Stop in at the Placencia Tourist Information Center if you're looking for someplace to stay or something to do. The people behind the counter are friendly and helped us with our hotel-finding strategy. They're closed for about 90 minutes at lunchtime.
There are several operations in town that will take you out snorkeling or scuba diving. We went diving with Advanced Divers, which has a small shack on the sidewalk. We were scratching our heads about the schedule of the trip. Two tanks would somehow take from 8:00 AM to about 3 or 4:00 PM. Usually 2 tanks only take up half a day.
Anyway, it was a pretty good day. The small boat fits 4 divers, a dive master and a couple of snorkelers. We sped out to the outer barrier reef to Pumpkin Caye (about 45 minutes out). There, we dropped off the snorkelers and took a few minutes to explore the island. Then we went back out in the boat for our first dive. I have to say the diving isn't as good as I was expecting. Visibility was only about 60 to 70 feet. By New England standards, that's fabulous. But having recently spent a week diving in Grand Cayman, we were somewhat underwhelmed. I'd compare the diving to the Bahamas or West Palm Beach, Florida (without the current). Maybe it's because the location we were at was not in a marine reserve, but we just didn't see a lot of diversity of wildlife.
After the first dive, we went back to the island and ate the lunch provided by Advanced, which was chicken, potatoes, corn & beans. We snorkeled around the island for a little bit before heading back out for the second dive. The snorkeling was excellent, although the water was downright hot!
The second dive was a bit more dramatic than the first because we dropped onto the top of a completely vertical wall, which was pretty cool. We saw a bunch of lobsters hanging out in the wall, and the usual bunch of parrotfish, squirrel fish, purple tangs & such.
After the dive, we went back to the island to pick up the snorkelers & headed back to Placencia. It was a very relaxing day, though I wish we could have squeezed a couple more dives in. A 2-tank dive to the barrier reef costs about $80 USD including lunch. I think snorkeling is about half that much.
You can fish, snorkel, or just relax. We went to Ranguana Cay, which was lovely. I'll let this picture speak for itself...
This is a great place to hang out and get out of the rain or the sun! Food is great – see my restaurant tip for more details
We made a daily ritual of walking the town - mid-morning and later afternoon, after the mid day heat.
There are several good diving spots around Placencia and the southern cays of Belize. We are about the land on one of them for a lunch break.