Belize is geographically quite a small country but it is BIG on biodiversity, adventure, unique experiences, fresh and flavorful cuisine, and friendly hospitality. I like every district in Belize; I can find something wonderful in each and every little community scattered throughout The Jewel, but I pick Placencia as the top destination for travelers with children for several reasons.
Quaint and Quiet
Placencia does the Belize-balancing-act between rustic Caribbean charm and modern amenities/ entertainment options. Much more laidback than San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye to the north, the Placencia Peninsula is a 16-mile-long skinny stretch of littoral forest with wide, lonely beaches on the Caribbean Sea side and mangrove lined lagoon on the other. It feels like an island but is connected to the mainland, making inland adventures easy to access. Each community on the peninsula has its own unique vibe and Placencia Village proper, at the southernmost tip, is the most ‘lively’ area and the hub of restaurants, shops, and beach bars. Though you will hear music and laughter and dogs barking and children shouting and golf carts puttering along, it is typically quiet by midnight.
Small and Safe
Placencia Village is only about one square mile and has two main avenues- it is impossible to get lost- just find the main road (the only paved one) or the sidewalk (that runs along the beach). Being such a small village, Placencia also has a tight-knit community. Everybody knows everybody else if not by name, then at least by face and occupation. These factors give the village and its visitors a feeling of safety; seeing familiar faces and easily navigating around town, adding that Belize is English-speaking is the cherry on top. Our visitors always remark on how comfortable they feel in Placencia. Older children should have no issues wandering down to the Pointe to join in on a volleyball game during the day or walking younger siblings over to Tuti Fruti in the evening for an ice cream.
Family Friendly Activities
There are loads of tours and day trips to choose from when you pick Placencia as your Belize vacation destination. Snorkeling and fishing, zip lining and hiking, visiting Mayan Temples and seeing exotic wildlife, learning how to scuba dive or how to make chocolate- there is no shortage of thrilling adventures the whole family will enjoy! Choose from dozens of excursions through a local tour guide or find your own fun and explore the peninsula by golf cart. Little ones (and big ones too) love the novelty of puttering around in the open carts, the rush of the breeze all around them. Just make sure drivers are over 18 years and have a valid license; these are road worthy vehicles, not toys. Captain Jaks can be your one-stop-shop for sea and land tours as well as golf cart rentals. They have the biggest and best fleet of carts on the peninsula. Additionally, the have the most extensive list of excursions to choose from.
Comfortable Accommodations for the Whole Crew
A wide range of accommodations are available in Placencia. No matter your group’s size or budget, Placencia has housing options to snuggly sleep your party. Humble hostels with private rooms to luxury vacation home rentals on the beach, Placencia has it all. Brisa Oceano is a modern condominium-style beach resort and their villas are a family favorite. They’re centrally located so you can walk to everything in the village and they have one, two, or three-bedroom options all with full kitchens.
Placencia is paradise to some but its not perfect. This is a vacation recommendation for an adventurous and authentic experience. Belize is wild and raw and real. Your kids will sweat, they’ll get dirt under their finger nails and probably a bug bite or two. They’ll encounter new sights and sounds and scents. They’ll get to choose between chicken fingers and tamales for lunch. They might encounter things that scare them (or you) and find that this world isn’t bubble-wrapped to a silly safety standard. It won’t always be pristine and clean but it will be worth it.