The stretch of coast south from Belize City in the Stann Creek District heads from Dangriga through small towns and villages such as Hopkins and Placencia and offers a real insight into the fascinating Garifuna culture of Belize. Pass through lush palm groves, citrus trees, small towns and villages and tranquil coastline.
Placencia is a former Creole fishing village located on the tip of a long sandy peninsula, it is also home to some of the best mainland beaches Belize has to offer. This relaxing village is a good base for either diving offshore or inland trips. If you are lucky or time your trip right, you may see the Whale Shark migration as they pass through these waters from March - May. Placencia is also the home of a local Lobster Festival in the last week of June with two days of dancing, music and eating, of course, lobster! The friendly, laid-back village of Hopkins attracts travellers looking to soak up some sun and take in the Garifuna culture. Whilst the village has grown in popularity, the area is said to have retained its coastal charm and resisted over-commercialisation. For those seeking a beach retreat to end the holiday without leaving the mainland, chose from a variety of hotels in the area.
It is easy to arrive at any of these resorts by road in half a day along the Hummingbird and Southern Highways from either Belize City or San Ignacio and the Cayo District.
Alternatively, short local flights can be arranged to Placencia from Belize City. Both Hopkins and Placencia are a good base from which to take a trip to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the world's first jaguar sanctuary as well as a protected reserve for other cat species such as the puma, ocelot, jaguarundi and margay and many other rare mammals such as agoutis and Baird's tapirs. Dive trips off the coast or out to the southern Cayes are also easily arranged from both areas.
In the far south, discover the Toledo District, best reached by flight to Punta Gorda. This lesser-visited area is home to pristine rainforest, exceptional wildlife viewing and again with a strong Garifuna culture. Once regarded as Belize’s “Forgotten District”, this region will not fail to impress and offers a wide range of accommodation.
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