8 Exciting Things to Do in Placencia – Belize

  • Post author:
  • Post last modified:18/06/2024
Things to Do in Placenica in Belize. Yellow sand beach with coloured wooden sunbeds on the left and blue sea on the right. Palm trees in the background and blue sky above.
Things to Do in Placencia in Belize. Colourful chairs on a yellow sand beach on the right. Palm trees and blue sky in the background.

Located on the southeastern coast of Belize in the Stann Creek District is Placencia Peninsula, a 16-mile-long spit of land with the Caribbean Sea to the right and Placencia Lagoon to the left. This little slice of paradise boasts the most beautiful beaches in the country. On the southern tip of the peninsula is Placencia Village. Although small, the village has a big and colourful personality. It also has easy access to most things to do in Placencia and nearby.

Affiliate Link Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you use them to make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in our Affiliate Link Disclosure.

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!

Placencia is perfect for some rest and relaxation and you can spend 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 are 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 – Maybe With Whale Sharks

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. Just like we did in Puerto Morelos in Mexico, 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 Placencia.

Nearby 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 ages, and I was undecided whether to do it in Placencia or if swimming with whale sharks in Isla Mujeres, Mexico would be better. I went for the first option in Placencia.

Whale Shark in Placencia, Belize

The most popular agency for snorkelling and diving in Placencia is Splash Dive Centre, who kindly hosted us for our whale shark snorkel tour. We were really impressed with the agency despite some misjudgement on our part as to what the tour would involve…think 12 – 15 ft rolling waves!!!

But, of course, big fish need the deep blue sea – why hadn’t we thought of that? Despite feeling uneasy we gave it a go, only to both call it a day after about 7 minutes of flailing around in the waves!

Calling our snorkel off was no fault of Splash Dive Centre, it was down to our own naivety and 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 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, who also kindly hosted us. 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

Throughout the tour, you can expect to see all kinds of flora and fauna. We saw many different birds and insects, iguanas and a huge variety of plants, trees and flowers, some with medicinal properties. Especially entertaining was the inquisitive troop of howler monkeys that came within 10 feet to say hello during our hike. 

Manatee on the Monkey River Eco Tour in Placencia, Belize

After a tasty and filling local lunch in Monkey Village, the tour ends with manatee-watching near Harvest Caye. When I say ‘watching’ I mean ‘spotting’ as it’s very hard to spot manatees let alone watch them. We got lucky and saw a herd of five or six who kept surfacing to breathe. This was the tour highlight for me.

3. Mangrove or Sea Kayaking

Mangrove kayaking in Placencia, Belize

Many of the waterfront accommodations and watersport shops in town have kayak rentals available. You can either kayak the mangroves in Placencia Lagoon or in the sea around Placencia. The heavy mangroves provide a tranquil kayaking adventure in peaceful natural surroundings. You should see plenty of birds and fish and sometimes even manatees, dolphins and rays.

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

If you’ve the time and budget a fantastic day out from Placencia is caye hopping around cayes like Laughing Bird, Silk or Long Coco Caye.

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 sailboat.

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 art, music, folklore and food.

6. Fish in the Lagoon or at Sea

Sea Fishing near Placencia Belize. Fishing rod on a boat.

The waters of Placencia Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea around Placencia are some of the best places in Belize for fishing. As a result, fishing is a booming business in town. Many fishing enthusiasts come to Placencia in the hope of hooking a tarpon, permit, bonefish or snook.

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 hiking, especially jungle hiking, a tour to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary should be on your itinerary. It’s home to the world’s first jaguar reserve and focuses on protecting and growing the jaguar population and other species.


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

If you time your visit to Placencia right you may be lucky enough to experience a local festival. We were fortunate to be there for the three-day Lobsterfest. This is a countrywide festival held on different weekends, also in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and in Belize City.

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.

Lobsters on the grill at Placencia Lobster Festival in Belize.

There was live music, arts and crafts, games and competitions and, of course, lots and lots of delicious lobster, cooked every which way. 

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 on the beautiful lagoon at Sunset Pointe, it also has a pool with a swim-up bar, perfect for relaxing and chatting with 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 Vrbos

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

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

Planning Your Trip to Placencia?

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

TRAVEL INSURANCE IS AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION! World Nomads offers cover for travellers in over 100 countries and True Traveller is a great option if you’re from the UK or EU.

SafetyWing is another solution, particularly for digital nomads and long-term travellers.

● Use Wise (formerly Transferwise) for sending or receiving money internationally. It’s cheap, easy and transparent.

● Find amazing flight deals on Skyscanner and Kayak.

● Compare rental car prices on Rentalcars.com.

Book other ground transportation with 12Go and  Bookaway.

● Compare charter yacht hire prices on Click&Boat.

● Booking.com usually have the best hotel prices.

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

● Discover fantastic trips and activities with Viator and GetYourGuide.

● Check out Bookmundi, G Adventures, and  Intrepid Travel for group holidays and tours.

Read More Belize 

12 Unique Belize Jungle Adventures

10 Great Things to Do on Caye Caulker

7 Fun Things to Do in San Pedro

Enjoy this post? Pin it for later!

8 Exciting Things to Do in Placencia Belize Pin1
8 Exciting Things to Do in Placencia Belize Pin2
8 Exciting Things to Do in Placencia Belize Pin3

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

Tanya Korteling

Tanya is the founder and head content creator for Can Travel Will Travel. She combines freelance SEO, CRO, Data and Marketing consultancy with exploring the world. Passionate about adventure, nature, wildlife and food, she incorporates these in her travels as much as possible. She also loves immersing herself in new cultures. She's visited hundreds of destinations in 50+ countries and lived in 4 countries. Tanya worked as a Data Planning Manager and Digital Marketing Strategist before leaving the UK in 2016 with her husband Andy, to travel, live and work abroad indefinitely. Together they share their experiences and useful information to inspire and encourage others to do the same.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  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.

    1. TanyaKorteling

      Yes definitely, and diving will be much better suited to it than snorkelling!

Leave a Reply