Cayo Adventures: How to Make the Most of a Week in Belize

by Khaila Gentle
photo by duarte dellarole

Looking for the best ways to experience Belize? Then look no further. If you’ve got a week or less to spend, this article is part of a series of itineraries that can help you make the most out of your trip. For anyone, especially first time visitors, seeking some inland adventure and memorable thrills, here’s a helpful itinerary.

Touring Belize’s Cayo District

Duration: 5 to 7 days
Fit for: Nature lovers, inland adventurers
Places to visit: San Ignacio, Mountain Pine Ridge

The Cayo district is Belize’s largest district, meaning that there’s plenty to do and see here. The list of options may seem overwhelming, but keep in mind that you have the option of curating your trip to best suit whatever your preferences are. And, you can always book another trip!

Day 1 – Travel to San Ignacio, Cayo

After you arrive at the Philip Goldson International Airport, your journey to Cayo will involve a scenic trip up Belize’s Western Highway. Your options include renting a car. Though, many resorts and hotels offers shuttle services, making this pretty hassle free.

Belize’s Cayo district is teeming with diverse landscapes, eclectic eateries, and not to mention tons of opportunities for adventures. The twin towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio make for the perfect base for your inland adventures. Not sure where to stay? Try the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, which provides the best of both worlds: world-class comfort and close encounters with nature.

You’re sure to be tired after a long day of travel, so feel free to enjoy a drink beside the pool or admire the sunset from the comfort of your room. Grab some dinner, and then prepare yourself for a week of thrills and sightseeing.

Day 2 – Belize’s Maya Ruins

Photo by Duarte Dellarole

The good thing about San Ignacio Town is that you don’t have to go very far for memorable outdoor experiences. In fact, one of Belize’s best known Maya sites, Cahal Pech, sits right near the heart of town. Enjoy a relatively easy trek through this ancient site.

Just 20 minutes away lies Xunantunich. Here, visitors get to cross the Mopan River via hand-cranked ferry before making the exhilarating climb up to the site. Enjoy a stunning photo-op atop El Castillo, one of the tallest structures in Belize. Then, when you’re done exploring all that this beautiful piece of ancient Maya history has to offer, head over to Benny’s Kitchen for a delectable meal and refreshing drinks.

Day 3 – Caves and Waterfalls Aplenty

For your third day, take a day trip to Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. It’s just about an hour away and involves a drive down one of Belize’s most picturesque highways. Here, you’ll have the chance to admire Cayo’s most beautiful waterfalls, explore caves and see the beauty of the broadleaf-turned-pine rainforests.

Along with Thousand Foot Falls (Central America’s tallest waterfall), the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is also where Big Rock Falls and Five Sisters Falls can be found. The latter, a 150-foot waterfall, makes for an ideal picnic location as well as a great swimming spot.

Day 4 – Exploring San Ignacio Town

Take it easy on your fourth day in Belize. Some might argue your last day should go out with a bang, but after a full day of activities, it’s best to kick back and relax before hopping on a flight the next day. Wake up bright and early and grab some breakfast at the local favorite, Pop’s, in downtown San Ignacio. Then, walk off those fluffy fry jacks with a stroll down the iconic Burns Avenue. Grab some souvenirs if you’d like at stores like Back to My Roots. Just a short distance away, the San Ignacio Market sits waiting to be explored. 

On Day 5, make the scenic journey back to Belize City. Before you do, make sure to stop by the popular Green Iguana Rehabilitation Center, right inside the San Ignacio Resort and Hotel.

Helpful tip: One huge mistake to avoid as a traveler is thinking that your itinerary isn’t flexible. There’s nothing wrong with switching out a local attraction here and there for some relaxation by the pool or whatever else you’re feeling up to. You’re on vacation, after all.

Read the itinerary for visiting Belize’s Northern Islands here. 

Featured Photo: The amphitheater of Rio Frio Cave. Photo courtesy Duarte Dellarole

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