8 Exciting Things to Do in Placencia | Belize

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Things to Do in Placencia, beach and colourful chairs

Things to Do in Placencia

On our latest visit to Belize we spent a week in Placencia exploring what it has to offer. On a previous trip we’d spent a week on Caye Caulker which we loved, so we were hopeful we’d enjoy Placencia just as much. I’m happy to say we weren’t disappointed! It’s perfect for some rest and relaxation and you can and you can while away hours doing not a lot. Wander up and down the colourful main street and boardwalk, practice yoga, chill on the beach or in a hammock, watch sunrises and sunsets, and sample food and drinks. Despite the laidback vibe there’s still plenty of less sedate things to do should you feel the need for more activity. Here are eight exciting things to do in Placencia.

1. Snorkel or Dive [With Whale Sharks]

Splash Dive Centre provided us with a complimentary Whale Shark Snorkel Tour which I’ve reviewed below. Read more in our full Product Review Disclosure.

Splash Dive Boat with oxygen tanks in Placencia

As with most beach destinations in Belize, two main activities in Placencia are to go snorkelling or diving. You can snorkel or dive off the main Mesoamerican Barrier Reef; about 20 miles out from Placencia. Alternatively, there are great snorkelling and diving spots around the cayes and atolls near PlacenciaNearby Gladden Spit is also one of the best places in the world to snorkel or dive with whale sharks in the right season. This was something that had been on my bucket list for quite some time.
Whale Shark Placencia
Calling our snorkel off was no fault of Splash Dive Centre, it was down to our own naievety and for not thinking it through properly. Our excellent guide saved the day with a plan B to take us on a great reef snorkel instead. So, despite our whale shark snorkel ‘misadventure’, we highly recommend Splash Dive Centre. Their boat, equipment, onboard lunch and safety first approach were all fantastic.
IMPORTANT: Whale Shark Tours are only available during whale shark season March to June. If you’re not a confident snorkeller like us I’d give it a miss and go for a reef snorkel tour instead.  On the other hand, if you have your PADI diving certification I would 100% take a whale shark dive tour a go…hopefully you’ll get lucky and spot one. 

2. Monkey River and Manatee Watch 

Monkey River Eco Tours provided us with a complimentary Monkey River Tour which I’ve reviewed below. Read more in our full Product Review Disclosure.

Monkey River Village and boats in Placencia


Another exciting tour you can take from Placencia is the Monkey River and Manatee Watch Tour with Monkey River Eco Tours. Spotting manatees has also been on my bucket list for a while so I was very keen to do this.

The tour is by boat with a local Monkey Village guide. First the boat takes you out through mangrove lined channels of the Stann Creek and Toledo districts into the Caribbean Sea. You then enter the mouth of Monkey River to arrive at Monkey River Village, a small fishing village in the Toledo district.
There’s a brief stop at the village where you place your lunch order at a local restaurant. The tour then continues downriver and through mangroves for about 30 minutes before stopping for a short gentle hike into the jungle.
Monkeys on Monkey River Eco Tour in Placencia
Manatee on the Monkey River Eco Tour in Placencia, Belize

3. Mangrove or Sea Kayaking

Mangrove kayaking in Placencia, Belize
Another fun option is sea kayaking in the clear Caribbean waters. There’s not much in the way of tide action so it shouldn’t prove too strenuous. If you’re feeling more adventurous you could kayak around some of the cayes and maybe even camp overnight.

4. Caye Hop by Boat, Kayak or Catamaran

Caye Hopping from Placencia, Belize
You could do this on a group speed-boat trip, independently by kayak as mentioned above, or splurge and take a private charter catamaran or sail boat.
There should be no problem arranging any of these from where you’re staying or from one of the tour agencies in town.

5. Explore the Peninsula by Bicycle

Feeling energetic and want to see more of Placencia Peninsula than where your feet will take you? Then why not rent a bicycle to explore the peninsula. There are several places in town where you can rent bicycles, one of which, ‘Placencia E-bikes’ also rents out e-bikes. If the Belizean sun is too much for you to exert yourself in, another option is to rent a scooter or golf cart.
One of the places you could cycle to is the Garifuna village of Seine Bight in the north of the peninsula. Learn about the Garifuna lifestyle through their art, music, folklore and food.

