Scuba dive with whale sharks and manatees on the Belize Barrier Reef, easily accessible from the beach resort of Placencia. If you’re looking for laid-back afternoons on palm-lined sands, stay at one of these Caribbean-facing hotels and low-key condo resorts in Placencia, bookable on Culture Trip.
Once a tiny fishing hamlet on a spit of white sand separating a manatee-filled lagoon from the Caribbean Sea, Placencia is now a low-key resort. Sand streets and shutterboard shacks have been turned into boho cocktail bars and boutique restaurants, yet the original Belize village has maintained its charm. Now, a cluster of condo resorts and barefoot-chic beach hotels in Placencia line the sand around it. All are poised to catch the rising sun and ready to take you out on a boat to the beautiful atolls and reefs just offshore.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Simple studio shacks, two- and three-bedroom villas with private pools, a luxurious, glass-fronted five-bedroom beach house with its own palm-tree garden… the Naïa has options to suit budget travelers, big families on a comfortable beach break and everyone in between. All accommodation is right on the sand, and the resort offers a range of light adventure activities in the rainforest and on the reef.
Sitting right in the center of the village off bar-lined Sidewalk Street, Ocean Breeze is a small hotel in Placencia with two big beachside villas in Matisse blue and Mykonos white. Balcony terraces open right onto the sand, plus there are aquamarine sea views from the bedrooms (through floor-to-ceiling windows). Fully equipped kitchens mean that if you’re tired of the restaurant options on your doorstep, you can cook your own dinner. Don’t leave without spending an afternoon lounging in the pool with its swim-up bar.
Blending harmoniously with its surroundings – in contrast to many of the condo-hotels in Placencia – Coppola‘s Turtle Inn is quintessentially Belizean. The casitas – in whitewash and tall-gabled palm-thatch – look like indigenous Mayan houses (albeit with Balinese textiles for decor). Each one sits under coconut palms within a shady tropical garden, just a short stroll from the sand. Expect Caribbean barefoot-chic vibes at the bamboo restaurant and bar (which serves the best food and wine in Placencia).
The rooms to go for at Mariposa are the raw wood treehouses. They’re quieter and more intimate than the bigger suites in the main building. While not actually in the trees, they sit over the sand on tall stilts, perfectly positioned to catch the sea breeze on the airy front decks. The beach and the resort’s large pool are a few seconds’ walk away, plus there’s yoga at dawn, and complimentary bikes will take you into the heart of Placencia village in less than 15 minutes.
You pay a premium price, but Placencia village locations don’t get much better than the Ellysian. Wall-high balcony windows in the bright and breezy all-white rooms (which range from just-for-two intimate to family-sized) open onto turquoise waterfront views and one of the area’s best beaches from this Placencia hotel. The village restaurants and bars are literally just round the corner – which means no hot walks or bike rides into town for a menu change or spot of nightlife.
Big and brash – in maroon and custard-yellow – the Belizean Nirvana won’t win any design awards, but it’s right on the sand in the center of Placencia village (with bars and restaurants a stroll from the lobby). Interiors at this hotel in Placencia are lush with rich, polished tropical hardwoods, and there’s a huge hammock-strung rooftop breakfast area and bar – with gorgeous sea views. Prices include a generous American breakfast that will see you through the whole day, including use of the available kayaks and bicycles.
Studios and suites set in a Mediterranean-blue shutterboard beach house come with generous breakfast table balconies and bright, modern interiors. Choose from a studio, one-, two- or three-bedroom option, depending on your group size. It’s in a great location in the center of the village while also sitting over the broadest stretch of beach. Take advantage of the top package deals including airport transfer, lunch and tours.
It couldn’t be more Belizean – a brightly-painted shutterboard cottage on a caye washed by calm, shallow sea and surrounded by coral gardens. Turtles hatch on the beach, the skies are so clear you can see the Milky Way to the horizon, and all is idyllic. Well, almost. While Zen-peaceful in the early morning and evenings, the island can get busy with day-trippers in high season, and it’s a boat ride to a different choice of restaurant.
If you’re looking for the comfort and convenience of your own holiday home, book Chabil Mar hotel in Placencia. They offer condo-style villas with sizes ranging from space-for-two to big enough for a large family. Each one is fitted with a complete kitchen (you can buy freshly caught fish from vendors on the beach) along with dining and living rooms. Balcony terraces overlook the sea and the resort’s two big, shared swimming pools. There’s a decent on-the-beach restaurant, and Placencia village is a 20-minute walk along the sand.
While many Placencia hotels feel mock-Miami, this low-key, low-rise boutique blends well with its palm-tree surrounds. Thatch cabins (decked out with handcrafted tropical hardwood furniture and painted in fashionable pastel shades) are set right on the beach in a little garden. There’s a small pool and a bamboo-fronted cocktail bar. The atmosphere is discreet and intimate, barefoot chic.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.