Placencia Village Sidewalk © Muzamanzie Photographs, Belize

Placencia Village

Once a sleepy fishing village, Placencia has emerged as an increasingly popular destination on the Caribbean.

For those who enjoy outdoor adventure, the Stann Creek region offers a host of activities: hiking through mountainous rain forests, kayaking, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, diving and exploring Mayan ruins.

The peninsula boasts 16 miles of tranquil beaches, with a lagoon to the west, the Caribbean to the east, and lots of peace and quiet in the middle.

Tour guides and dive centers offer a variety of excursions, with boat rides to the cayes (pronounced keys) for snorkeling and diving an ongoing favorite.

Also popular are guided land tours to Mayan Ruins or trekking the jungle trails of Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, where the first Jaguar Reserve in the world was established.

 

Fishing

Spend the day fishing for Snapper, Kingfish and Wahoo in some of the best fishing grounds in Belize.  As an added treat, beach barbecues are included in most tours.   After you’ve tasted seafood cooked minutes after it’s been pulled from the water, you’ll be hooked for life.

The fly-fishing on the flats off the cayes east of the Placencia peninsula is some of Belize’s best. This is one of the top areas in the world for permit.

You’ll encounter plentiful tarpon—they flurry 10 deep in the water at times—as well as snook. You can also catch king mackerel, barracuda, wahoo, and cubera snapper.

 

Ruins

The ancient Maya civilizations were noted for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, evidence of which remains today in the form of pyramid temples, palaces, observatories and ball courts.  Much, much more remains uncovered.

The fact that these were constructed without the use of the wheel, metal tools, or beasts of burden continues to fascinate us.

Some of the edifices were positioned so that precise observations of the equinox, solstice and other astronomic events could be made by sighting planets and stars along defined line positions on special buildings.

The Maya used their knowledge of astronomy to produce an extremely accurate calendar.  The Maya’s advanced concepts of time and mathematics, including the use of zero, led to the development of their elaborate calendar based on cycles that go beyond our weeks, months and years.

They used this knowledge to schedule optimum planting and harvesting times for their intensive agricultural system that made use of terracing, drainage canals, raised fields and tree cropping to feed huge populations.

 

Islands & Cayes

The Cayes, the offshore atolls and the barrier reef are some of the main attractions of Belize. The barrier reef, which is 185 miles long, is the longest in the Western Hemisphere. The cayes (pronounced keys) are islands that are located between the mainland and the barrier reef.

Although the mangrove cayes are normally uninhabitable by humans, they do provide a superior habitat for birds and marine life. Many birds, fish, shellfish, and marine organisms begin their lives within the protection of the mangrove.

On the other hand, the island cayes, which are distinguishable by their palm trees, have provided the foundation for the development of many fine resorts to serve the water sports enthusiasts and the marine naturalists.

The cayes and atolls provide superior opportunity for scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, boating, sailing and sea kayaking, as well as being a habitat for both nesting birds and turtles.

Ambergris Caye
Ambergris Caye is a warm and sunny island close to the mainland of Belize offering blue water, first class hotels and many water related activities such as diving, snorkeling and much more. Ambergris is the largest island getting most visitors that travel to Belize.

Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker is a laid back destination offering all sorts of accommodations, typically budget to mid-range. The Island also offers all sorts of water sports including diving and snorkeling. Caulker is between the mainland and Ambergris and reachable with a 45-minute boat ride from Belize City.

Glover’s Reef
Once the base of Pirate John Glover, this island now is a paradise with pearly white sand beaches. Glovers Reef is the southernmost of Belize’s triad of atolls and the least frequently dived. It is 70 miles away from Belize City and boasts 700 coral patches surrounded by sheer drop-offs from 40 to 2,600 feet.

Tobacco Caye
Tobacco Caye is located on Belize’s barrier reef, the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere. Tobacco Caye offers the best shore diving in Belize, and is only ten minutes from more than 20 of the best dive sites in Belize.

South Water Caye
Imagine an island less than a half mile long, covered with white coral sand, tropical flowers, and coconut trees, surrounded by warm, crystal clear water enveloped in coral reefs that wrap more than half way around the island. That is South Water Caye, which also lays on the Barrier Reef.

Lighthouse Reef Atoll
Lighthouse Reef is a 40-mile preserve and one of the most exotic dive spots in Belize. It is perfect for the seasoned scuba diver or snorkeler. One of Belize’s signature dive site is the Great Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef. Other spectacular sites include the Half Moon Caye Wall, at the southern end of the atoll.

These are just a few of the more famous cayes within the hundreds of islands in Belize. They all provide first class scuba diving, snorkeling and many other activities. Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Light House Reef all have an airstrip, which makes access to these exotic islands an easy venture.

Belize offers many different islands to meet your specific needs, some only 20 minutes away from the mainland and others more exclusive though less accessible. All will make your vacation in Belize unforgettable!

Belize Turtle

Diving

The Belize Barrier Reef is a superb coastal reef system with dozens of dive sites offering excellent diving.  Visitors experience an underwater world populated by a rich diversity of species including groupers, snappers, four varieties of angel fish, many varieties of parrot fish, eels, barracudas, turtles, stingrays, lobsters, a great number of corals and sponges, and more.

The Placencia area is rapidly becoming a popular regional diving spot. Here dive sites have been left in a more pristine state because they have felt less impact from boats and divers.

The Reef separates further from the coast the more it progresses southward, resulting in substantial patches of coral, separated by channels dropping to 80 feet or more, forming canyon-like walls, which rise sharply to form coral shoals and Caye’s. This provides shallow sites for snorkelers, while allowing divers’ access to deeper waters nearby.

The Inner Reef acts as a home for juvenile aquatic animals. Here divers will find most of the sea fans, sea rods, seawips, sea plumes, cleaner shrimp, yellow-line Arrow Crab, Giant Hermit Crab and a wide variety of juvenile fish such as spotted drum, barracuda, eagle rays and stingray. The depth range on these inner reef dives is between 60 and 80 feet.

belize parrot

Jungle

The tropical forests of Belize provide habitats for a wide range of animals including jaguar, puma, ocelot, armadillo, tapir and crocodile.

The country is also home to 4,000 species of tropical flowers, including 250 kinds of orchids.

It harbors over 500 species of birds that soar through Belize’s vine trailed jungles: fruit-loop keel-billed toucans (Belize’s national bird); jabiru stork, the largest flying bird in the Americas; the rare agami heron; hummingbirds; neon-green-painted parrots; an abundance of macaws, heron and snowy egret that delight sharp-eyed eco-travelers.

belize snorkling

Snorkling

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