San Ignacio, Belize

Photo by
Mattfromtexas

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What to See

Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM)

ATM Tour with Mayawalk Tours
by Cameronjdaniel about 6 years ago

If you are wanting to do the ATM tour, try to go with Mayawalk Tours in the main street on San Ignacio and, if possible, ask to go with Martin. While on our tour, he was incredibly insightful with regards to the traditional medicinal plants found in the jungle and offered us a great introduction to some Maya beliefs and rituals whilst inside the caves. There were other tour groups simply trudging through the cave with guides who clearly did not respect the environment as much as Martin did. Definitely a tour well-worth the money!

ATM Caves is a Top Five Travel Experience
by Mattfromtexas about 7 years ago
ATM Caves is a Top Five Travel Experience

I can't believe I almost skipped this!! It is now on my top 5 travel experiences of all time! The day begins early with an hour long bumpy ride to the edge of the jungle. Then you follow an easy trail through thick rainforest that crosses through a river three times for about a mile and a half (bring shoes that can be totally submerged). Next you hop into the river and follow it up into one of the most beautiful cave entrances imaginable. Then you swim, squeeze, and crawl your way into the cave until you are about half a mile in. Next, you climb up a series of ledges emerging into a series of naturally carved rooms used by the Mayans for making offerings to the Gods. The entire trip takes the better part of the day, but is so amazing!

Xunantunich

Xunantunich Ruins
by Cameronjdaniel about 5 years ago

From San Ignacaio, you can cycle, or take the bus, to the ruins of Xunantunich. These ruins which are right on the border with Guatemala (you can actually see into Guatemala with nice weather) are easily accessible from San Ignacio and well worth a visit while in the area. Upon getting to the small town on the Western Highway, San Jose Succotz, take the hand-cranked ferry across the river and head up the hill towards the entrance for the ruins.

What to Do

Around San Ignacio

Take a bike ride out to Spanish Lookout, a mennonite community
by Cameronjdaniel about 5 years ago

Rent a bike in central San Ignacio and take a ride out through the surrounding villages, eventually ending up in the Mennonite community of Spanish Lookout. From the central market, continue following Joseph Andrew Drive (running adjacent to the river) past the Midas Resort until you reach a suspension bridge over the river. After crossing the suspension bridge, turn to the right when you reach the next main road and follow this through the small village of Santa Familia. If you continue on this road, you will eventually reach a crossroads for Spanish Lookout (on the left) just after a turn to the right that leads you to a hand-drawn ferry which crosses the river heading back towards the Western Highway (Belmopan - San Ignacio). This ride can take upwards of three hours, so ensure you have enough water and sun protection as there is very little shade out on the roads through the small villages.

Where to Stay

Camping

Chilled-out, just outside of central San Ignacio - Riverside Inn
by Cameronjdaniel about 6 years ago

We stayed with Bing (or Mr Bing depending on who tells you to go there) for close to a week in June, 2013. He has a number of private rooms and two cabanas on his property, and also allows camping amongst his fruit trees. He is an extremely friendly, accommodating and helpful host, who loved to have a chat, and help wherever he could. Not 100% sure of the private room prices, but camping was about $10BZ per night, per person. The property is right on the river and is a lot quieter than anywhere in town. Ask around in town, and someone should be able to direct you there (about 5-10min walking).

Central

Centrally Located, Spotless with Hot Showers
by Hacked By of youtube.com/fırlamaadam about 7 years ago
Centrally Located, Spotless with Hot Showers

The Tropicool Hotel is a great place to serve as a base for your adventures in San Ignacio. It's located behind Pacz Tours on the main drag, but the reception is actually a few doors down at the gift shop. The hot showers were an added bonus. Tropicool provides their guests with towels and soap, and keeps the place tidy and clean. Rates are BZD$30 (USD$15) for a private with shared bath.

What to Eat

Other

Need a taste of Texas while in Belize?
by Cameronjdaniel about 5 years ago

On the Western Highway about halfway between Belmopan and San Ignacio (mile marker 58.5), there's a great roadside restaurant in front of the 'Hot Mama's' hot sauce factory, that serves Texas BBQ rolls and sandwiches. A great stop if you're passing through and need a quick bite to eat!

Restaurants

Great fresh juices for BZD$1.25
by Hacked By of youtube.com/fırlamaadam about 7 years ago
Great fresh juices for BZD$1.25

Mincho's serves up some thirst-quenching natural juices. Choose from their list of watermelon, papaya, orange, lime, coconut and horchata. Drinks are only BZD$1.25. We didn't try the menu though their garnaches have been vouched for.

Street Food

3 Delicious Tacos for BZD$1 ($0.50)
by Hacked By of youtube.com/fırlamaadam about 7 years ago
3 Delicious Tacos for BZD$1 ($0.50)

So spicy. So good. If you're in San Ignacio, head to Benque Viejo Rd and look for the taco stand across the street from Cayo Twist. Ask for Gloria to know you're in the right place. The tacos are stuffed with shredded chicken, cabbage or onion, and a delicious green sauce. I don't know what kind of appetite you guys have, but I put down 12 myself. Gloria's is open from 6:30am until 10:00pm every day.

Where to Shop

Food Markets

Saturday Market in San Ignacio
by Mattfromtexas about 7 years ago

Every Saturday, all the local farmers and handicraft artists around Cayo come to San Ignacio for Market Day. The day gets started early around here with booths being setup and ready for business by 5:30am. The market is right next to the bus station and has over 100 vendors, including fruit/vegetables, meats, street foods, toys, handicrafts, art, and other random stuff.

Cayo Market Every Saturday Beginning at 5:30am
by Hacked By of youtube.com/fırlamaadam about 7 years ago
Cayo Market Every Saturday Beginning at 5:30am

On Saturday, you can find a dizzying array of street food, produce, orchids, souvenirs, household goods, homemade rum, meat, fish, and everything else you can think of at the San Ignacio market. The market draws in farmers, artisans, and other vendors from the region, including the Mennonites, who are known for their sausage, dairy products, and produce. Head toward the tents near the main bus terminal and bring cash.