About halfway down the peninsula, you’ll enter Maya Beach, which is nothing more than a loose strip of simple, small accommodations. Actually, they’re quite nice, in a relaxed, isolated way, offering more value for your money than nearly anything else in the area. The beach here is also more pleasant than many places in Belize. You just have to be content with the relative lack of services in Maya Beach, since getting to and from Placencia Village  can be an expensive endeavor, even though it’s only seven miles away.
Maya Beach hotels are of the beach cabana variety, with a few furnished apartments, too, many with kitchenettes for cooking on your own. Most of these hotels also manage full houses and a few condos in the area—ask about weekly and monthly rates.
The first place you’ll come to from the north is
Maya Beach Hotel (tel. 501/520-8040, U.S. tel. 800/503-5124, www.mayabeachhotel.com , US$90–125), with five well-kept, immaculate rooms, a few with gorgeous waterfront decks, all with wireless Internet, private baths, hot showers, and a great stretch of sand—oh, and one of the best restaurants in Placencia (the Maya Beach Hotel Bistro). They have a nice pool and one- and two-bedroom beach houses (US$100–180), all with fully equipped kitchens and amenities. A three-bedroom house (US$400), on a private beachfront parcel, has its own infinity pool.
On the lagoon side, Casa At Last (www.casaatlast.com , tel. 501/523-3630, US$125–200) is a couples-only resort with four nicely furnished thatch cabanas, a pool, and restaurant. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner for resort guests only.
The Green Parrot Beach Houses (tel. 501/523-2488, www.greenparrot-belize.com , US$130–180 plus tax) features eight thatch-roof A-frame cabanas with decks and loft bedrooms facing the ocean. Each sleeps four people and includes multiple beds, couches, a kitchen, and hammocks. There’s a restaurant and beach bar.
Catering to relaxed couples and honeymooners, Barnacle Bill’s Beach Bungalows (tel. 501/523-8010, www.barnaclebills  belize.com, US$110) consists of two secluded bungalows on the beach, with full kitchen, fans, and hot and cold water. Each sleeps three adults (no children under 12). Tours, free kayaks, and wireless Internet are available, and the staff will stock the fridge prior to your arrival.
Plant and orchid lovers will enjoy Singing Sands Inn (tel. 501/520-8022, U.S. tel. 888/201-6425, www.singingsands.com , US$110–150 plus tax). The six thatch-roof oceanfront cabanas have front porches, and the two standard rooms offer ocean and garden views. All units provide private bath, ceiling fan, and constant ocean breezes. Portable air-conditioning is available if desired. Breakfast is served in the open-air restaurant next to the pool; fresh lunches and dinners are served as well at the Bonefish Grille.
Drinks and light fare can be enjoyed at Chez Albert’s bar on the pier, 220 feet out into the Caribbean. Bikes, golf carts, clear-bottomed kayas, sail boats, and snorkel gear are available, as are snorkeling classes, tours, and transportation. Families, groups, and weddings are welcome.
When you get tired of cooking in your cabana’s kitchenette, visit the Hungry Gecko (8 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat.), which serves a cheap and delicious menu of Honduran and local goodies, fresh seafood, and smoothies. The one store in town, the Maya Point Market, is open mornings and afternoons (closed Sun.).
Mango’s Beach Bar and Restaurant (11 a.m.–11 p.m.) has a nice Belizean/Mexican menu and a breezy view to enjoy with your beer. It’s popular with the handful of locals, offering darts and poker some nights; Cuban cigars are available.
The Maya Beach Hotel Bistro (dinner reservations tel. 501/520-8040, open from opens at 7 a.m., closed Mon. Tues.–Sun., US$16–28) is a breath of fresh, garlic-roasted air on the Belize culinary scene. Just reading the appetizer and meal choices will make your mouth water—few restaurants in the country have a menu this savory and creative. Australian chef John prepares dinner entrées like Sassy Shrimp Pot, Cocoa Pork, and Boathouse Pie (a half-pound fish fillet smothered in truffle and Jim Beam cream sauce, baked into a pie), not to mention fresh bread, an inspired bar food menu (honey-coconut ribs and roasted pumpkin-coconut green chili soup), and a lovely assortment of breakfasts (US$6–11), including homemade bagels and imported lox (smoked salmon).
At the Bonefish Grille (7 a.m.–9:30 p.m.), everything is made from scratch: homemade pasta, ricotta cheese, breads, and the salad dressings, and there’s no MSG. The menu features Asian and Italian cuisine, prepared with fresh ingredients. This place was Restaurant of the Year runner-up at the 2010 National Tourism Awards.
For all-American fun in the tropics, try bowling at Jaguar Lanes and Jungle Bar (2–10 p.m. Fri.–Wed., US$2.50 per game, US$1.25 shoe rental). There are four nice bowling lanes and a snack bar (US$1.50–5.50) serving hot dogs, onion rings, nachos, and pizza. Outside the air-conditioned alley there’s cold beer and mixed drinks.