Next Stop: Placencia, Belize

Warm Caribbean Sea waters and white sand beaches 🏝️

July 30, 2022

Sandy beach in Belize

📸: Getty

From Belize City, it’s a 2.5-hour drive or a 30-minute island hopper flight south to the peninsular town of Placencia. This fishing village is the site of the country’s best beaches: Think powder-soft sand bordering calm, reef-protected waters.

Fish, yoga and a place to stay 🐚

📷: Chabil Mar

It’s common to see fishermen biking their freshly caught snapper around to hotels and restaurants like Doyle’s Smoke Yaad, an open-air lagoon-side spot famous for its firewood-roasted chicken and grilled lobster. Take a stroll on the wooden boardwalk, stopping in at Secret Garden for a massage or reiki treatment, or align your body and spirit with Brice Dial at Positive Vibration Yoga. Nearby, bougainvillea-covered luxury resorts offer a quiet respite: Among them is the beachfront Chabil Mar (from $370), where each of the 22 spacious villas has its own entrance. The resort can arrange a scenic, two-hour car ride to the ancient Maya sites of Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun, which are filled with the remains of temples and stelae.

Snorkeling, jungle trek then karaoke 🎤

Scarlet macaws hanging around
📷: Getty

The 80 degrees Fahrenheit waters are packed with marine life, and snorkeling excursions with Belizean-owned DTOURZ at the nearby Silk Cayes offer sightings of nurse sharks, sea turtles, and all manner of tropical fish. Placencia’s beaches sit right next to the jungle, and winter is high season for spotting scarlet macaws, which come down from the nearly impenetrable highland areas between December and March. Barefoot Services arranges walking excursions into the nearby village of Red Bank to observe their red, blue, and yellow feathers and characteristic squawks. And at any time of the year, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary just outside of Placencia offers the best chance to see jaguars, which are more highly concentrated in Belize than anywhere else in the world. DTOURZ also offers one of the best Cockscomb experiences.

End a day of wildlife explorations in Placencia with a proper sundowner at either Tipsy Tuna for chicken wings and karaoke, or Barefoot Beach Bar for burgers and live music. Both of these seaside spots share a relaxed and upbeat atmosphere, where travelers rub shoulders with locals over sunset views.

If you go 🛫

Alaska Airlines has seasonal weekly nonstop service from Seattle to Belize City.

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Ali is a travel writer focused on the intersection of tourism and wildlife. She is also a guidebook author for Belize and Iceland.

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