Last Updated on April 14, 2023
San Ignacio is often overlooked by travelers coming from Guatemala, heading directly to the islands, and they’re missing on something great. The Cayo district is full of hidden gems, unique experiences, and epic adventures.
From river tubing and zip lining to bird watching and visiting Mayan ruins, San Ignacio has a lot to offer to outdoor and culture lovers.
With its vibrant culture, rich history, and breathtaking natural beauty, San Ignacio has become a popular destination for travelers seeking adventure and relaxation alike. Whether you’re exploring the stunning caves, hiking through the rainforest, or experiencing the local cuisine, there is no shortage of things to do in San Ignacio.
Keep on reading for a list of the best things to do in San Ignacio, Belize!
Travel tips: I recommend renting a car in Belize City before heading to San Ignacio so you don’t have to book a tour every time you want to visit something. The main roads are great, but note that most places you’ll want to visit will require a 4W to get there. This is the website I use to find the best car rental deals.
HELPFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP
HELPFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on any links and make a purchase, we’ll get a small commission, at no cost to you.
Best things to do in downtown San Ignacio
Explore the local market
San Ignacio town is known for its bustling outdoor market where you can find a variety of goods, from fresh produce and handmade crafts to clothing and souvenirs.
The markets run every day, but Saturday and Tuesday mornings are the busiest timess, with farmers from all over the district coming here to sell fresh produce. You’ll also find people selling crafts, artwork, and even medicinal herbs.
Don’t hesitate to try out some exotic fruits before seating down at one of the many food stalls where you can try out local dishes and delicacies. You can try fried jack, a typical breakfast food, salbutes, a savory corn cake topped with vegetables and meat, and dukunu.
The San Ignacio market is a great place to soak up local life and one of the best free things to do in San Ignacio.
Visit the Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins
Cahal Pech is the most easily accessible Mayan ruin in San Ignacio. Located on the outskirt of town, Cahal Pech used to be a palatial home for one of the dignitaries and his family. Most of the structures are from the Classic period, but traces of settlement have been dated back as far as 1200 BC.
The furthermost plaza is a maze with multiple rooms and passageways. It’s incredible because, in most Maya cities, you can see what the exterior looked like, but it’s harder to imagine the inside. In Cahal Pech, you can actually see how the interior was organized.
You can stroll around the ruins for an hour or two, try to go in the morning to avoid the heat.
Cahal Pech entrance fee: 10 BZD
How to get there: You can walk from the city center or take a cab. Head towards the roundabout on the way to Benque, once at the roundabout go up the hill via the dirt road.
Visit the Green Iguana Conservation Project
The Green Iguana Conservation Project is an initiative in San Ignacio, Belize, that aims to protect and rehabilitate the green iguana population. Green iguanas are native to Belize, but their population has been declining due to habitat loss, hunting, and the illegal pet trade.
The project is located at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, where you can learn about the biology and behavior of green iguanas, as well as the threats they face. The project also operates a breeding and release program, where captive-bred iguanas are released into the wild to supplement the wild population.
In addition to conservation efforts, the project also provides employment opportunities for local residents, who are trained as guides and caretakers. There, you can take a guided tour, during which they can observe the iguanas up close, learn about their feeding habits and mating behaviors, and even hold a baby iguana.
The Green Iguana Conservation Project is a great way to learn about the importance of conservation efforts in Belize, and to support a local initiative that is making a positive impact on the environment and the community.
Hike the Medicinal Jungle Trail
Right across the Iguana Center, there’s an easy hike through the rainforest you can go on. The resort features 14 acres of rainforest home to 150 species of birds, various wildlife, and 70 species of trees and plant life
It takes about 45 minutes to walk it and you can go with a tour guide from the Green Iguana Exhibit. Your guide can easily spot wildlife and tell you all about the medicinal use of plants.
Enjoy the views from the Hawkesworth Bridge
Spanning the Macal River, connecting San Ignacio to its sister town of Santa Elena, the Hawkesworth Bridge was built in 1949 and is the only suspension bridge in Belize.
