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If you plan to visit Belize, you will probably take a trip from Belize City to Placencia at some point.
Placencia is a gorgeous beach town in Belize that boasts white-sand beaches and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Popular with digital nomads, ex-pats, and diving lovers, it’s a perfect spot for a beach getaway.
✅ Read my guide to the best Placencia hotels and resorts
Placencia is within driving distance of some of the best hiking places in Belize and wildlife-watching spots.
➡️ Belize or Costa Rica? Check my honest comparison of the two countries
Belize City to Placencia: transportation options overview
When you land at the Belize City Airport, you will have a few options on how to get to Placencia. Most international visitors choose to take a flight or book private transportation to Placencia – the fastest option that will get you to your hotel in a few hours.
However, it’s important to know about other options, especially if you are a budget traveler, as private transportation can be pricey.
✅ Check my Belize travel trips to have the best experience and avoid mistakes
Private transportation to Placencia
If you want to get from to Placencia quickly, book private transportation. It’s an easy and hassle-free way to travel between two cities. You will save lots of time and won’t have to deal with trying to get a taxi or catch public transportation and trying to negotiate the price.
An English-speaking driver will pick you up at the airport and transport you straight to your hotel. Belize private shuttles offer door-to-door services which allows you to relax and nap after a long day of traveling.
➡️ Check: Is Placencia safe?
Best private shuttles to Placencia
Why book your private shuttle in Placencia ahead of time
- Private shuttles can book up during the high season in Belize (December through March) when the demand is high. It’s always best to book your private shuttle online, so by the time you arrive in Belize City, all you need to do is meet your driver at the arrival.
- Private shuttles in Belize are not allowed to take passengers on the spot, and you will not be able to pay the driver at the airport if you haven’t booked it online ahead of time.
Are there any cons to booking a private shuttle to Placencia?
The only obvious disadvantage to booking a private shuttle to Placencia is that you will not be able to stop anywhere along the way. When you arrive in Placencia, you will need to book guided tours or take a taxi to enjoy some of the best things to do in Belize.
Taking a flight to Placencia
Both airlines operate daily flights from Philip Goldson International Airport to Placencia. Once you clear customs, you can catch a flight to Placencia from the domestic terminal at Belize City Airport.
Where is Belize City International Airport located?
Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) is nine miles north of Belize City in Ladyville. It’s the only international airport in the country, so unless you are arriving in Belize from Yucatan in Mexico or Guatemala, your Belize itinerary will most likely start at Belize City Airport.
How long does it take to fly to Placencia from Belize City?
The flight lasts about 25-30 minutes and the Cessna airplane which is used for these flights fits between 10-15 people and makes for a fun experience.
Flying is the most expensive way to travel between the two destinations, and you will pay more for the flight than for any other type of transportation.
The Airport in Placencia is located right in the village, so you won’t have to travel far to your hotel.
How much does it cost to fly to Placencia from Belize City?
Be prepared to pay around $120 USD for a one-way flight to Placencia.
Renting a car for your trip to Placencia
Car rental is an excellent option for travelers who want to see more of the country and have the freedom to enjoy some of the best things to do in Belize without tours or public transportation.
Renting a car in Belize City
The best place to rent a car in Belize City is Philip Goldson International Airport. They have several car rental companies, and you don’t have to get outside the airport to look for car rentals.
Where to rent a car in Belize City?
I recommend checking available options for car rentals in Belize through DiscoverCars.com, my favorite platform for finding car rentals in Belize.
It has available cars and prices are listed online, so all you need to do is type in your travel dates and look for the vehicle you want. When you arrive at the car rental company’s office, all you need to do is sign the paperwork.
Driving in Belize
If you choose to rent a car in Belize, something to be aware of is that the country still has a developing infrastructure.
While main highways in Belize are in good shape, many secondary roads are in rough condition. For example, while the highway between Belize City and Placencia is well-maintained, many roads in Placencia are in poor shape with bumps and potholes, so you should be cautious when driving around town.
Tips for driving in Belize
As a traveler, you should come prepared and adjust your expectations. Don’t expect to find gas stations and convince stores on every corner and keep your tank full at all times.
Drive slowly, if the road looks rough, and download offline maps before traveling around because the GPS signal could drop off if you go to more remote areas.
Additionally, road signs are not always present, and lighting is poor along the roads in many parts of Belize. To stay safe while driving in Belize, limit your trips to the daytime.
How much is gas in Belize?
