Back by popular demand! Its Cheap Eats ($10bzd or less) Placencia, updated for 2023! Find loads of fabulous food on an itty bitty budget. Sure, there are lots of incredible dining options to splurge on (like this 4-course, sustainable seafood dinner on the beach, or this cooking class that culminates with a traditional cultural dish you help prepare!) but there are so many inexpensive and authentic bites you should seek out as well. Reserve your cash for a few of Placencia’s top tours (like chocolate making, cave kayaking, or snorkeling) and save money with this guide to eating out for under five US dollars. Here are just some of our favorite budget bites in Placencia.
Start your day right and fuel up for adventure! The it business to open in 2022 was a coffee shop so this 1-square-mile village now has a somewhat absurd amount of cafes but… whatever! Whether you snag coffee and a pastry, natural juice and a tamale, or a heaping plate of dalla tacos from a roadside stand you won’t have to fork over too much cash. My top morning choices are:
The quintessential taco stand, Carmen’s churns out tacos, burritos, and fry jacks. She has a large loyal customer base because she’s one of the best. I absolutely love the egg burrito here with bean, cheese, and a bit of salsa– its so good! For $4 you simply can’t beat it.
A new addition to the sidewalk, Hibiscus Cafe is just next to the Barefoot Beach Bar entrance. Serving breakfast all day they have fry jacks and burritos but also yogurt parfaits, bagels, waffles and pancakes. Basically ever item on the menu is under $10.
Angel Delight’s Bakery
Beyond just your average bakery, Angel Delights does more than just pastry, breads, and cakes. How about a decadent cinnamon roll ($5), gourmet muffins ($6), or breakfast sandwiches ($6)?! Perfect to either grab-and-go on your way out on tours for the day or to have in-house with a cup of coffee. I know they’re over the cap for this post but I just have to mention that the Sub Sandwiches they do for lunch are really good too and for $15, a great value to boot.
Traditionally, the mid-day meal is Belizean’s biggest so you can expect to find a multitude of places selling the tried-and-true plate of Rice & Beans. A rich blend of bean and rice in coconut milk served with savory, fall-off-the-bone Stew Chicken and a side of coleslaw typically. If you get a really good Rice & Beans… well, there’s simply nothing better! Here are some places I love for lunch:
A family operation, Mim’s is a lunch-time hot spot. The quintessential stew chicken, rice and beans will almost always be on offer here but check their daily special board for other offerings. Sometimes they have fried fish, meatballs, stewed pork, or what have you but I usually just go for the classic.
++Other similar lunch places to carry away a hearty rice & beans would be- Placencia Cool Spot (with legendary Mr. Q manning the grill) in front of the basketball court, L&A takeaway next to Secret Garden, Anne’s Kitchen on Sere street, Kendra’s Kitchen on the side-sidewalk between Ming’s market and the Sidewalk, and Driftwood Cafe on the sidewalk near Literary Lizard.
Reyna’s Pibil Tacos
Newly constructed bamboo taco/ veggie stand between the Police Station and ReMax Office. People are lining up for the Pibil tacos from here every day. Pibil is slow roasted and soft, shredded pork. 3 for $5. They also have Stuffed Jacks for $6 and a variety of other munchies (fry tacos, hot dogs, garnaches)
Most dine-in dinners won’t fit the criteria of my ‘cheap eats’ for this particular post but that isn’t to say that Placencia’s dinner options aren’t affordable-they are! And I think we have a lot of great value-for-money options like full lobster dinners for $45bz (can you get a lobster dinner back home for under $30us? I doubt it). But I set the $10 and under rule so here they are:
Little blue wooden cabana on the sidewalk between Brisas Oceana and Art & Soul Gallery. Burritos, Garnaches, fry tacos, stuff jacks and more. My favorites are the chicken Salbutes and the deep fried Panades. On the weekends they have Salpicon, which is really flavorful- it’s like ceviche but with beef instead of seafood.
Sunset Sweet Stop
In Myra’s yard on Sunset Pointe rd, you can’t miss it just look for the picnic tables under the bistro lights. All the food is bomb here but Myra makes my favorite jalapeño poppers in Placencia (done right with shredded chicken and cheese inside battered and deep-fried jalapeños- a lot of people can’t make these right but hers are spot-on) and she has a pineapple dipping sauce for them if you’re like me and love the flavor combo of sweet-heat-savory. The cover photo I used for this post is Myra’s Salbutes– soft fried corn tortilla covered with cabbage and lettuce slaw, stew chicken, salsa and jalapeños slices $8 for 4 pieces.