The bridge is a popular spot for tourists, who enjoy walking across the bridge and taking in the scenic views of the river and surrounding landscape. Sunset is one of the best times to visit it.
Things to do around San Ignacio
Visit the Mayan Ruins of Caracol
Caracol, an ancient Maya city, located deep into the Belizean jungle, is a fantastic place to discover and one of the best Mayan ruins in San Ignacio.
A lot of structures are yet to be excavated, but what has been unearthed so far is breathtaking. Buildings are usually organized around a plaza. On some of the pyramids, you reach the top only to discover another plaza and more buildings.
The view from the highest pyramid is well worth the climb up. You’re literally in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature and birds singing.
On some structures, you still can see the rooms and the water system. The ball court has been left intact, but the stelae in the middle are replicas.
The carvings found on the side of some pyramids were hidden by Mayas, when a new ruler became king, he would usually destroy the structures or build on top. The carvings are not the original, if you touch it, you’ll notice it’s fiberglass, protecting the stucco sculptures underneath it.
How to get there: No public transportation, you’ll either need to go via a tour (around 100 USD) or with a 4-wheeler. If you go on your own, you’ll need to leave San Ignacio around 7 o’clock to reach the military camp at 9:30, from there you’ll be escorted to the ruins, the convoy back is around 2 PM. Being so close to the border, the area is full of smugglers, and that’s why the military is there. It normally is safe though.
Bring plenty of food and water, there are no shops there.
Caracol entrance fee: 20 BZ
Climb the Pyramids at Xumantunich
Xumantunich is another exceptional Mayan site to visit in Belize. Surrounded by jungle, when you go up the main pyramid, you’ll get a breathtaking view of the surrounding villages and endless nature.
The structures have been well restored, and on one of the pyramids, you can see incredible carvings on each side.
Xunantunich means “Stone Woman,” the original name is unknown. A legend says the ghost of a woman has been seen there multiple times. Dressed in white with glowing eyes, she appears neat the Castillo and disappears into one of the walls.
The settlement started during the ceramic phase of the Pre-Classic period and reached its pinnacle around 670–750 AD when it got abandoned after some kind of battle. Xunantunich was re-established a few decades later and flourished once more.
Xunantunich entrance fee: $10 BZ
How to get there: You can go via a tour, you can drive there (concreted road all the way) or you can take a cab (3-5 BZ) or a bus from San Ignacio to the river-crossing point (the ferry is free) and then, walk the 1-mile to the site (you can hitch a ride with someone). You can hire a guide at the river-crossing point. Keep your eyes open for monkeys on the way.
Explore El Pilar Ruins
El Pilar, located 12 miles northwest of San Ignacio, deep in the jungle near the Guatemalan border, is a Maya city inhabited from the Middle Pre-Classic to the Late Classic. Under excavation, the site is practically the same as when it was first rediscovered.
El Pilar was a major Mayan city during the Preclassic and Classic periods, with evidence of settlement dating back to around 500 BCE. The site was abandoned by the Maya around 1000 CE, and today, it is one of the largest remaining Mayan sites in Belize that has not been extensively excavated.
There, you can explore the site’s ancient ruins and marvel at its impressive architecture, including several plazas, temples, and ball courts. The site is also home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, and you can enjoy hiking along the various trails that wind through the jungle.
The site is unique in that it has been largely left untouched by archaeologists, with many of its structures still covered by vegetation. This makes for a more authentic and immersive experience for visitors, as they can imagine what the site would have looked like during its heyday.
El Pilar is a fascinating and relatively undiscovered archaeological site that offers a glimpse into the ancient Maya civilization and the natural beauty of Belize’s jungle landscape.
To get there, you’ll need a 4-wheeler or to go through a tour.
Cool Down at Rio Frio Cave
On the way to Caracol, you’ll find the Rio Frio Cave. The cave is easily accessible, you don’t have to walk too much. The cave is through and through, you can enter it and explore. Both entrances are huge and let plenty of light in.
It’s one of the best free things to do in San Ignacio!
