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Altogether, Placencia has about 75 licensed tour guides. Most of the guides, except the fishing guides, work on a contract basis for resorts or tour operators. These tour guides and operators offer dive and snorkel trips to Laughing Bird or other cayes and to the Barrier Reef, wildlife tours to Monkey River, birding tours to Red Bank, hiking trips to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, and excursions to Mayan ruins such as Mayflower, Nim Li Punit, or Lubaantun.
The larger resorts on the peninsula, including Inn at Robert's Grove, Turtle Inn, Nautical Inn, and others, offer a variety of tours and trips, using tour guides they have come to trust.
Mary Toy's Destinations Belize is a full-service tour and travel operation, offering fishing, boating, sailing, and other trips with some of the best guides in the region, along with hotel reservations. Other tour operators include Caribbean Tours and Joy Tours.
For first-time visitors, taking a couple of sea and land tours is a good way to become familiar with what the area offers. If you have a rental car, you can do some of the trips, such as to Cockscomb, Mayflower, and the ruins near Punta Gorda, on your own. To book tours and trips, check with your hotel or walk along the sidewalk in Placencia Village, where several of the tour operators have small shops. You can also check with the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) visitor information office. You'll probably pay a little less by booking in the village instead of at your hotel, but the savings may not be worth the effort.
For the more adventurous traveler, Toadal Adventures, one of the top operators on the Southern Coast, has excellent biking, hiking, and kayaking tours.
Day trips to Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun Mayan sites near Punta Gorda cost around BZ$150-BZ$160 per person, while day trips to the Mayflower ruins and waterfalls run about BZ$120. Half-day snorkeling trips inside the reef, to Laughing Bird Caye and other snorkel spots, are around BZ$100-BZ$110. A full day of snorkeling on the reef is around BZ$120-BZ$130. Boat trips to Monkey River are around BZ$90, while a boat excursion on the Placencia Lagoon to look for manatees is around BZ$80. Cockscomb trips run about BZ$60. Most full-day trips include a picnic lunch. If you're going to an area with an admission fee, such as Cockscomb, the fee is additional.
Destinations Belize. Owner Mary Toy, a former attorney in the U.S., has been offering tours in the Placencia area since 1998. Destinations Belize is especially strong in arranging guided fishing trips, but it also offers land and sea tours of all kinds. In addition, Mary Toy can help with overall Belize trip planning, including booking hotels and transportation. Toy has been a leader of the Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development, an organization dedicated to responsible and well-planned development in the Placencia area. Placencia. 253/4018 or 610/4718. www.destinationsbelize.com.
Joy Tours. Joy Tours offers a wide range of land and sea tours. Sea tours include whale shark trips, fishing, diving, kayaking, and snorkeling. Land tours include hiking in Cockscomb and other destinations near Placencia. Placencia. 253/3325. www.belizewithjoy.com.
Toadal Adventures Belize. Dave Vernon's Toadal Adventure provides top-notch multiday sea and river expedition kayak trips in southern Belize. Toadal Adventures can customize trips to your specific schedule and interests. Dave and Deb Vernon also operate a budget guesthouse, Deb & Dave's Last Resort, and a more upscale lodging, The North, in Placencia village. Point Placencia, near sidewalk, Placencia. 523/3207. www.placencia.com/Members/Toadaladventure.html.
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