Escape to adventure. Rediscover wonder. Connect with ancient traditions and living culture. A day trip from Placencia opens the door to transformational experiences that awaken the spirit.
This year, go beyond the beaten path to uncover Belize's majestic ruins, cruise untamed rivers, and zipline over rainforest canopies. Get hands-on with age-old Maya practices still thriving today. Whether you seek thrills or tranquility, culture or nature, the possibilities for revelation are endless.
We've compiled the 10 best day trips from Placencia for 2024 to help you plan an unforgettable experience in this diverse tropical paradise. From encounters with exotic wildlife to raging rapids and hidden waterfalls, to sacred caves and soaring ancient temples, these full-day adventures showcase the very best of inland Belize, just a short journey away.
Let these immersive tours give you a glimpse into another world. Prepare to meet the places and people that will transform your perspective and ignite your spirit of adventure.
The journey starts now...
1. Monkey River and Manatee Watch
What you can expect: For nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, this animal-focused tour out of Placencia is not to be missed. Begin with a cruise through mangrove forests as your boat glides along the Monkey River. Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for sights and sounds of native birds, iguanas, snakes, crocodiles, and howler monkeys along the shoreline. Stop at the small village of Monkey River for a tasty local lunch, then watch for gentle manatees as you make your return trip upstream. Take a refreshing dip in the river itself if you like. With such a diversity of creatures inhabiting these lush rainforest waterways, this excursion offers a memorable chance to observe Belizean wildlife up close.
2. Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary
What you can expect: Uncover one of Belize's hidden gems on this day trip to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Preserve and a secluded waterfall near Hopkins. Trek through dense jungle to a gorgeous cascade tumbling down rocks and tropical foliage. Then ride natural waterslides carved into the riverbed as you float down inner tubes along the South Stann Creek River. After playing in this natural adventure playground, enjoy a picnic lunch while keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife in the surrounding nature reserve - home to the largest concentration of jaguars in Belize. With its pristine rainforest, cascading waterfall, and diversity of native species, this tour lets you experience some of Belize's most spectacular natural treasures.
3. Cave Tubing & Xunantunich (Mayan Ruins) From Placencia
What you can expect: Embark on an immersive journey into Belize's majestic Mayan past with this full-day guided tour to Xunantunich from Placencia. One of the country's most remarkable archaeological sites, Xunantunich provides sweeping views of the Guatemalan border from its strategic hilltop location in western Belize. After exploring this ancient ceremonial center, float through the mouth of a sacred cave, drifting beneath towering limestone archways. As your guide shares insights into Mayan rituals, see mineral formations shimmering in the darkness that have been growing for centuries. From awe-inspiring ruins to underground rivers flowing through caves untouched by time, this tour reveals the mysteries and grandeur of the Maya heartland.
4. Horseback Riding in Hopkins
What you can expect: Saddle up for a family-friendly half-day horseback riding adventure at a private ranch in Hopkins. Ride well-mannered horses past fragrant orange groves and into lush rainforest. Then head riverside for a refreshing dip with your equine companions. This working farm is home to sheep, cows, goats and more, providing a glimpse of traditional ranch life. With scenic trails winding through fruit orchards and shady jungle, as well as a chance to cool off with a swim, this ride offers fun for all ages - both kids and adults alike will enjoy bonding with the gentle horses amidst Hopkins' natural beauty. A perfect way to spend a relaxing morning or afternoon getting back to nature.
5. Belize Zoo
What you can expect: Discover Belize's incredible wildlife up close on this immersive full-day tour to the Belize Zoo from Placencia. In small groups, explore the zoo's habitats from the tropical forests to savannas, learning from your guide about the natural abilities and behaviors of the animals that call Belize home. Observe jaguars, monkeys, tapirs, macaws, and other native species roaming in open-air enclosures emulating their natural environments. After memorable animal encounters, journey back through lush rainforests and mountain valleys, stopping along the way to capture photos of breathtaking scenery. With personalized attention and unique access to Belize's wild inhabitants, this tour provides an interactive escape into the country's extraordinary nature and wildlife.
