There are some fantastic diving opportunities off the coast of Placencia. Most people come to Belize to dive the Blue Hole or sites in the north, and centres in Placencia still do service these areas, but the hike there is quite far so you're better off staying closer if these are the sites you're looking to visit. If you have some time then it's well worth the trip south to spend a few days diving the reefs here.
You'll find a great selection of dive centres to choose from in the town, with trips out to the Southern Barrier Reef's inner reef which is great for beginners due to the calm and protected waters, or the outer reef for some amazing wall and canyon diving. The inner reef is home to cool macro life such as small shrimps, crabs and juvenile fish like the spotted drum. The outer reef is great for big pelagic fish, rays, turtles, eels, sharks and huge coral formations.
Inner reef diving is usually around the small cayes such as Robert's Caye with lots of tropical fish and colourful corals or Laughing Bird Caye National Park with many different species of rays, maybe even a manta ray! The macro life here will excite the photography enthusiasts. Maximum depth is only around 25 metres, but visibility is great, usually between 20 and 30 metres.
The outer reef is vertical walls, great for deep diving. Search for sharks along the sandy canyons, look into the blue for passing rays or for the eels and lobsters hiding in the wall's nooks and crannies. Visibility stays between 25-40 metres almost all year round.
One of the most exciting dives from Placencia is the whaleshark dive at Gladden Split. It's not often you get to dive with these magnificent creatures, most places only allow for snorkelling, but from March to June, from 2 days before the full moon until 10 day after it, you can get up close and personal with the gentle giants on your dive. Even if you don't get to see whale sharks, the Gladden Split area is full of sea life, big schools of fish, many species of sharks and maybe even a pod of dolphins or whales!
Don't miss out on the spectacular diving around Placencia, it's some of the nicest in Belize and the whalesharks, dolphins and whales make it all the more exciting.
(by Kelly Luckman)
If you're after touristy, upbeat, adventurous fun in Belize, then you'll want to head to the southern town of Placencia. It used to be a quiet fishing village but now this narrow peninsula on the Caribbean coast is rather Americanised, filled with bars, restaurants and loads of water and land based activities.
You can fly from Belize City or Punta Gorda, there are also reliable buses which take between 4 and 6 hours. It's easy to walk around the town or you can hire a bicycle, golf cart or car to see the surrounding sites.
There are hostels starting at $10USD a night for a dorm bed, hotels for $25 for a room, all the way up to resorts and villas ranging from $150-$300 a night. There's something for every budget in Placencia, mostly all the accommodation is close to the beach.
Fun things to do include diving and snorkelling, overnight sailing trips, game fishing and kayaking through the lagoon or around the nearby islands. You might even see a manatee in the lagoon if you look carefully. Bird watching is also a favourite activity here.
visit the local Mayan ruins and learn all about the history and culture of the area. Be sure to hire a guide to really get the inside information. A jungle tour will show you the beautiful flora and fauna on offer; you might see a monkey, crocodile, turtle and maybe even the paw prints of a Jaguar that was hunting there the night before.
The villages of Seine Bight and Maya Beach are definitely a great day out. The arts and crafts in the villages are very special and the perfect souvenir to take home with you. Stop in at one of the local restaurants and savour the many seafood dishes, or party the night away at a beach bar. Try the local spiced rum or one of your favourite cocktails at the sun sets.
So take the time out to explore the culture, relax on the beach, or eat and drink to your heart's content. You'll find what you're looking for in the town of Placencia. Have you been there before? Be sure to send us your recommendations.
(By Kelly Luckman)