10 things YOU MUST do in Placencia

Beach area in front of Tipsy Tuna Bar in Placencia
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Placencia Village, along with its coastal neighbour, Hopkins, draws many visitors to Southern Belize since the region is known for beautiful beaches and amazing diving/snorkeling. However, there are plenty of more things to do in Placencia, including exotic jungle adventures and unique cultural and culinary tours.

Related: Beach destinations in Belize & Beach resorts in Belize

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of top tours and activities you must-do if you visit Placencia.

Top 10 Things to Do in Placencia

1. Explore the Southern Cayes & Coral Reefs

Diving with Whale Sharks in Placencia, Belize

Off the coast of Placencia are beautiful coral reefs and southern cayes. Top underwater opportunities include diving or snorkeling the marine reserves of Laughing Bird Caye, Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes (world-famous for seasonal whale sharks), Sapodilla Cayes, and Glover’s Reef. And if you prefer to stay above water, there are tons of offshore kayaking and fishing adventures to have.

2. Explore the Placencia Peninsula

aerial photo of placencia Belize

Placencia is not the only village on the Placencia Peninsula. I recommend visiting Seine Bight, a Garifuna village, and Maya Beach, which has beautiful beaches. But of course, exploring Placencia, which is on the southern tip of the peninsula, is a must. Check out the Placencia Sidewalk, which is one of the world’s narrowest streets, shop at the quirky gift shops, and visit the many excellent restaurants.

3. Enjoy the best beaches in Belize

Beachfront at Toucan Jacks Tiki Bar in Placencia

For anyone that loves beaches, Placencia is the place for you. My favorite spot to hang out is the stretch of beach from the Barefoot Beach Bar to Toucan Jacks Tiki Bar, where people always gather to have fun. However, with Placencia being a peninsula, no matter where you go, you’ll find a great beach spot.

4. Enjoy Placencia’s food scene

Turtle Inn beach hotel by Francis Ford Coppola

Along with being known for having beautiful beaches, Placencia has a reputation for pairing fine dining and hearty meals surprisingly well. One evening you can have a luxurious dinner at one of the many upscale restaurants on the peninsula and the next day you can sit under a small beach shack and have the best meal you’ve ever had. 

5. Experience Hopkins Village

Belize's the Garifuna Collective

Hopkins is a beautiful seaside village that is a cultural hotspot for learning about the Garifuna people of Belize. If you decide to visit for the day, I recommend that you take a Garifuna cooking lesson or Garifuna drumming and dancing lessons.

6. Tour Monkey River

Monkey River boat tour

Monkey River is a small creole village located on the northern tip of Toledo. A tour of Monkey River allows guests to learn about the interesting history of the village and to go on a boat ride where people can get up close to nature, including spotting wildlife such as exotic birds, howler monkeys, and crocodiles.

7. Hiking at the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Hiking views at the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve

The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the largest protected areas in Belize and it’s the first Jaguar preserve in the world. It’s the ideal hiking destination in Belize for people that are interested in wildlife spotting and discovering waterfalls that are deep in the Belizean jungle.

8. Visit famous Maya temples

Lubaantun Mayan Ruins in Toledo, Belize

Although the most popular Maya sites in Belize are in western and northern parts of the country, the south does have a famous Maya site. Lubaantun, which is located in Toledo, is just a short drive from Placencia and it’s notorious for being where the now-debunked “discovery” of the crystal skull-of-doom took place. 

9. Visit the Bocawina National Park

Big Drop Falls at Bocawina National Park

Bocawina National Park is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking for hardcore jungle adventures. The park has the longest zip-line course in Central America and three waterfalls to rappel down from. Soft adventures such as birdwatching and hiking can also be done there. 

10. Spot Scarlet Macaws at Red Bank Village

Scarlet Macaw feeding near Red Bank Village in Stann Creek, Belize

Just an hour’s drive from Placencia is the Maya village of Red Bank, which is famous for hosting the largest gathering of scarlet macaws in Belize. Every year, between December and March, flocks of macaws are found feeding on the fruits of the ‘annatto’ and ‘pole wood’ trees, which surround the village.

Bonus – The Living Maya Experience

The Living Maya Experience at Big Falls in Toledo, Belize

The Living Maya Experience serves as a great cross-cultural experience. The tour allows guests to visit the traditional Maya village of Big Falls in Toledo where they can actively participate in daily village life. Typically, guests can be involved in anything from building a traditional thatch house to making corn tortillas.

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