Top 9 things to do in Placencia, Belize

Top 9 things to do in Placencia, Belize

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How to explore this beautiful, laid-back town, plus everything you need to plan your trip here.

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What was once a quaint, sleepy fishing village Placencia, Belize is now home to the country’s most beloved resorts and hotels. Yet it still effortlessly maintains it’s small-town & colorful charm.

Read on the learn about all there is to do in Placencia, Belize!

Included in this post:

  • Where to stay in Placencia
  • How to get to Placencia
  • Costs of Placencia
  • Top 9 things to do in Placencia

Tell me about Placencia, Belize

Placencia, Belize is a small town that is alive with color and personality. Residing on the southern peninsula of Belize, Placencia is a place that feels like an island. 

With plenty of places to eat, long stretches of beaches, snorkel adventures to go on and cocktails to enjoy on the beach, you can’t go to Belize and not visit Placencia.  If planning a trip here, prepare yourself for a no-shoes, laid back vacation.

And best part is, there is no ‘best time to visit Placencia. It’s beautiful all year round!

Where to stay in Placencia, Belize

As I mentioned before, Placencia is home to some of Belize’s most popular hotels and resorts. Yet don’t be alarmed, there are no major hotel chains with extensively large buildings blocking your beach views or cutting away at your bare-footed getaway. Most of the resorts only house a few 20+ guests at any one time.

We stayed at the Laru Beya Resort & absolutely loved our oceanfront unit. You can’t beat a place where your door opens up to the ocean for sunrise.

Booking.com

Costs for visiting Placencia, Belize

Lodging Costs: there are quite a few lodging type options for this small town ranging from hostels to resorts. Hostel prices range from  $13-50 USD, AirBnb’s come in at $25-55 USD, and resorts costing anywhere from $200-$800+ USD per night.

Meals/Food Costs: Belize is much cheaper in comparison to the United States when it comes to costs your meals. A sit-down restaurant in Placencia will cost around $20 USD, with cheaper places ranging from $5-7 USD. Of course, the bars and restaurants lining the beaches are a bit pricer ranging from $20-$40 USD. There are a few grocery stores in town, but in comparison to other parts of Belize, Placencia groceries are more expensive but still cheap in comparison to America, coming in around $40 for a week’s worth of meals.

Excurions: It’s hard to put a firm price on the cost of excursions as each tour company is different and their prices vary depending on the season and type of excursion you book. However, be prepared to dish $200/person daylong excursions. Which may sound like a lot, however you’ll be out all day with some of the most informed and fun-loving guides you could hope for on a vacation.

How to get Around Placencia, Belize

Placencia is a small enough place with an all flat terrain, that getting around is quite easy and affordable. You can walk almost anywhere within the main town, but if your hotel is a bit outside of town, as was our – Laru Beya Resort – you can do the following to get around Placencia:

Bike: many hotels offer their guests free bike rentals, but if not you can find them as cheap as $10 USD/day.

Rent a golf cart: As with bikes, most hotels & resorts in Placencia will have golf carts that you can rent at a daily rate. Each hotel ranges in price for their rentals. Keep in mind that their golf carts will go slow. They respect the speed limit and so have restricted their golf carts to not exceed a certain speed limit. If you’re able to bike you may likely get to where you’re going quicker on a bike than a golf cart.

Hire a taxi: the taxi’s in Placencia aren’t expensive, with the more expensive rides costing up to $15-20 USD.

Discover the tools I use to travel without overpaying: Read more here

With so much to explore, here are the

Top 9 things you need to see & do in Placencia, Belize

Getting to Placencia, Belize

We drove from our hotel located in the jungle and felt the winding road to here was an easier version of the Road to Hana and a great way to witness how Belizeans live.  You’ll drive past colorful square houses, see kids riding their bikes back from school and lots of fruit stands on the side of the road.

You can also fly directly into Placencia.  There are two airlines that fly in/out of here, and only use jumper planes.  Both airlines had great reviews and seemed very similar by comparison. *We flew from Placencia back to the Belize City airport at the end of our trip and loved the ocean views we had.  It was a wonderfully fun experience being on a small plane too.

