So you’re planning a trip to Placencia?! Congratulations, you’ve made a fantastic decision!! In Placencia you will find an untouched paradise with fabulous local fare and gorgeous waters. If you’re looking for a low-key destination to unwind and relax, you’ve chosen the right place. Here are a few other things you should know before you go!
Things to Know
- Belize is an English speaking country though many locals speak Mayan, Creole, and Spanish.
- Belikin is the main beer served in all areas. They do not import beers like Bud Light, Michelob, Dos XX, Corona, etc. But you may find Landshark, Red Stripe, or Lighthouse at some bars and restaurants. Beers are served with a napkin in the top for you to wipe off the rim of the recycled bottle.
- US dollars are accepted everywhere, but you will be given change in BZ dollars. Prices are listed in BZ and the conversion ratio is 2 Belizean dollars = $1 USD.
- Placencia is a 19 mile peninsula located between a lagoon and the gulf of Mexico. The lagoon’s habitants include saltwater crocodiles, dolphins, and manatees. So basically, don’t swim in the lagoon.
- The airport is the best place to buy your duty free items. There are a few stores in the area where you will pick up your checked bags. The last store at the end will give you the best prices and you can even haggle a little to get 15% off.
- Pack bug spray!
Getting to Placencia
Traveling to Placencia feels like its own excursion in itself. From a type-A American’s perception, I call this day “organized chaos”. Once you arrive in BZE, there will likely be lines overlapping one another and you are given paper tickets with handwritten information as your “boarding pass” for your flight to Placencia. When you go through customs someone will “offer” to take your bags from customs to the ticket counter, but they charge $2 per bag without telling you.
You’ll board your tiny plane, fly over the beautiful ocean for about 30 minutes and land on a short runway in Placencia! Make sure you have pickup arranged because there will not be taxis waiting at the airport like most places. You can also drive to Placencia from BZE, but it is not recommended since the roads are full of speed bumps and construction.
Navigating Around Placencia
Grab a golf cart from Captain Jak’s and you can zip around town or head up to Maya beach in less than 20 minutes. Placencia village is extremely walkable and no need for a car.
There are three routes you can take through Placencia village.
- The street, where most businesses are located.
- The famous sidewalk located halfway between the beach and the street. This sidewalk is 4,000 feet long and holds the Guinness World Record for “the longest Main Street in the world”. Here you will find locals selling handmade goods and a few shops and restaurants along the way.
- Lastly, you can navigate by beach, where the first 60 feet off the water is considered public property. Anything within this area is fair game for walking, playing, or lounging. One thing to note about the beaches in Placencia is that, since the coast line is full of coves, there is not a long stretch of beachfront that extends on for miles like in Mexico. You can be walking along the beach and it will just end by trees or debris.
Unlike a lot of beach destinations, Placencia is not boasting with resort after resort along it’s coastal waters. You can find quaint rentals on Airbnb or homes for rent through Primus Villas for a local vibe. Recommended resorts in the area are Naia Spa & Resort, Turtle Inn, Belize Ocean Club, and Caribbean Beach Cabanas.
Food & Drink
Food can make or break a destination in my eyes and the local scene here is thriving and incredibly affordable. The traditional meal of Belize is roasted chicken, beans & rice, potato salad, and plantains. You absolutely have to experience this at least once. It is offered on the menu at most places and is delicious.
You can start drinking at any time of day by grabbing a boozy beverage from Barefoot Bar, Pickled Parrot, or Tipsy Tuna on the beach. If you’re in need of a little hydration, grab a fresh $2 coconut from Cool Coconuts at the Pier.
For lunch, skip the restaurant scene and visit this little no-name green hut (pictured below) on the main road when you get into town. Here you will find fresh tortillas and fantastic burritos for a few bucks a person. There are many walk up huts in the area and highly recommended by locals.
For dinner, visit one of the buzzing spots in town like Rumfish Y Vino, Chachi’s Pizza, or head up to Robert’s Grove and eat at Habaneros. If you’re staying at a Primus Villas property, get the full service package and request Rick as your chef. You’ll thank me later! On Thursdays, you can find locals playing trivia at Pickled Parrot or singing karaoke at Tipsy Tuna.
Things to Do in Placencia
Though Placencia is located a few hours from the mountains, you have the ocean and all its treasure at your fingertips. Looking out from the coast of the mainland there are tons of islands in view called “Cayes”. (pronounced “keys”). The most popular caye for a day trip from Placencia is Laughing Bird Caye, but you can visit any of them by boat.
Explore the Gorgeous Waters
Belize is home to some of the best snorkeling in the entire world with the 2nd largest barrier reef. If you can swing it, book a catamaran for the day with Daytripper where you can both sail and snorkel these gorgeous waters. This was our favorite part of the trip!
Striped BECCA swimsuit
Relax at the Spa
Even though the entire area makes you feel at ease, a spa treatment from Naia Spa will set you into absolute relaxation. You can spend the day at the pool & resort restaurant after your services as well.
Explore the Land
Most popular land excursions are located in different regions of Belize. If you are up for the drive, visit the Mayan Ruins, Cave Tubing, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, or the Monkey River. We do not recommend staying or visiting Belize City though. We stayed one night there and did not enjoy it or feel very safe.
Enjoy Every Minute!
Just relax, eat, breathe and repeat. Placencia is not a luxe destination, but it is authentic and a true Belizean vacation. No one seems to get in a hurry, the wifi is mediocre, and that’s a great escape from reality in itself. I have no doubt you will have a fantastic trip. If you have any specific questions about our trip, please feel free to leave a comment below.