Skip to content
Things to do in Placencia, Belize

Top Seven Things to Do in Placencia, Belize: Your Local’s Guide

Gary Peterson talks about the best things to do in Placencia, Belize and why you should visit this Caribbean beach community he now calls home. This article contains a link (or links) to Amazon, from which, as an Amazon Associate, this website will earn a small commission if you make any purchases. Some other links are also affiliate links, where we’ll make a small commission if you purchase anything after clicking, at no extra cost to you.

Ask any local what they love most about Placencia, Belize, and most will wax lyrical about its charm, its friendliness, and community feel. I can confidently say Placencia is one of the friendliest places I know. Oh, and Placencia also has some of the best white-sand beaches in Central America.

On the flip side, ask them what they dislike most about Placencia, and the road conditions and lack of parking will come up straight away. This is the major gripe of visitors to Placencia, too.

Perhaps, yes, having paved roads and parking lots would make life better for driving, but they would also remove the charm and the small village vibe.

So life in Placencia includes living with potholes and flooded streets. Is that a bad thing? I say no, not at all. The slow pace of life should relate to driving just as much as walking and the general attitude as a whole.

It was the Mayans who originally lived on the Placencia Peninsula. They used the area to make salt and as a stopping point on their coastal trade routes. Then the Spanish found it in the 17th century and realized how nice it was. Nice enough to call the area “Placencia” or “pleasant place”.

After centuries in tranquil obscurity as a fishing village, travelers rediscovered Placencia

When tourists discover most tropical seaside villages, the next step is usually the developers arrive.

In Placencia Village, this isn’t (yet) the case, at least on a large scale. Sure, there are smaller hotels, luxury resorts, and a scattering of condos, but nothing major. Although the popularity of Placencia has prompted some larger home and condo developments, these are outside of the village itself.

Once you park up and walk around, you’ll see how friendly Placencia is. Villagers will greet you with warm smiles. You’ll find a handful of shops with colorful woven hammocks hanging in front of them on the main drag and catch the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee coming from the local cafe. Mixed in with the smell of brewing coffee, you’ll also catch the mouthwatering whiff of barbecue chicken cooking on the black barrel charcoal grills so popular in Belize.

The well-designed village pier is at the southernmost tip of the Placencia Peninsula, with boat slips for the tour guides to pick up tourists

You can take half or full-day boat trips out to islands like Lark Caye. Fishing, snorkeling, diving, and paddle-boarding are all available. For the less energetic, sunning yourself and relaxing in your hammock with a rum cocktail is positively encouraged.

The pier is also where you meet the fishermen when they come in every afternoon.

You won’t find anything fresher than the lobster and fish these guys can sell you by the pound. At the Placencia pier, you’ll easily spend receive change for $20 for a pound of fresh-caught pound of lobster tail.

The pier also marks the start (or end) of the famous Placencia Sidewalk

The Placencia Sidewalk is allegedly the narrowest street in the world with a place in the Guinness World Records. I say “allegedly” because the Guinness World Records entry lists the narrowest street in the world as the Spreuerhofstraße in Reutlingen, Germany, fact fans.

But the Placencia Sidewalk is indeed very narrow! Back in the day, workers and merchants used the sidewalk to transport goods and supplies by wheelbarrow. Now it’s frequented by visitors checking out beach bars like the TipsyTuna and the Barefoot Beach Bar. Evenings come to life with live music, dancing, drinking, and merriment.

Every February, the Placencia Sidewalk hosts the Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival, two days filled with fun, sun, food, music, and amazing art. The festival is a great showpiece for the village.

Another showpiece for Placencia is the annual Lobsterfest, held each June to celebrate the opening of the lobster fishing season in Belize. The Lobsterfest is an annual fiesta of all things lobster, with plenty of music, beer, and rum.

Whatever the month, you’ll always find vacationers enjoying Placencia, Belize. Many return each year, and some, including myself, choose to stay indefinitely.

My favorite seven things to do in Placencia, Belize

  • Explore the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary: The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is the world’s first jaguar preserve. Hike through lush rainforests, discover cascading waterfalls, and keep an eye out for diverse wildlife. The sanctuary also offers thrilling opportunities for tubing, birdwatching, and swimming in cool natural pools.
  • Unwind on Placencia’s white-sand beaches: The tranquil shores of the Placencia Peninsula invite you to relax, soak up the sun, and cool off in crystal-clear Caribbean waters. Whether you prefer secluded spots or lively beachfront bars, Placencia’s beaches have something for everyone.
  • Get wet: Placencia serves as a gateway to some of the best dive sites on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. From the Silk Cayes to Gladden Spit and more, you’ll discover vibrant coral formations, swim alongside tropical fish and whale sharks, and marvel at the sheer diversity of marine life in these waters.
  • Visit Nim Li Punit: The Nim Li Punit Mayan archeological site features impressive stone monuments and intricately carved stelae. Explore ancient plazas and climb pyramids for panoramic views.
  • Cruise the Monkey River: Just a short boat ride from Placencia, the Monkey River offers an exotic wildlife safari. Cruise through lush mangroves and spot howler monkeys, manatees, crocodiles, and birds.
  • Eat fresh seafood: There’s an abundance of fresh seafood available in Placencia. Sample succulent lobster, flavorful fish, and other local delicacies at waterfront restaurants. Try traditional Belizean dishes such as fish stew, conch ceviche, and coconut shrimp.
  • Soak in the vibrant village atmosphere: Immerse yourself in the laid-back charm of Placencia Village. Stroll along the Placencia Sidewalk, lined with colorful shops, beach bars, and art galleries. Engage with friendly locals, savor delicious street food, and catch live music performances. Placencia’s village atmosphere adds a unique and welcoming touch to your overall experience.

Gary Peterson lives on the Placencia Peninsula, Belize, where he writes books about Central America and the Caribbean. Read more of Gary’s work on his blog.

Gary Peterson

Gary Peterson

Gary Peterson has traveled and written about many destinations worldwide. He’s written travel guides for Europe including Italy, France, and the Greek Islands. For the past few years, he’s traveled extensively throughout Central America, publishing two books on Belize. Gary lives on the Placencia Peninsula, Belize, where he continues writing about Central America and the Caribbean.