Placencia, Belize is not meant to be a destination overflowing with ‘things to do’.  The lifestyle is soothing and meant for relaxing. Here are things that I feel any visitor should add to their itinerary:

Enjoy coffee & breakfast at the Above Ground Coffeehouse

       What I wouldn’t do to enjoy another iced coffee and freshly made jam on toast in this treehouse bungalow. The Above Ground Coffeehouse that may just be the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had.  They also offer light breakfast fare. We purchased homemade jams with toast each morning and loved each flavor we tried. Above Ground Coffeehouse is located just outside of the main part of Placencia town.

Be adventurous on the calm waters

        Stand up paddleboarding, kayaks and snorkeling are all fun water activities you can partake in. Most hotels and Airbnb’s have these items for water activities for free!  The ocean waters in Placencia are very calm so taking a kayak out is quite easy.

Enjoy Happy Hour at Tipsy Tuna

        This eclectic restaurant and bar is typically filled with local expats and long term visitors.  While we typically like to enjoy authentic restaurants of the places we visited, we stopped in due to a recommendation.  We loved this place because everyone there was welcoming and had wonderful conversations with so many people.

Wander around the main part of town

        There are so many colorful shops in Placencia, that window shopping can be great fun.

Treat yourself to Tutti Frutti Gelato

        This Belizean gem creates delicious gelato (surprising because gelato is a traditional Italian dessert so finding it so far from Italy that tastes so great is a wonderful treat!)  Tutti Frutti’s flavors are made fresh each day and a must have when in Placencia.

Experience Mayan history via cave tours

        Check out my blog post about caving tour options that Belize offers.  If your trip to Belize involves only Placencia than you won’t want to miss the opportunity to explore ancient caves.  There are plenty of tours that can pick up guests in Placencia town to experience the jungle.

Snorkel the Silk Cayes

        Belize has quite a few marine preserves to help protect the wildlife and reef, and Silk Cayes is a must-visit location.  The boat ride to get here is about an hour from Placencia.

The preserve consists of three islands, although you will snorkel only one of them.  The main island has a simple grill and restroom for tour groups coming here, but rest assured Belizeans have made sure to maintain this place’s natural beauty and do an incredible job bringing reusable tableware and cleaning up any garbage.

        Being at Silk Cayes feels like you’ve discovered an uncharted island in the middle of the ocean.  The water is calm and pristinely clear. Once under the water, you’ll see lavender-colored reefs, princess parrotfish (these remind me of the Rainbow Fish children’s book), manta rays and if you’re lucky a turtle!

Treat yourself to a nice dinner at Rumfish

        Placencia is a traditional fishing village, so like most of Belize, their fresh seafood in Placencia is some of the best you can find anywhere. Rumfish gives off some serious New Orlean vibes, and serves traditional Belizean dishes, along with the best fish tacos in the area (or so I’ve heard) They also have delicious vegetarian options, which we rarely found throughout our time in Belize. And since centrally located in Placencia town you can easily walk around after your meal.

Meander down Main Street

        Main street is a pedestrian-only walkway that is 4,000-feet long and is lined with art murals and beaches

 Once a sleepy fishing village, Placencia is now a colorful vacation spot for Belize with some of its most beautiful beaches.  Be sure to schedule a few days here to truly enjoy its easy-going vibe and maritime beauty.

TIPS for visiting Placencia, Belize:

  • There are a range of hotels and Airbnb’s to fit any budget, but be aware that town is towards the edge of the peninsula.  If your hotel is farther north it can take upwards of 40 minutes to get to town because the speed limit is fairly slow.
  • You can rent a golf cart or order a taxi to get around if you aren’t staying directly in town

Don't Forget to Pack:

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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If you’re planning a trip to Belize, check out my other blog posts on the most beautiful places to visit & the best things to do in Belize

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Snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

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Including Shark Ray Alley!

  Some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving destinations are located within Belizean waters. I personally have only snorkeled a handful of times prior to arriving at San Pedro, Belize.  And I’m convinced that the Hol Chan Marine Reserve will be one of my favorite and best places to snorkel. Ever. If you are visiting San Pedro or Caye Caulker snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley is a must.

Read More: If you’re staying in San Pedro, check out the TOP Things to do on the island

Snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

off the coast of San Pedro Island in Belize

What it is, what to expect and how to best be prepared

        When you arrive at San Pedro you’ll want to book your snorkeling tour for Hol Chan Marine Reserve. You can do this by going to the docks where the diving companies are located. There are docks all along the eastern coastline of the island and are quite easy to spot.

