All of Placencia ’s budget lodgings are found on (or within shouting distance of) the sidewalk , and most of the high-end resorts are strung along the beach north of town. Remember, these are high-season double occupancy prices only! Expect significant discounts and negotiable rates between May and November.
There is one campground on the northern tip of Placencia Village, where you can pitch your tent and use the bathrooms, showers, and grill for US$5 per person; rent gear for another US$5. It’s run by a couple from Oregon.
Miss Lucille’s Travellers Inn (tel. 501/523-3190, joytour [at] btl [dot] net, US$15–23), right in the middle of the village, is a no-frills, bottom-of-the-barrel place to rest, only one lot away from the beach where most guests spend their days. Rooms have either shared or private bath; the wood rooms are hot, the bathrooms grungy.
Right on the sidewalk, Omar’s is another wooden flophouse, US$15 for a double with private bath. Near the Anglican school, Eloise Travel Lodge (tel. 501/523-3299, US$20–25) has four rooms with private or shared bath and a communal kitchen. There is no reception office; ask for Miss Sonia Leslie.
A much better budget bet is Lydia’s Guesthouse (tel. 501/523-3117, lydias [at] btl [dot] net, US$25), toward the north end of the sidewalk. Lydia’s is a longtime favorite among backpackers. The eight clean rooms with shared tile-floor bath also share a sociable two-story porch, communal kitchen, fans, hammocks, and a 30-second walk to the beach. Miss Lydia will make you breakfast if you make arrangements the day before; she also makes fresh Creole bread and guava jam. Miss Lydia’s son operates Pelican Tours (tel. 501/632-1320 or 501/630-2795, pelicantoursbze [at] hotmail [dot] com); he’ll take you to the reef or Monkey River .
As you enter Placencia there is a gate by the Placencia Bazaar gift shop;
Deb & Dave’s Last Resort (tel. 501/523-3207 or 501/600-6044, www.toadaladventure.com , US$25) consists of four small, clean rooms surrounding a gorgeous sand courtyard and tropical garden favored by hummingbirds; the common screened-in porch space is excellent for meeting your neighbors and telling war stories from the day’s paddling and snorkeling trips; there are shared bathrooms for all. Owner Dave is head guide for Toadal Adventures and is renowned for his local knowledge and trip-leading skills.
Claiming to be the “first established hotel on the Placencia Peninsula” (since 1964), the Sea Spray Hotel (tel. 501/523-3148, www.seasprayhotel.com , US$25–65) is a great choice—30 feet from the ocean, 20 rooms with private bath, refrigerators, hot and cold water, and coffeepots. There are economy rooms and nicer ones closer to the water, where guests can relax in hammocks and chairs under palm trees. De’ Tatch seafood restaurant on the premises serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offers Internet.
Evan’s Guest House (tel. 501/523-3127, www.evansplaceplacencia.com , US$75–85) is a clean and well-kept place; standard rooms have a kitchenette, cable TV, ceiling fan and optional air-conditioning; condo units have a full kitchen and private balcony.
At the extreme southern end of Placencia Village , look for the brightly painted Tradewinds Hotel (tel. 501/523-3122, trdewndpla [at] btl [dot] net, US$75–95) on five acres near the sea, offering nine cabanas with spacious rooms, fans, refrigerators, coffeepots, and private yards just feet away from the ocean; there are two new deluxe rooms.
The Cozy Corner Hotel (tel. 501/523-3280 or 501/523-3540, cozycorner [at] btl [dot] net, US$50–70) has 10 decent rooms with private baths and basic amenities, right behind the Cozy Corner bar/restaurant on the beach, with a nice, breezy second-story porch; some rooms have air-conditioning. Next door, the Tipsy Tuna plays loud music at night.
The Village Inn (tel. 501/523-3481 or 501/523-3217, www.thevillageinnbelize.com , US$65–150) started before roads or electricity came to the village, and when the children didn’t wear shoes to school. Four wooden beach cabanas, located on the cleanest beach around, preserve the simple, yet comfortable barefoot paradise that made Placencia famous. All cabanas have a full kitchen, private bath with hot and cold water, and a cozy veranda. There’s a bait and tackle shop on-site; fishing trips and local tours are available.
