Getting from Belize City to Placencia
Placencia is approximately 160 miles from Belize City. The peninsula of Placencia features miles of pristine white sand beaches with a wonderful panorama of the Caribbean Sea. Alaska Reprieve is located in the laid-back Village of Placencia which is at the southern tip of the peninsula. The village motto is “barefoot friendly” and has two major ways to traverse the many restaurants and amenities – by using the “Placencia Road” or the historic “Placencia Sidewalk”.
Placencia Road, which is often referred to as “main street” accommodates vehicular and bike traffic. The road was recently paved and there was a sidewalk added to improve pedestrian safety.
The Placencia Sidewalk is for foot traffic and runs from the end of the peninsula up the Caribbean Sea side of the peninsula. Alaska Reprieve is located on the Placencia Sidewalk about one mile north from the tip of the peninsula.
Once in Placencia, you can choose to lie on the beach, relax in the shade of the balcony of the Alaska Reprieve, nap in the hammocks, or get out and about. Placencia offers great meals, fresh-caught seafood, souvenir shops, restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, wine bars and more. The barrier reef offers world-class diving, snorkeling, and fishing. There are expeditions to the jungle, spice farm, banana farm, chocolate factory and more. There is tubing, hiking in the Cockscomb Basin Natural Reserve, and trips to see the Scarlet McCaw. My favorite activity (if you can call it an activity) is to meander down to the end of the peninsula around 3:30 pm to see the catch of the day, talk with the locals and ex-pats, and buy fresh fish.
Anyway, first you have to get to Placencia. Most people avoid Belize City and head straight south. If you decide to overnight in Belize City, I recommend the Radisson Fort George or the Best Western Biltmore.
So, finally, here are some options for getting to Placencia:
Take a shuttle
The scenic 3.5-hour drive from Belize City to Placencia offers stunning views. The route takes you inland past the capital of Belmopan then turns back to the coast through the Maya mountains and fertile agricultural country to Dangriga. From Dangriga, you head south past Hopkins and down to Placencia. Shuttles are reasonably priced and they provide modern and comfortable door-to-door service. As the popularity of Placencia continues to multiply, so do the shuttle services. I have not used all of these services so cannot recommend one over another. Belize has implemented a COVID gold standard program for tour and transportation companies (https://belizetourismboard.org/industry-sectors/tourism-gold-standard-tour-operators/). As of March 2021, I am listing the companies I found on google and I have indicated the ones I also found on the BTB list.
Roam Belize, https://www.roambelize.com/transfers/
Barefoot Services https://barefootservicesbelize.com/getting-to-placencia-belize/ This is company is gold standard and located in the village. We have rented cars from them. They also own and operate Cozy Corner which serves a great burger.
Placencia Shuttle, https://www.placenciashuttles.net/bze-airport-transfers/
Ron’s Belize Shuttle Service, https://www.ronsbelizetraveladvisory.com/
Muy’ono Adventures, https://www.muyonoadventures.com/land-shuttles (This company is gold standard and I see them often in the village.)
Untame Belize, https://untamebelize.com/belize-shuttles-and-transfers/ (This company is gold standard and I see them in the village.)
Grab a second flight
From Belize International (Philip Goldson International) you can take a 40-minute flight to Placencia on Cessna 9 to 13-seat airplanes. These are beautiful flights in smaller aircraft. There are also flights from the municipal airport (Barry Bowen Municipal) but it would require a taxi ride across Belize City from the international airport. I have flow on both Tropic Air and Maya Air and usually pick based on the best price or the best schedule to fit my connections.
Tropic Air, https://www.tropicair.com/
Maya Island Air, https://www.mayaislandair.com/
Taxi or Private Car
A Belize taxi can get you to and from the airport and Placencia but will be expensive. Typically, it will cost more than a flight on Tropic or Maya but prices are negotiable. Be sure to agree on the price before hopping in a cab. All licensed taxis bear a green license plate. Do not use an unlicensed taxi.
Rent a Car
If you are staying in the village, a rental car is not needed. However, if you choose to rent a car – book early. Rental cars are expensive ($75 USD per day or more) and there is typically not a lot of choice in the type of vehicle. At Belize City International you will find Hertz, Budget, Dollar, Thrifty, National, and Crystal. Off-site there is AQ Car Rental. When driving to Placencia, do NOT take the coastal highway. It is much too rough for a rental car. Travel from Belize City to Belmopan on the Western Highway. From Belmopan, take the Hummingbird Highway to Dangriga. Just before Dangriga, turn south onto the Southern Highway to the roundabout where you turn and drive down the peninsula to Placencia Village. All of the roads are paved and in good shape. They just upgraded and removed the one-lane bridges. We took a shuttle on my first trip to Placencia. The driver was familiar with the road and gave us quite a bit of detail on the countryside we were seeing.
If you decide to make a day trip by rental car from Placencia, there are rental places within the village – Budget, Barefoot Rentals, and Placencia Car Rental. The cars from Barfoot Rentals and Placencia Car Rentals will not be up to your US expectations. They are typically pretty worn and expensive, but offer a taste of Belize. You can also check with Budget as I think you can rent a car in Belize City and drop it off in Placencia.
Take the bus
There are air-conditioned express bus services that take about five hours and cost about $15 USD one-way.
Ritchie’s Bus Service leaves from the bus terminal in downtown Belize City at 3:30 pm on Monday through Saturday. Ritchie’s provided service from Placencia back to the downtown Belize City bus terminal on Monday through Friday and leaves at 6:15 am. You would have to catch a cab to and from the downtown bus station to the international airport.
We have used James Bus Service, which was a cultural experience that we much enjoyed. First, we caught the Hokey Pokey Water Taxi from Placencia to Independence, which is a 15-minute open boat ride. From the Hokey Pokey terminal, we caught a taxi to the bus terminal in Independence. After the bus ride to downtown Belize City, we caught a second cab out to the international airport. James offers service from Belize City to Independence at 5:15 am 7-days a week and at 3:45 pm on Monday through Saturday. Service from Independence to Belize City and leaves at 7:30 am on Monday through Saturday.