Swim at the Rio Frio Pools
Part of the gorgeous Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, the pools are also easy to access, it takes around 5 minutes, walking from the parking lot, to reach the water. There are plenty of areas to swim in, some swallow and some deeper. There’s a small waterfall, you can get under it and get a nice massage. Be careful, the rocks are super slippery.
Bring plenty of food and water, there’s nothing there. Most tours to Caracol include a stop to both, the cave, and the pools
Canoe through Barton Creek Cave
Kayaking on the Barton Creek river, through this huge cave, you’ll be amazed from start to finish. If you like the outdoors, an excursion to Barton Creek Cave is a must as it’s one of the best outdoor activities in San Ignacio.
On your way there, you’ll see Mennonite villages, tons of birds, lush vegetation, and beautiful concretions inside the cave.
The cave was first used by the ancient Maya for ritual ceremonies, and evidence of their presence can still be seen today in the form of pottery shards and other artifacts. The cave was later used by the Maya as a burial site, and some skeletal remains have been found within the cave.
Today, you can explore the cave on a guided canoe tour, during which you can admire the impressive stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the clear blue waters of the underground river. The cave is also home to several species of bats and other wildlife, and you may spot them during the tour.
The tour typically takes about 1-2 hours and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, as well as bring a camera to capture the stunning views inside the cave.
Barton Creek Cave is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to San Ignacio, offering a unique and unforgettable experience of Belize’s natural beauty and ancient history.
Tour the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM Cave)
One of Belize’s best attractions, the ATM Cave is an intricate cave system and a sacred place for Mayas. Apart from the natural beauty of the cave, the highlight of the visit is the human remains found there.
Mayas used the cave to make human sacrifices and worship the Gods. One of the full skeletons found inside the cave is called the Crystal Virgin because of the way the bones were calcified.
A lot of artifacts such as pottery are also found inside the cave. To protect it, the number of people allowed in each day is limited, and you cannot bring anything inside the cave. Even shoes are forbidden.
It’s one of the top San Ignacio unique experiences where you’ll get to climb, swim, and crawl to visit one of the country’s most famous landmarks.
Discover the Mayan Ruins of Tikal
Tikal is an ancient Mayan city located in Guatemala, just a few hours’ drive from San Ignacio, Belize. A day trip to Tikal from San Ignacio is a popular excursion, offering the chance to explore one of the most significant Mayan archaeological sites in Central America.
To visit Tikal National Park from San Ignacio, you can arrange a guided tour that includes transportation to and from the site, as well as a guided tour of the ruins. The drive from San Ignacio to Tikal takes approximately 2-3 hours, depending on traffic and border crossing times.
Once at Tikal, you can explore the site’s impressive pyramids, temples, and plazas, including the iconic Temple of the Great Jaguar and the Temple of the Masks. You can also climb to the top of some of the structures for stunning views of the surrounding jungle.
Make sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as the site can be hot and humid.
A day trip to Tikal from San Ignacio is a great way to experience the ancient Mayan culture and the natural beauty of Guatemala’s jungle landscape. It is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in archaeology and history.
Stroll around the Belize Botanic Gardens
The Belize Botanic Gardens is a beautiful botanical garden located just outside of San Ignacio, Belize. The garden covers an area of approximately 45 acres and is home to a wide variety of plants, including many native to Belize.
There you can explore the various themed gardens, including the orchid garden, the medicinal garden, the cactus garden, and the palm garden. The gardens are also home to a butterfly house and a hummingbird garden, where visitors can observe these beautiful creatures up close.
The garden is a great place to learn about Belize’s rich biodiversity, as many of the plants on display have cultural, medicinal, and ecological importance. The garden also offers guided tours, activities, and educational programs for visitors of all ages.
The Belize Botanic Gardens is also a center for conservation and research. The garden is actively involved in the conservation of Belize’s plant species and serves as a botanical research center for scientists and researchers.
A visit to the Belize Botanic Gardens is a must for anyone interested in plants, gardening, and conservation. The garden offers a peaceful and educational escape from the hustle and bustle of San Ignacio and is a great way to connect with nature while learning about Belize’s rich cultural and ecological heritage.
