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Introducing Placencia

Perched at the southern tip of a long, narrow, sandy peninsula, Placencia has long enjoyed a reputation as 'the caye you can drive to.' This is more true today than ever since the 27-mile road from the Southern Hwy is no longer spine-crushing, having now been fully paved.

How you wind up feeling about Placencia really depends on what you're looking for. If it's laid-back ambience, varied accommodations and some of the best restaurants in Southern Belize, this beachfront paradise may well prove to be your personal Margaritaville. If it's off-the-beaten-path adventure and cheaper living you're after, Placencia might serve better as a way-station. Come on down for a few days of sandy beaches, sunny skies and great seafood before heading off to less trodden paths.

The village of Placencia occupies the southernmost mile of the peninsula. On the eastern side is a sandy beach, and between the beach and the road (which ends at a fuel station and a handful of piers) is a narrow pedestrian-only footway.

Placencia's airport is about 1 mile north of the village; 6 miles beyond that is the Maya Beach. Between the village and the airport lie an increasing number of accommodations, including some of the swankiest in Belize and a growing number of luxury housing units.

High season in Placencia begins the week before Christmas and lasts until late April. During the full moons of May and June the town hops as whale sharks come to spawn in the nearby waters. Bargain hunters should be able to get discounted rates when the mercury rises.