        We chose to book a company called Amigos Del Mar – both Marcus & I  vibed well with the people there and they provided great insight into the experience prior to us booking anything.  The cost was only $50 per person for a three-hour excursion! It also includes the cost to enter the marine reserve.

       Hol Chan means ‘little channel’ in Mayan and the name is fitting as the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is a Quebrada off the coast (Quebrada is a cut through a reef).  It’s located about four miles southeast from San Pedro town, relatively close to the Ambergis Caye island. You can only access the reserve with an excursion tour group. But don’t fret, many are small groups. Our groups only had eight people in attendance.

        There are four sections to the reserve and most tours go through three of them- the reef and seagrass beds, and then Shark Ray alley.  Not sure if the time of year affected this but there weren’t many other boats out snorkeling or scuba diving when we went (March), so you can enjoy at your own pace without feeling overcrowded.

        Your second stop will be at Shark Ray Alley.  Here is where you will snorkel with massive stingrays and nurse sharks.  Don’t be alarmed, neither will hurt you if you keep your distance and respect their home.  You will notice that as soon as you enter this area nurse sharks and rays will surround your boat in anticipation of being fed.  This is due to tour groups bringing food to coax them in for snorkeling.

        Amigos Del Mar leads the way with an eco-conscious mindset as their guides will NOT provide food for the nurse sharks. The benefits of not feeding the nurse sharks ensures that they still rely on their hunting instincts, as opposed to relying on humans to feed them in exchange for interactions. 

*This is sort of a catch 22 situation- you want to snorkel with these beauties but there is a need for them to maintain their independence, as this is NOT an aquarium.

Sealife critters we saw in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve:

  • Manta Rays
  • Leopard Manta
  • Loggerhead Turtles
  • Nurse Sharks
  • Black & yellow Angel Fish
  • Barracudas
  • Green Moray eel (it was huge!)
  • Schools of fish
  • Neon & black tiny fishies (clearly I don’t know their proper name)
  • Conch shells
  • Grouper Fish (or what our guide called Belize piranhas!)
  • Christmas tree worms: they are pink/purple and white and shrivel up when you snap your fingers near them.  They reminded me of the plants in the movie Avatar.

        Our guide from Amigos Del Mar was kind enough to provide us with one more stopping point along our ride back to San Pedro. A place he called the ‘Conch Farm’.  Conch is a sought after delicacy along these Belizean shores and the fishermen who catch conch leaves the shell behind in what I would consider a conch graveyard.  Albeit it was slightly sad to see a mini shell graveyard, what was great to see were loggerhead turtles swimming about as they feed off of the tossed bits of conch the fishermen throw out.

        Whether you are an ocean fiend or a timid swimmer, snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Research and Shark Ray Alley is an easy, relaxing and beautiful adventure to be had.  It’s also a wonderful way to support the conservation of the ocean waters surrounding Belize. The people of Belize fought to conserve this area and only in 1987 did it become an official reserve.  What was once a depleted, overfished area is now teeming with a flourishing sea life population that visitors can happily enjoy.

Don’t forget to pack these for your snorkelling at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve:

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Top TIPS for snorkeling at San Pedro, Belize:

  • Go during a morning tour session; more sea creatures are likely to be out in the morning than the afternoon
  • If you’re prone to sunburn (like me) lather sunscreen each time you get out of the water, or wear a rash guard.  Your constant state of being in the water AND exposed to direct sunlight will guarantee you a sun burnt back

Interested in visiting Belize?  Check out my other blog posts that include TONS of tips and the best places to visit

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The Perfect Weekend Getaway in Maui

The Perfect Weekend Getaway in Maui

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What to see & do in Maui in three days

    What started as an impulsive decision to purchase flight tickets to Maui turned into an endearing love with the island and culture of Hawaii as a whole.  Laid back vibes, wholesome people, humble living, amazing food and incredible landscapes are all a part of what you’ll experience here.  Living on the west coast allows for an easy opportunity to travel to Hawaii for a weekend getaway; it is similar in flight time back to the east coast (fly back towards unpredictable weather OR fly to island heaven?  In my opinion, the choice will almost always be the islands!).

