. A cab from the international airport to the Belize City bus terminal costs US$25.

Once in Placencia, transportation options to get around include bikes, taxis, and car or golf car rentals.

Placencia Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out top blogs that I’ve written on Placencia travel that may help make your trip better:

Placencia Pictures

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