If you don’t have your own vehicle, the best option is to book a tour from San Ignacio, including visits to other places in the area. You can also hire a cab or hitchhike.
- Adults US $7.50
- Children US $ 5.00 (7 -12)
- Children 6 and under free
Guided Tour (1.5 hrs) – Includes General Admission:
- Adults US $15.00
- Children US $ 7.50 (7 -12)
See Birds of Prey at the Belize Raptor Center
The Belize Raptor Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of Belize’s birds of prey. The center is located close to San Ignacio, Belize, and offers visitors the opportunity to learn about these magnificent birds and their importance to the local ecosystem.
There you can observe and learn about several species of birds of prey, including hawks, eagles, and owls. The center offers guided tours and educational programs that focus on the birds’ behavior, habitat, and conservation efforts.
In addition to providing educational experiences for visitors, the Belize Raptor Center also plays a critical role in rehabilitating injured or orphaned birds of prey. The center’s team of trained professionals work tirelessly to provide medical care, food, and shelter for these birds, with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into the wild.
A visit to the Belize Raptor Center is a unique and educational experience for anyone interested in birds of prey, wildlife conservation, and animal welfare. The center’s mission to rehabilitate and protect these magnificent birds is an important part of Belize’s efforts to preserve its natural heritage.
Check out the tour schedule before heading there, most days, prior booking is required.
Be Amazed at the Green Hills Butterfly Ranch
The Green Hills Butterfly Ranch is a unique attraction located in the hills outside of San Ignacio, Belize. The ranch is dedicated to the conservation and breeding of tropical butterflies, and visitors can observe these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
The butterfly ranch is home to over 30 species of butterflies, including the iconic Blue Morpho butterfly, known for its striking blue wings. You can explore the ranch’s gardens and trails, observing the butterflies as they flit and flutter around the flowers and trees.
Entrance Fee: Adults: USD $20 – Children: USD $10
Swim in Big Rock Falls
Big Rock Falls is a stunning waterfall located in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, approximately 30 kilometers southwest of San Ignacio, Belize. The waterfall drops over 150 feet into a deep pool, surrounded by lush vegetation and towering trees.
There you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and cool off in the refreshing waters of the pool below the waterfall. The area around the waterfall is also a great spot for picnics, hiking, and birdwatching.
The hike to Big Rock Falls takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour, depending on fitness level and pace. The trail can be steep and challenging in some places, but the beautiful scenery along the way makes it well worth the effort.
The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, where Big Rock Falls is located, is also home to a variety of other natural attractions, including other waterfalls, hot springs, and caves. If you have your own car, you can easily spend a full day exploring the reserve’s natural wonders and enjoying the beautiful scenery.
A visit to Big Rock Falls is a must for anyone visiting San Ignacio or the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. The waterfall’s stunning beauty and tranquil surroundings make it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Here are a couple of tours you can take that include the hike to the fall:
- Barton Creek Cave Canoeing and Big Rock Falls Combo with Lunch – Click here to book this tour.
- Caracol Day Trip & Mountain Pine Ridge from San Ignacio – Click here to book this tour.
- Mountain Pine Ridge Tour – Click here to book this tour.
- Xunantunich Maya Temple and Big Rock Falls combo – Click here to book this tour.
See the Magnificent 1000 Foot Falls
The 1000 Foot Falls is a spectacular waterfall located in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in Belize, approximately 30 kilometers southwest of San Ignacio. As the name suggests, the waterfall drops over 1000 feet (305 meters) from the top of a cliff, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in Central America.
You can easily get to the main viewing platform but if you want to get to the bottom of the fall, it’s recommended to hire a guide and have a great fitness level as this is a challenging hike.
Horseback Ride to the Forgotten Jungle City
Go on a horseback riding tour to visit Minanha, an ancient Maya city located in the Belizean jungle, approximately 35 kilometers northwest of San Ignacio. The city was one of the largest in the Maya world during its peak in the Classic period (250-900 AD) and is known for its impressive architectural structures and intricate stone carvings.