     Travelers could spend much more time than a long weekend in Maui, however if you are prepared for a quick retreat to the island here are the

Top things to see & do in Maui in a weekend

Snorkel with the ‘fishies’

        Experience snorkeling areas on a weekend getaway in Maui without having to jump on a boat and drive out to sea.  Rent equipment locally and swim with coronet fish, yellow tang and various pufferfish (among many other species!).  Here are some of the top snorkeling beaches in Maui:

  • Ka’anapali Beach, West Maui: go to the north end near Black Rock
  • Honolua Bay, West Maui: called the ‘crown jewel’ of Maui
  • Wailea, South Maui: we loved Ulua Beach for snorkeling
  • Makena Landing, South Maui: not for beginners as the area is rocky but great wildlife

Treat yourself to a fancy dinner and great food

       There are many restaurant options in Maui, so allow yourself to be picky when it comes to eating out.  Most places source their ingredients locally (which may also have to do with the fact that importing can be very expensive) and many support a sustainable farming lifestyle.

  • Lahaina neighborhood has many choices, with Kimos Restaurant having a delicious vegetarian plate and a wonderful ocean view
  • Paia Fish Market: there are multiple locations on the island, and are known for fast service (order at the counter, hunt down a seat at a shared table and listen for your number to be called).  Their menu changes depending on what fisherman catch that day, so fresh is an expectation here.
  • Enjoy vegan coconut ice cream from a handmade hut on the Road to Hana at Coconut Glens.  Trust me when I suggest trying the lilikoi (passionfruit) flavor.
  • Mama’s Fish House: this is the nicest restaurant on the island.    Deliciously crafted cocktails, excellent service and the most enjoyable, fresh food.  Eating here will have you quoting ‘treat yo’ self’ from the show Parks and Rec.  *Make a reservation before you arrive to Maui.
  • Other foods to make sure to enjoy:

-Maui golden pineapples: they are much less acidic so better for your mouth and stomach

-Banana Bread baked by the Four Sisters (although really any fresh baked bread on the island is delicious)

The Road to Hana

        The Road to Hana requires an entire day, if not two days.  Check out my guide to The Road to Hana here.

Visit Haleakala State Park

        Towards the end of the Road to Hana, Haleakala State Park has two stunning outdoor locations that are a must do:

  • O’heo Gulch Pools (Seven Sacred Pools)
  • Kipahulu Waterfall Hike

*both of these are discussed in my Road to Hana Guide

Enjoy a relaxing morning or afternoon on a calm beach

        Adventurous exploring is always great, but Hawaii is most well thought of as a beach getaway, so be sure to plan at least half a day lounging with your toes in the water and booty in the sand.  Don’t forget to bring your reef-safe sunscreen (a review of different reef-safe sunscreen brands is in the works!) and your beach friendly supplies to ensure a blissful few hours under the sun.  Here are Maui beaches that were recommended to us by both locals and prior visitors:

 

  • Na’apili Beach: street parking is fairly easy to find here
  • Maluaka, South Maui
  • Big Beach, South Maui
  • Makena area, South Maui
  • Kihei area, South Maui: you can see beaches from the road, so stop where you want (also a great area for surf lessons)
  • Ka’anapali, West Maui: Maui’s most popular & well-known beach

Explore Paia Town

 Many call Paia a hippie town, whereas I consider it a historic neighborhood with a casual vibe and colorful buildings.  Take a half a day here and be sure to load up on vegetarian and vegan lunch options from the Mana Grocery Store in town.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Top TIPS for visiting Maui:

  • Getting from beach to beach isn’t as easy as driving down the road and parking.  Many beaches are on resort properties, so you have to find parking elsewhere and walk.  Make sure to incorporate that into your schedule
  • It is now required to book reservations to watch the sunrise at the Haleakalā crater.  These book fast, so plan ahead!
  • Rent a car if you’re not planning on staying at a resort
  • Mana Grocery store in Paia was a perfect place to purchase local goods to bring home; hot sauces, coffee, etc.

Things I want to do on our next visit to Maui:

  • Snorkel and/or scuba dive at Molokini Crater
  • Camp overnite at Wa’ainapanapa State Park
  • Go to the Ali’I Lavender Farm
  • Catch sunrise at the top of Haleakalā crater

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