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Placencia

Running parallel to the mainland, separating mangroves and the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Placencia Lagoon and faraway Maya Mountains to the west, Placencia peninsula’s 16 miles of sandy beach comprises three distinct villages: the 1964 Canadian development of Maya Beach in the north, boasting some of the mainland’s best beaches; Seine Bight, defined by its traditional Garífuna community (one of six in Belize today), which still preserves its cultural drumming, dances, and customs; and Placencia Village, found at the southern tip.

Sitting on a sheltered half-moon bay, the village of Placencia, one of the oldest continually inhabited communities in the country, sees the greatest number of visitors. A mere Creole fishing village before tourism arrived, the town now boasts a range of restaurants, gift and dive shops, the most affordable hotels in the area, and a vibrant nightlife downtown, where businesses and wooden houses on stilts crowd the roadless village’s main street—a small concrete sidewalk recorded by Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s narrowest.

Exuding Belize’s laidback attitude with its refreshing breezes, coconut palms, and lazy waves, the peninsula’s biggest draw is the bounty of available activities, as its privileged location means adventure is never too far. Enjoy some of the best offshore sportfishing in the country; boat tours out to the Belize Barrier Reef or nearby cayes and atolls, some 20 dive sites accessible from Placencia’s coast; a boat trip up the Monkey River spotting manatees, crocodiles, green iguanas, and scores of birds; birdwatching (over 54 species recorded on the peninsula); visiting nearby communities; day trips to the mainland, including a visit to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary—the world’s first jaguar preserve—which is home to impressive waterfalls and a wide diversity of wildlife; or exploring the Maya ruins of Lubaantun and Nim Li Punit, among countless other exciting options.

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