You can explore the ruins of Minanha with a guide, learning about the history and culture of the ancient Maya civilization. The site features several impressive structures, including a large pyramid known as Structure 9N-56, which is one of the largest and most impressive pyramids in the Maya world.
In addition to its architectural wonders, Minanha is also home to a variety of wildlife, including howler monkeys, jaguars, and a variety of bird species. You can enjoy the natural beauty of the area while exploring the ruins and learning about the history of the Maya civilization.
Visiting Minanha is an unforgettable experience for anyone interested in history, culture, and nature. The site offers a unique glimpse into the ancient Maya world and the impressive achievements of this once-great civilization.
Stay in the Jungle
Belize has many beautiful resorts for a fraction of the price you’d pay in the US and staying at a luxurious jungle lodge is one of the best things to do in San Ignacio. Here are a few great options:
Table Rock Jungle Lodge
The Table Rock Jungle Lodge is a beautiful eco-lodge located in the heart of the Belizean jungle, just a short drive from San Ignacio. The lodge offers a variety of accommodations, ranging from rustic cabins to luxury villas, all set amidst the lush greenery and natural beauty of the area.
Staying at Table Rock Jungle Lodge offers visitors the chance to experience the natural beauty and biodiversity of the Belizean jungle, while also enjoying comfortable accommodations and modern amenities. The lodge offers a variety of activities and excursions, including hiking, birdwatching, cave exploration, and visits to nearby Maya ruins.
One of the highlights of staying at Table Rock Jungle Lodge is the opportunity to enjoy delicious, locally-sourced meals at the lodge’s restaurant. The lodge’s chefs create a variety of Belizean and international dishes, using fresh, locally-grown ingredients and traditional cooking techniques.
In addition to its comfortable accommodations and exciting activities, Table Rock Jungle Lodge is committed to sustainable tourism and environmental conservation. The lodge operates using eco-friendly practices and is dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and biodiversity of the area.
Overall, staying at Table Rock Jungle Lodge is a great way to experience the beauty and culture of Belize, while also enjoying a comfortable and sustainable vacation in the heart of the jungle.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek
The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a luxurious eco-lodge located in the heart of the Belizean jungle, near San Ignacio. The lodge offers a variety of accommodations, ranging from thatched-roof cottages to luxurious villas, all set amidst the lush greenery and natural beauty of the area.
One of the highlights of staying at The Lodge at Chaa Creek is the lodge’s commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation. The lodge operates using eco-friendly practices, including the use of solar power, rainwater harvesting, and composting. The lodge is also dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and biodiversity of the area, and operates a butterfly farm and natural history center on site.
In addition to its comfortable accommodations and exciting activities, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is also known for its excellent dining. The lodge’s restaurant offers a variety of Belizean and international dishes, using fresh, locally-grown ingredients and traditional cooking techniques.
Take a Day Trip To Crystal Cave and Blue Hole National Park
A day trip to Crystal Cave and Blue Hole National Park is an exciting and adventurous way to explore the natural beauty of Belize. Located near the town of Belmopan, the park is home to several natural wonders, including the Crystal Cave and the Blue Hole, a stunning natural swimming hole.
Crystal Cave is a unique underground cave system that is filled with sparkling crystals and ancient artifacts. You can explore the cave with a guide, learning about the geology and history of the area while admiring the stunning formations and crystal-clear pools.
After exploring Crystal Cave, you can take a refreshing dip in the nearby Blue Hole. This natural swimming hole is surrounded by lush greenery and features crystal-clear blue water that is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or just relaxing.
In addition to Crystal Cave and the Blue Hole, Blue Hole National Park also offers a variety of hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities. You can explore the park’s lush jungle, spotting a variety of bird and animal species along the way.
A day trip to Blue Hole National Park is a must-do for anyone who loves nature and adventure. The park’s unique natural wonders and diverse wildlife make it an unforgettable destination for visitors to Belize.
If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can easily book a tour from San Ignacio – click here to book your Day Trip To Crystal Cave and Blue Hole National Park!
