Best Places to Eat, Stay, and Play in Belize’s Cayo District

by Khaila Gentle
big rock falls San Ignacio Resort Hotel

There’s a lot to take in when in Belize’s Cayo district: wide expanses of forest, rolling hills, and jade green rivers. Not to mention vibrant towns and sleepy villages. And how could we ever leave out the many delectable bites?

From the adventurer, to the cultural experience seeker, to the nature lover, this massive district—Belize’s largest—draws a wide variety of travelers. In the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena alone there are tons of enticing cafes, romantic restaurants, picturesque landscapes, and exciting outdoor pursuits.

Not sure where to go or what to do? Here are some of the best places to eat, stay, and play in the Cayo district.

What to Do

Butterfly Falls in the Cayo District. Source: Belize Tourism Board

There’s no shortage of things to do in the Cayo district, no matter what kind of experience you’re seeking. For those seeking solitude and rejuvenation, make the journey into the magnificent Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve where countless waterfalls, swimming holes, and hiking trails await.


Those wanting to experience the beauty of Belize’s vibrant people and settings, take a tour of the twin towns, San Ignacio and Santa Elena. In San Ignacio, good eats and memorable encounters await. Relax near the Macal River. Take a trip to the Saturday market. Tour the famous Burns Avenue, or visit the Cahal Pech Archaeological Site.

Where to Eat

Pizza anyone? Photo courtesy of Guava Limb Cafe

Did we mention there are tons of good eats in Cayo? Whether you’re craving quintessential Belizean cuisine or international gastronomic delights, there are restaurants, mom and pop shops, and street food stalls that cater to every palate.

Inside San Ignacio, Guava Limb is the place to go for an elegant night on the town. For those seeking a taste of Belize, try Hode’s Restaurant just a short distance away. Pop’s Restaurant is the crowd favorite for Breakfast. And for a hot cup of coffee or a refreshing frappe try Vivian’s Cafe.

In the village of San Jose, Succotz, Benny’s Kitchen is a popular spot, especially for those seeking a hearty meal after exploring Xunantunich.

Where to Stay

Photo courtesy of San Ignacio Resort Hotel

The San Ignacio Resort Hotel provides guests with the perfect launching pad for any planned activities, whether that includes a day touring the twin towns or some cave and Maya ruin exploring.

It’s conveniently located in the heart of San Ignacio Town, but provides all the comfort and experiences of a resort nestled in the forest. Each of their 27 luxury rooms and suites offer stunning views of the hillside, the forest, or their lush garden.

Here, you don’t have to go far for exciting adventures. In fact, one of Cayo’s top experiences, the Green Iguana Conservation Project, is located right on site.

Photo coutesy of Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge

For travelers seeking much closer encounters with mother nature, try the Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge, tucked away in the foothills of the Maya Mountains, off Belize’s Hummingbird Highway.

The rainforests in the Cayo district may very well be Belize’s version of Eden. And at the Sleeping Giant Lodge, you’ll find yourself even more convinced of that. Whether you crave relaxation among the trees or exploration galore, this resort, belonging to The Belize Collection of resorts, gives all that and then some.

Feature Photo: Big Rock Falls, courtesy of San Ignacio Resort Hotel. 

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