Gas prices in Belize are high and run between 9 and 12 Belizean dollars per gallon (just over $5 USD per gallon). The high gas prices are the reason why transportation in Belize costs so much money.
What do I need to rent a car in Belize?
To rent a car in Belize, you need a valid driver’s license. You will need to present it at the car rental office, and if you get stopped when you travel the country.
How much does it cost to rent a car in Belize?
To rent a car in Belize, you will pay between $60-80 USD per day, depending on the time and season of your trip.
What road do I need to take to get from Belize City to Placencia?
Take a Coastal Highway or take a detour through Belmopan, the capital of Belize and get on the Hummingbird Highway from there.
Not all car rental companies in Belize will allow you to drive on a coastal highway due to somewhat treacherous road conditions, so check with your car rental company if you are allowed to drive on all roads.
How long does it take to get from Belize City Placencia by car?
The drive takes an average of three hours depending on what road you take and how fast you drive.
Is it safe to drive from Belize City to Placencia?
The drive to Placencia is beautiful and goes along the well-travelled Hummingbird Highway. The biggest issue is poor lighting, so avoid driving during the night to stay safe.
Why you should consider renting a car in Belize:
- Have more freedom – renting a car in Belize will give you the most freedom to explore the country.
- Enjoy the Hummingbird Highway – the highway from Belmopan to Placencia is one of the most scenic roads, winding through the mountains and passing small villages. When you have a car rental, you can make as many stops as you want.
- You can explore places near Placencia – some of the best things to do near Placencia, like Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Cacao Farms are best visited by car rentals, so you don’t have to pay for a guided tour or taxi.
Do I need a car in Placencia?
Placencia is a small town, and you can explore it on foot. So, unless you want to explore and see more of Belize, you don’t need a car in Placencia.
Taking a taxi
A taxi is another popular way to get to Placencia if you want to travel in comfort and cut back your travel time. Once you clear customs and pick up your luggage, you will find many taxis outside the Belize City Airport.
You will likely pay a fairly high price for a taxi to Placencia, so don’t forget to negotiate with a driver. A taxi is a good option f you are traveling with a group of friends or family, as you can all split the price of a taxi cab.
What to know about taking a taxi in Belize
When catching a taxi ride from Belize City Airport, don’t expect a brand-new vehicle. Most taxi cabs that I’ve taken in Belize were pretty old, and not all had AC, so be ready for a less comfortable ride than a private shuttle.
Check if your driver has a proper license
When taking a taxi in Belize City, always check if the driver has a license. Licensed taxis in Belize have a green license plate, and you can also ask your driver for his or her paperwork. Never take unlicensed taxis in Belize for safety reasons.
Is there an Uber in Belize?
As of 2023, there are no Uber or other ride-sharing companies in Belize, and the ride-sharing apps that you have on your phone will not work in the country. The most popular way to get around Belize is by private shuttle, car rental, or taxi.
Taking a bus to Placencia from Belize City
A bus to Placencia is the most economical option but it’s also the slowest way to travel between the two cities.
To get to Placencia by bus, you will catch a taxi to the Novelo Bus Terminal in Belize City and buy a bus ticket to Placencia once you get there. Buses from Belize City run daily, and prices can range depending on what bus company you are traveling with.
How much does a ticket to Placencia cost?
A bus ticket from to Placencia costs about 15 USD one way and has to be paid in cash. Once you buy a ticket, you will need to wait in the bus terminal area. Buses in Belize have signs with the name of the destination on the windshield.
The journey to Placencia by bus takes from 3,5 to 5 hours, as buses often make frequent stops along the road when passengers need to get in and get out.
Taking a chicken bus to Placencia from Belize City
Chicken buses is the most common type of a bus in Belize that looks like an old high school bus painted in bright colors. While chicken buses are not safe in some Central American countries, I’ve never felt unsafe when taking a chicken bus in Belize.
Keep an eye on your belongings and be ready for a bit of a hot and busy ride, as chicken buses in Belize have no AC or amenities. They also have limited space for your luggage, so you will need to keep a close eye on your belongings.
Where to stay in Placencia:
Now that you have figured out how to get here, it’s time to find a good place to stay. Below are my suggested hotels for your vacation.
📍Best Budget Spot: Belizean Nirvana – one of the best budget hotels in Placencia, Belizean Nirvana boasts a private beach, central location and friendly staff.
📍Best Mid-Range Spot: Miramar Suites – this apartment-style accommodation in the heart of Placencia is a perfect mid-budget stay near the beach and some of the best Placencia restaurants.
