The Belize.com Editors and contributors compile the Top 10 Things To Do In Placencia. Here is our bucket list to date. Suggestions are welcome!
Laughing Bird Caye National Park. The diving and snorkeling off this long and narrow island is no laughing matter. As a protected area within the World Heritage site the waters around the caye are full of colorful and amazing marine life. Its close proximity to Placencia Village, only 11 miles, has made it a popular tourist destination.
Dive with the whale shark. During the months of April and July prime specimens of the biggest fish in the sea, the Belize Whale Shark, are easy to spot near Gladden Spit. Swimming beside these gentle creatures is a serene experience. Look for a special dive packages offered by resorts in the area.
Sailing. Placencia tourism operators offer all the conveniences of a resort while sailing catamarans and mono-hulls. Guests can enjoy stunning sunrises and breath taking sunsets while guides navigate through mangrove and white sand islands. You can choose a personal crew or a barefoot charter.
Fishing. Spend the day drop fishing for Snapper or trolling for Kingfish and Wahoo in some of the best fishing grounds in Belize. As an added treat beach barbecues are included in most tours. After you’ve tasted seafood cooked minutes after it’s been pulled from the water you will be hooked for life.
Monkey River Tour. This tour starts off with a boat ride to the mouth of a jungle river. The mangrove you will see are home to iguanas and numerous birds while their roots shelter turtles, fish and juvenile marine life. When the boat stops at the bank you will take a nature trail to search for Howler Monkeys, which is how the nearby Monkey River Village got its name.
Placencia Inland Excursions – Wild Cats, Exotic Birds, And Fantastic Flora
At Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary – a short drive from Placencia – all five of the wild Belizean cats, jaguar, jaguarundi, margay, ocelot, and puma, prowl the 128,000-acre jungle preserve. Human interlopers can feel the cats watching, even when they cannot see them. Canoe the preserve or hike its trails, some leading to waterfalls. The village of Maya Centre, on the Southern Highway, marks the entrance. Admission is US$5. To the west, Victoria Peak towers over the park.
Nearly 300 avian species invite bird watchers to flock to the Cockscomb preserve. Birders also enjoy Red Bank, in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. Scarlet macaws roost in the area from late December to March, flying in formations of up to 40 birds.
Near Monkey River Town — a Creole fishing village on the mainland 12 miles south of Placencia — rare birds, black howler monkeys, and prehistoric iguanas present fabulous photo opportunities during boat trips. Covered in a lush canopy, the river shore provides great habitat for the animals. To stay awhile, seek accommodations at the new beach front inns now established there. Licensed tour operations can take you to areas such as Monkey River, Cockscomb Basin, manatee watching, and cave tubing.
While the reef does not complete enclose the entire length of the peninsula and it can sometimes get a little rough with the tides, sea kayaking is popular off Placencia. Kayaks are easy to rent and the cautious can happily paddle close to the coast. The more experienced and adventurous can try island hoping, paddling to and from the adjoining cayes and even camp overnight.
Go To Honduras or Guatemala
From the docks at Placencia, boats take visitors across the lagoon or across the Gulf of Honduras. Each weekend, the Gulf Cruza sails to Puerto Cortes, Honduras. It leaves Friday morning, arrives about four hours later, and returns Monday afternoon. Tickets are US$50 each way and available at the tourism center. From Independence you can also board the daily water taxi to Puerto Barrios Guatemala for a whole new cultural and travel experience.
Just across the Placencia lagoon, the Creole village of Independence sits at the center of citrus, banana, and mango plantations. On the lagoon, behind the gas station, the ferry leaves several times a day, starting at 6:45 a.m. At the Placencia Peninsula Arts Festival, each Valentine’s Day weekend, more than 50 artists show their paintings, sculptures, glass, furniture, embroidery, music, and dancing, starting at the Point and running up narrow Main Street.
Get Some Exercise
Rent a bike for exercise, exploring back streets, or transportation. Rentals run US$7.50 for a half day or $12.50 for a full day. Some resorts offer free bicycles, kayaks, and sailboats. A taxi from the airstrip to the village is US$5 for one or two people. Check at the tourism center for details on travel schedules, tours, and hotels; email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com; or call 501-523-4045. The center also sells maps and guide books. You can also walk or bicycle to Maya Beach which is north of Placencia.
Placencia and Cruise Tourism
In 2014, government granted permission to Norwegian Cruise Lines to establish a terminal and theme park within the sensitive Harvest Caye area near Placencia. Court battles from conservationists and resorts in Placencia delayed the project but it came online in 2016. As of March 2017 the Harvest Caye Cruise Ship terminal is operational and while almost self contained, the facility brings a limited number of cruisers unto the mainland.