Dianni’s Guest House (www.diannisplacencia.com , tel. 501/523-3159, US$59–85) is a simple, clean, quiet affair, with six rooms with private baths, fans, and coffeemakers, plus wireless Internet, tour service, bikes, and a book exchange.
Paradise Vacation Hotel (tel. 501/523-3179, www.belize123.com , US$59–159) has 12 rooms (all air-conditioned), an on-site restaurant and bar, spa, and gift shop. From the rooftop hot tub you see the Maya Mountains. Harry’s Cozy Cabanas (tel. 501/523-3234, www.cozycabanas.com ) has three simple cabanas with screened porches.
Westwind Hotel (tel. 501/523-3255, www.westwindhotel.com , US$65–150) has 10 rooms with views, light tile floors, sunny decks, private baths, and fans (air-conditioning is optional and costs a little extra if you turn it on); there’s wireless Internet too. The family unit goes for US$150 a night. The hotel has a great, friendly vibe and a nice beach to relax on, though it’s a little close to the pounding music at Tipsy Tuna.
The Ranguana Lodge (tel. 501/523-3112, www.ranguanabelize.com , US$85–90) has five private cabanas: three air-conditioned beach cabins and two cabins set back with a garden views. All are spacious with beautiful wood floors, walls, and ceilings.
Captain Jak’s (tel. 501/523-3481, www.captainjaksbelize.com , US$90–120) is a quaint lagoon-side resort set in a tropical garden, with cabanas, two-story cottages, and a spacious villa (US$300). Each place has a full kitchen, hot and cold water, and plenty of space to relax. There’s an outdoor grill and palapa table where you can feast on the catch of the day; the crow’s nest offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area.
South Waters Resort (tel. 501/523-3308, www.southwatersresort.com , US$112–270) has four well-kept cabanas and three air-conditioned suites with a full kitchen, nicely furnished living room, and separate bedroom.
Rent one of four fully furnished, air-conditioned units at Easy Living Apartments (tel. 501/523-3481, www.easyliving.bz , from US$125). Miramar Apartments (tel. 501/523-3658, www.miramarbelize.com , US$125–235), the hot pink building opposite Lydia’s Guesthouse, has studio, one-bedroom, and three-bedroom units. Each has a king-sized bed, full kitchen, air-conditioning, and cable. The three-bedroom unit has hardwood flooring, beautiful decorations, original artwork, and a large seaview balcony. There is a three-night stay minimum, which is flexible depending on the season; it’s a great place for a family getaway.
At Chabil Mar (tel. 501/523-3606, www.chabilmarvillas.com , US$300–525), the privately owned luxury villas have richly decorated interiors and are furnished with all the modern conveniences one could ask for. Less than a mile north on the beach from the Placencia village, the exclusive Café Mar provides butler service so you can dine where you please: at poolside, on the pier or a private veranda, or in the comfort of your villa.
One of the few truly upscale options actually in Placencia village, Sunset Pointe Apartments (U.S. tel. 904/471-3599, www.sunsetpointebelize.com , US$250–275) offers luxury condos for short- or long-term rental. They’re back on the lagoon side, but they all have raised roof decks with a breeze. It’s only a five-minute walk to the beach from here, and there are many accessible restaurants and shops.
Turtle Inn (tel. 501/523-3244 or 501/523-3150, www.turtleinn.com ) is one of the nation’s premier luxe destinations, one of U.S. film producer Francis Ford Coppola’s two Belizean properties. It is about a mile north of Placencia Village . Prices start at US$375 a night for the Garden View Cottages and go up to US$1,850 a night for the master two-bedroom pavilion house with private entrance, pool, and dining pavilion. Even if you’re not staying there, swing by to treat yourself to a fine meal with beautifully framed views of the ocean. Turtle Inn has seven luxury villas and 18 cottages on offer. The rooms are designed along Indonesian and Belizean lines, with lots of natural materials and airy space. The high thatch ceilings absorb the heat, so there are fans only, no air-conditioning (but there are music players for your iPod and fancy shell phones).
There are two swimming pools, the über-mellow Laughing Fish Bar on the beach, and one of the peninsula’s premier restaurants, the Mare Restaurant. There’s also an on-site spa, dive shop, and more dining options; Auntie Luba’s Belizean eatery and the Garden Grill are open for dinner (6–9 p.m.) by reservation only.