Go on a Cultural Tour
The Maya Village and Mennonites of Barton Creek Cultural Tour will take you through two of Belize’s most prominent cultures, the Mayas and the Mennonites. During the tour, you’ll see local handicrafts at several women’s collectives, learn about Maya farming techniques, and enjoy a traditional local lunch, before visiting a Mennonites community to learn about their way of life.
Go on a Pontoon Boat Waterfall Cruise
For something more relaxing, take a cruise down the river through the rainforest, stopping by waterfalls where you can swim and cliff jump. During this full-day excursion from San Ignacio, you’ll stop by 3 waterfalls (Un-Named, Twin Falls, and Rio-Frio Waterfalls) and get a delicious, cooked-aboard, lunch.
Zipline over the rainforest
Ziplining over the Belizean rainforest is a unique experience. San Ignacio is known for its exciting ziplining experiences that allow visitors to soar above the lush jungle canopy and take in stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Here are some of the top ziplining options in San Ignacio:
Calico Jack’s Zipline – This popular attraction offers several different ziplining tours, ranging from a basic tour to a more challenging experience with longer, faster lines. Visitors can also combine zip lining with other adventure activities, such as rappelling and cave tubing.
Bocawina Adventures – Located near San Ignacio, Bocawina Adventures offers several different zip lining tours, including a thrilling “extreme” tour that features the longest zip line in Belize at over 2,300 feet in length.
Overall, ziplining in San Ignacio is a must-do for anyone seeking adventure and excitement in the heart of the Belizean jungle.
If you don’t a car, several tours include ziplining, like this Cave Tubing and Jungle Zip Lining Through Belize’s Rainforest.
Try to Spot Monkeys at the Yaxha Archaeological Site
Yaxha is an ancient Maya city located in the northern Peten region of Guatemala, close to the border with Belize. It was one of the largest and most powerful cities in the Maya world during the Classic period, and it is known for its impressive architecture, extensive network of causeways and reservoirs, and its strategic location overlooking the nearby lakes and wetlands.
Today, Yaxha is a popular destination for visitors interested in Maya archaeology and history. The site features a variety of well-preserved structures and monuments, including several large pyramids, palaces, ball courts, and a well-preserved astronomical observatory. One of the highlights of visiting Yaxha is climbing to the top of Temple 216, which offers stunning views of the surrounding jungle and nearby Lake Yaxha.
You can explore the site on foot, following a network of trails and causeways that connect the different structures and plazas. Guided tours are also available, offering in-depth information and insights into the history and culture of the ancient Maya.
Overall, a visit to Yaxha is a fascinating way to learn about the ancient Maya civilization and to explore one of the most important archaeological sites in Central America.
If you need to book a tour, click here to check out this Yaxha Archaeological Focus Day Tour with Monkeys Spotting.
Get your Adrenaline Pumping with an ATV or 4WD Tour
Explore the rugged terrain of Elijio Panti National Park and the lush forest of the Cayo district, visit the local villages of Cristo Rey and San Antonio, and take a refreshing dip in a gorgeous waterfall. A fun day, filled with adventures through beautiful landscapes.
Adventuring at Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch
A day trip to Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch from San Ignacio is a great way to experience the natural beauty and adventure activities of the Belizean jungle, without having to stay overnight at the eco-lodge.
You can take a scenic drive from San Ignacio to Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch, which takes about 45 minutes. Once at the lodge, you can participate in a variety of adventure activities, including cave exploration, zip-lining, and jungle hikes.
One of the most popular activities at Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch is cave tubing, which involves floating down a river inside a cave system. Visitors can also go horseback riding, mountain biking, or take a dip in the lodge’s natural swimming pool.
The lodge also offers guided hikes and nature walks, allowing visitors to learn about the ecology and biodiversity of the Belizean jungle.
If you’re looking for something more adventurous, you can also book a tour from San Ignacio to go waterfall climbing inside a cave (click here to book) or rappeling down the Actun Loch Tunich Natural Sink Hole.
Visiting Belize on a tight budget?
