Known as “barefoot perfect”, the expansive Placencia is only half a mile wide but absolutely packed with things to do. Whether you’re more interested in the nature of Belize, the culture of the peninsula’s communities, or simply an opportunity to kick back and relax, there’s a whole lot of things to do. We’ve condensed that list down to the most beautiful ten. They represent a diverse variety of must-see sights that are perfect for your photo album or your Instagram feed.
1. Silk Cayes Marine Reserve
The three small islands that make up the Silk Cayes were once a popular fishing site, but it has since been transformed into a marine reserve due to the health of the waters and the rich diversity of the ecosystem. If you want a glimpse into the ecosystem of the Belize Barrier Reef, there’s no better place to visit.
2. Laughing Bird Caye
Laughing Bird Caye is also positioned on the reef and is a mere 30-minute boat ride from Placencia Village. Though the island itself is small, its shallow waters make it a great choice for snorkeling. The gulls that earned this island its name no longer roost here in great numbers, but eco-conscious efforts have caused them to slowly return.
3. Gladden Spit
Gladden Spit is a part of the same marine reserve as Silk Cayes, and that means there’s no excuse to not visit while you’re already there. The small promontory of Gladden Spit is a diverse ecosystem that’s home to 25 different species of reef fish, a phenomenon that also draws in large numbers of whale sharks from March to June. Even if you don’t have the chance to swim with them, it’s still a beautiful sight worth seeing.
4. Monkey River Village
The small settlement of Monkey River Village is home to only around 200 people, but it’s regarded as one of the last pure Creole settlements in the country. And while the locals are worth meeting, a tour of the Monkey River is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the terrestrial wildlife.
5. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Another ideal spot for communing with the natural world is Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. The 250 square miles that make up this sanctuary are reserved for the protection of jaguars. And while these great cats are rarely seen, there is plenty of beautiful wildlife for lucky and adventurous hikers.
6. Nim Li Punit
Nim Li Punit is one of the more modestly-sized Mayan ruins in Belize, but it offers a surprisingly intact perspective of what life was like during the height of the Maya Empire. There are even pillars that provide a full list of the former kings and royals of the city.
Lubaantun’s proximity to Nim Li Punit makes it easy to visit both archaeological sites on a single excursion, and the stunning black slate blocks from which it’s constructed are a sight to behold. This city was constructed completely without the use of mortar, and it was here that a mysterious crystal skull was once discovered.
8. Placencia Village
Placencia Village is an increasingly popular place for tourists, but it hasn’t lost its sleepy coastal village vibes in the process. As home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the peninsula as well as a healthy nightlife and a friendly group of locals, it’s filled with gorgeous spots.
9. Seine Bight
This village is traditionally home to the local Garifuna people, and it has its own sense of identity as a result. From the colorful riverfront houses to the sound of drumming and dancing, an aspiring photographer can find plenty of great shots here. It’s just unfortunate that you can’t capture the delicious aroma of Garifuna cooking on camera.
10. Maya King Waterfall
While the Cayo District in the west may be the region best known for its waterfalls, Maya King is conveniently accessible to Placencia and perfectly stunning within its own right. The two cascading falls are a popular choice for visiting photographers, and you can even swim in the pool at the waterfall’s base.
You don’t have to stay in Placencia to enjoy the peninsula and everything around it. Ray Caye is a private island resort positioned in perfect proximity to both Placencia and the Belize Barrier Reef. The whole region is right at your fingertips, but you’ll get the privacy and exclusive care you deserve.
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