6. Xunantunich and Inland Blue Hole Tour
What you can expect: Experience the rich cultural legacy and natural splendor of Belize on this combo tour to Xunantunich's ancient Mayan ruins and the stunning Inland Blue Hole lagoon. With an expert guide to illuminate the fascinating history and navigate the complex temple complexes, you'll climb Xunantunich's soaring pyramids to take in panoramic jungle vistas. Then cool off with a refreshing swim in the crystalline Inland Blue Hole, a picturesque limestone sinkhole ringed by verdant rainforest. With roundtrip transportation, a delicious picnic lunch, and insider perspectives on two of Belize's top attractions, this hassle-free day trip perfectly blends nature, history, and adventure for an unforgettable glimpse into the heart of Belize.
7. ATM Caves
What you can expect: Experience the awe-inspiring natural wonder of Actun Tunichil Muknal (Cave of the Stone Sepulchre) on this highly immersive day trip from Placencia. Suitable for active travelers seeking an adventure, this tour takes you deep into the earth to explore one of Belize's most magnificent subterranean realms. Trek through jungle, swim across underground rivers, climb over boulders, and crawl through tight tunnels - all under the watchful eye of your expert guide. They will illuminate the cave's geological formations and ancient Mayan relics while ensuring your safety as you traverse challenging terrain. Without the hassle of planning, this guided excursion allows you to focus on the hypnotic beauty of the "ATM" cave in one of Central America's most spectacular natural attractions. Just bring your sense of discovery on this unique underground quest.
8. 30 Minutes to Zip Lining + River Tubing +Waterfall
What you can expect: Experience the thrill of zip lining combined with the serenity of river tubing on this active full-day tour from Placencia. Just under an hour away lies the adventure hub of Mayan King. Strap in and soar through the jungle canopy, gliding along 7 zip lines - the longest an exhilarating 1,300 feet! Crisscrossing over 400 feet high above a valley and river, you'll get bird's eye views of the rainforest. This zip lining course is suitable for all ages - kids can ride tandem with a guide. After flying high above the trees, hike down to the river below. Float lazily along as your tube drifts past lush scenery, with a few quick rapids adding excitement. Life jackets and helmets provided ensure safety and our guides will be close by to assist. Then relax surrounded by the pristine beauty of a natural waterfall, hiking up to a second cascade or swimming in the serene pool if you wish. With zip lining thrills, river tubing chills, and idyllic waterfalls, this tour packs it all into one amazing day.
9. Bocawina: Home To Belize's Longest Zipline
What you can expect: Experience Belize's longest zipline while soaring high above the rainforest canopy on this adrenaline-pumping tour from Placencia. The epic 2 1⁄2 mile zipline at Bocawina stretches across Mayflower Bocawina National Park, offering a bird's-eye view of the lush jungle below. Explore this remarkable ecosystem, home to elusive wildlife like tapirs, jaguars, and howler monkeys. As you glide from platform to platform, harnessed to steel cables extending over a mile across the park, you'll gain a unique perspective of Belize's spectacular rainforest and its exotic inhabitants. Don't miss this opportunity to discover Bocawina, home to the country's most extensive zipline, for a once-in-a-lifetime way to experience the magic of the jungle.
10. Uncover the Majestic Nim Li Punit Ruins and Experience Maya Culture Firsthand on this Tour from Placencia
What you can expect: Immerse yourself in ancient Maya traditions and modern Mayan life on this illuminating tour to the Kek'chi village of Big Falls. Through the Living Maya Experience, visit local English-speaking homes where guides share insights into how the Kek'chi live in harmony with the forest - using its bounty for food, furniture, medicine and more. Get hands-on with traditional culinary practices as you help prepare a flavorful Mayan lunch, served right in the village. Throughout your interactions, gain perspective on the Kek'chi's rich cultural heritage, beliefs, and daily activities that endure from ancient times. The tour also includes a stop at the majestic Nim Li Punit ruins, where expert guides reveal the secrets of this ancient ceremonial center. With rare access to both a thriving Mayan community and impressive jungle ruins, this tour provides an unforgettable immersion into the living culture of the Maya past and present.