📍Best Luxury Spot: Naïa Resort and Spa – One of the most popular hotels in Placencia, Naia features beachfront cabins, hammocks and use of bicycles, paddle boards and kayaks.
✅ Check my complete guide to the best Belize resorts
Best things to do in Placencia
Go snorkeling or diving
Placencia offers perfect conditions for diving and snorkeling with amazing reefs and spectacular wildlife. Choose one of the local tour operators for your fun adventure.
Take a day trip to the Laughing Bird Caye Park near Placencia
The Laughing Bird Caye Park is a paradisiacal island in the middle of the Caribbean that’s an absolute must for anybody who comes here. A tour takes most of the day, and you can book your adventure online for a hassle-free experience.
Hopkins is the nearby village where you can explore the Garifuna culture in Belize one of the most interesting cultures of the Caribbean. The best way to learn about this culture is by taking one of Garifuna’s drumming classes, shopping Garifuna art from local vendors, and trying traditional Garifuna dishes in the area’s restaurants.
Another option is to book a tour with one of local Mayan communities where you can learn about their cooking and culture.
Explore ATM caves
A day trip to the famous Actun Tunichil Muknal Caves (ATM caves) is a must when visiting Placencia. Profiled by National Geographic, ATM caves offer the Indiana Jones kind of experience. Here you get to swim and wade through the water and learn about ancient rituals that were performed thousands of years ago.
Visiting ATM caves was one of my favorite experiences in Belize, and you shouldn’t miss out on this experience during your time.
Go jaguar spotting in Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary
The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the world’s highest concentration of jaguars in the wild. This awesome tour led by a local guide combines jaguar watching experience with river tubing experience.
Begin with an educational hike to learn about the local plants and animals, followed by a river tubing session that will take you to a waterfall where you can swim and float on the water.
Where to stay in Placencia
If you are looking for a perfect stay, there are many hotels to spend a few nights from simple motels to beachfront villas.
- Budget: Belizean Nirvana – one of the best budget hotels in Placencia, Belizean Nirvana boasts a private beach, central location and friendly staff.
- Mid-Range: Miramar Suites – this apartment-style accommodation in the heart of Placencia is a perfect mid-budget stay near the beach and some of the best restaurants in town.
- Luxury: Naïa Resort and Spa – One of the most popular hotels in Placencia, Naia features beachfront cabins, hammocks and use of bicycles, paddle boards and kayaks.
➡️ Check my complete guide on where to stay in Belize
Belize City to Placencia: FAQ
Is Placencia Belize worth visiting?
Placencia is a worthy stop on your Belize itinerary. It has some of the best beaches in Belize, world-class diving and a relaxed lifestyle that’s perfect for a tropical getaway.
What is the best way to get to Placencia?
A private shuttle is the best way to travel if you are looking for quick and hassle-free transportation. Another option is to rent a car in Belize City which will be handy if you want to explore more of the country at your pace.
What’s the cheapest way to get to Placencia?
The cheapest way to get to Placencia is by taking a public bus from the Novelo Bus terminal in Belize City.
What’s the closest airport to Placencia?
The closest airport to Placencia is the Placencia Airport (PLJ) which has daily flights to Belize City.
How long is the flight from Belize City to Placencia?
The flight to Placencia from Belize City is about 25-30 minutes.
Are there shuttles from Belize City Airport to Placencia?
Yes, there are shuttles from Belize City Airport to Placencia, but you will need to book them online ahead of time.
Should I drive or fly to Placencia?
If you want to be able to stop along the way and explore Belize, you should rent a car for your drive to Placencia. However, if you are visiting the town for a quick beach getaway to enjoy activities and spend time in a hotel, your best option is to take a flight.
Can you take a ferry to Placencia?
You can take a boat to Placencia from several destinations in Belize, but it’s not the most common mode of transportation as most travelers choose flights or private shuttles to Placencia.
What is the cheapest way to get around Belize?
The cheapest way to get around Belize is by public bus (also known as a chicken bus) which offer connection between all major cities in Belize. Public buses are great for budget travelers, and the most expensive ticket costs 25 USD from Belize City to Punta Gorda.
You have a few options to get to Placencia. Rental cars and flights are best for travelers with a bigger budget, while public buses are perfect for budget travelers. And, if you are spending your vacation on the beach and want a quick door-to-door service, book a private shuttle to save time and relax after a day of traveling.