Taste Belize Village Farm Dark Chocolate Fudge
I’ve made no secret about this… if I were on Death Row and had to choose my last meal, this is the dessert I would pick. This super rich but not too sweet fudge is organic cacao farm-to-your-freaking-mouth, so smooth and heavy with crunchy bits of cacao nibs on top for texture.
You scream, I scream, we all scream. Nothing better than a cold sweet treat on a hot and humid day. Historically I have not been enamored with Belize’s ice cream options aside from Tuti Fruti’s gelato (on the road across from the basketball court, below Rick’s Cafe). Tuti Fruti still is and probably always will be the reigning champ in this category. Their product is simply next level (I mean- real Italian gelato in Belize, who would have thought!) but now we have two other worthy competitors in the game. Bamboyaz on the Tipsy Strip serves lactose free and soy based ice creams for lactose intolerant folks or vegans– that’s different! And the newly constructed ChillPoint near the Placencia Sign carries 24 flavors of Belizean-made ice cream.
Brewed Awakening’s Seaweed Shakes
These dang shakes will always make my list of top things to try while you’re here. So. Dang. Good. Sweet and silky smooth– you would never drink it and think “seaweed.” They’re made with locally sourced, organic, aquacultured (I think that’s a word) Eucheuma Seaweed that is truly a ‘super food.’ The seaweed is high in protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, soluble fiber, iron, and probably a lot more! I guess it loses a bit of its healthy-food-credibility when its blended with chocolate and condensed milk but I’m not complaining… I LOVE these. $9.50 and choose from dozens of flavors. Brewed Awakenings has moved- their new location is down near the Pier upstairs from Tiburon Rum.
Cinnamon Rolls from John the Bakerman
I don’t find this a consistent place to procure sweets but when John the Bakerman does his cinnamon rolls you have to stop and get one. Usually in the late afternoon when it’s not to hot to have the ovens going or if you pre-order and set a day and time. Find him down the path next to Ming’s market toward the beach.
Random snacky bits you have to try if you can find (or they find you)
Plantain or Casava Chips
Preferably you want these uber fresh from a roaming street vendor but if you don’t see any then all the shops carry them. Pick the ones in the unmarked clear plastic for $1.50 each. They’ll be lightly salted and crunchy- perfect on their own or to accompany salsa and ceviche.
Jamaican Beef Patties
Okay, she doesn’t make them all the time BUT if you’re walking past Omar’s Creole Grub and see Cara’s chalkboard sign on the sidewalk advertising Jamaican Beef Patties then do yourself a favor and duck down that little alley next to the main restaurant to get yourself one (or more!) of these. Accept no imitations- Lil Bite’s is the best beef patty you can get. If she isn’t making beef patties on a particular day, you’d be just as lucky to snag her conch fritters instead. $3 each
Camille’s Powder Buns and Coconut Crust
Across from Taste Belize there is a delightful little takeaway shop I’ll describe as Pastry +. They have baked goods like cakes, buns, tartlets, and pastry but they also have burgers, fried chicken, wings, and other things. My favs are the crumbly, slightly sweet powder buns and any of the coconut treats– whether its coconut crust, coconut fudge, coconut tarts- I’ll take them all!
A lot of visitors miss our many tropical fruit selections because they’re used to shopping for produce in big Grocery Stores and here our shops don’t carry much in the way of fresh fruit or veg– that’s what the vegetable stands are for. We have the typical tropical selections you’d think of: pineapple, watermelon, bananas, oranges (though they are green not orange). But branch out and try something less familiar: star fruit, mamey, jicama, malay apples! Browse the selections and ask for help identifying if you need to. My favorite veggie stand is Clive’s next to the basketball court and across from Tuti Fruti, they’re open every day and get new delivery on Tuesdays and Fridays. If you’re feeling adventurous you could even forage some fruit for free depending on the season. Placencia has an abundance of mangoes, seagrapes, and cocoplum you could probably find quite easily.
Do you have a favorite cheap eat that wasn’t on the list? Let us know in the comments!