As you might have understood, Belize is not a cheap country to travel to. Most “tourist attractions” aren’t reachable by public transportation, and some are so isolated than even hitchhiking is not an option.
So you’ll need to go via tours, usually around 100 USD each. If you don’t have the budget (or the time) to visit all the places listed above I would recommend visiting at least the Caracol and the ATM Cave tour. Keep in mind that you can always negotiate the prices.
You can also do Xunantunich and Cahal Pech on your own, which won’t cost much.
Depending on how many you are, renting a 4W might be a good option as well.
Where to stay in San Ignacio
From backpackers to luxurious jungle retreats, San Ignacio offers a large range of accommodations. Here is a couple you can check out:
Budget: Bella’s Backpackers Cayo – comfy hostel, clean, common area, hammocks, kitchen, and wifi – Around $15 US a night.
Mid-range: Pine Ridge Lodge – 19 miles from San Ignacio, surrounded by nature and tranquility, great restaurant on-site, offers tours, a great place for trekking and bird watching – Around $80 US a night.
In the city: The Log Cab-Inn – beautiful settings with bungalows surrounded by a lush garden, outdoor pool, intimate vibes, and tasty restaurant.
Luxury: Ka’ana Resort & Spa – great resort on the outskirt of San Ignacio, in a secluded but accessible location, spacious rooms with terrace, wifi, an infinity pool, organic restaurant.
In the jungle: Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve – located in the heart of the rainforest, this resort is great for trekking there are several trails and waterfalls nearby, pool, yoga classes, private airstrip, bar, and restaurant.
How to get to San Ignacio
San Ignacio is located in the western part of Belize, close to the border with Guatemala. There are several ways to get to San Ignacio, depending on your starting point and travel preferences:
Fly to Belize City and take a bus: Many visitors to San Ignacio arrive in Belize City, which has an international airport with regular flights from major cities in the United States, Canada, and Central America. From Belize City, you can take a bus to San Ignacio, which takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. Buses depart regularly from the Belize City bus terminal, and the cost is around $8-10 USD per person.
Drive: If you have access to a vehicle or are planning to rent a car in Belize, you can drive to San Ignacio from Belize City. The journey takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours and follows the Western Highway, which is well-paved and easy to navigate. Note that there are several checkpoints and speed bumps along the way, and you may encounter heavy traffic near Belmopan. This is my favorite car rental service website for great deals.
Private transfer: If you prefer a more comfortable and convenient option, you can arrange a private transfer from Belize City to San Ignacio. Many hotels and tour operators offer this service, which typically costs around $100-150 USD for a one-way transfer. Click here to book your private transfer.
San Ignacio FAQ
What is San Ignacio Belize known for?
San Ignacio is a town in western Belize, located in the Cayo District. It is known for its rich history and culture, natural beauty, and proximity to several important archaeological sites and natural attractions. It’s a great destination for outdoor adventures and visiting Mayan ruins.
Is San Ignacio Belize worth it?
Yes, San Ignacio is definitely worth visiting! The town and its surrounding area offer a wide range of cultural and natural attractions that make it a popular destination for travelers to Belize. Whether you’re into culture, nature, adventure, history, or archaeology, you’ll find something amazing to do.
How much is a taxi from Belize City to San Ignacio?
A taxi from Belize City is around 100 USD one way. Try to book a private transfer in advance.
Do you need a car in San Ignacio Belize?
You can visit a couple of places with public transportation and take tours to visit the others. But, renting a 4-wheeler will give you more freedom and flexibility.
How many days in San Ignacio, Belize?
I would recommend spending at least 3-4 days in San Ignacio to fully experience the town and its surroundings. However, if you have more time available, you can easily spend a week or more exploring the area and taking day trips to nearby destinations.
Is San Ignacio, Belize safe?
San Ignacio, like any other destination, has its share of crime, but it is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. The town has a strong tourism industry, and the local authorities have implemented measures to ensure the safety of visitors.
However, as with any travel destination, it is important to exercise caution and take common-sense precautions to avoid becoming a victim of crime.
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