6. Fish in the Lagoon or at Sea

Sea Fishing near Placencia Belize. Fishing rod on a boat.
If you have your own fishing gear you can fish by yourself in the lagoon. Andy and some other men staying at the same place as us had a go and caught black snappers and jacks.
Unless you have your own boat, to go deep sea fishing you’ll need to book yourself on a fishing tour or private charter. It’s possible to try out different types of fishing including drop fishing, fly-fishing and trolling. If you do this be sure to choose a reputable company or boat, as there are strict regulations on where you can fish and what you can catch in which season.

7. Hike Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

If you’re into your hiking, especially jungle hiking, a tour to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary should be on your itinerary. It’s home to the worlds first jaguar reserve and focusses on protecting and growing the jaguar population and other spieces.
The sanctuary has several hiking trails of varying difficulty you can attempt. There’s  also a river you can tube down, with a small waterfall and pool to cool off in. I badly wanted to do this tour but unfortunately didn’t have the time. 
Cockscomb is about two hours away, but it still sounds like an excellent tour you can do from Placencia.

8. Experience a Local Festival

Placencia Lobster Festival in Belize

Placencia locals insist ‘their’ Lobsterfest is the best. Without having experience of the others, I’d have to say the other towns have a long way to go to beat it. We experienced a fun, safe gathering for locals and visitors alike.
8 Exciting Things to Do in Placencia | Belize 1
Other annual festivals in Placencia include the Sidewalk Arts Festival, Independence Day and Carnival. The latter two festivals are celebrated all over Belize.

Placencia Hotels

Placencia has a good selection of hotels, hostels and guesthouses on offer. We treated ourselves to a stay at Sailfish Resort for a week for Andy’s birthday. It was a bit outside our normal budget, but well worth it. Set right on the beautiful lagoon at Sunset Pointe, it also has a pool with swim up bar, perfect for relaxing in and chatting to other guests. We liked that it has a selection of rooms ranging from dorms to suites like the one we stayed in, making it accessible for all budgets. 
Lydia’s Guesthouse is a good budget option and a more high-end option  is the eco-friendly Turtle Inn.
There’s also a whole range of other accommodation to suit all budgets and styles, including some very nice Airbnbs

Placencia has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach break or something more adventurous you’ll find it in Placencia.

Belize Travel Resources

Planning your trip to Belize? Here are some of our recommended useful resources to help you have the best time possible:

DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE. If you’re travelling long-term like us and from the EU True Traveller is best. If you’re from other countries worldwide, World Nomads is good. 

A new contender for long-term travel insurance is SafetyWing, which you can pay for on a month by month basis. This is also a good option for shorter trips.

● Find great flight deals on Skyscanner US, Skyscanner UK and Kayak.

● Booking.com or HotelsCombined have the best hotel prices.

● Our go-to for self-catering accommodation is Vrbo.

● Before booking accommodation, check reviews on TripAdvisor.

● Even in the days of Google we still like to use guidebooks for ideas.

● Discover fantastic trips and activities with Viator and GetYourGuide.

● G Adventures and Intrepid Travel offer group holidays and tours, or compare many tour agencies with TourRadar.


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Have you been to Placencia in Belize? 
What was your favourite thing you did whilst there?

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Product Review Disclosure: Splash Dive provided us with a complimentary whale shark tour and Monkey River Eco Tours provided me with a complimentary Monkey River and Manatee Watch tour. This did not influence my post in any way and as always I’ve provided balanced and honest reviews. Read more in our full Product Review Disclosure

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2 thoughts on “8 Exciting Things to Do in Placencia | Belize

  1. Julie

    Diving with the whale sharks looks so cool and it’s been on our bucket list for awhile now! Looks like Belize is a good place to check it off.

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