The Cayo District In Belize Is All About Eco Adventures

by Larry Waight
canoe ride in cayo

The Cayo District In Belize Is All About Eco Adventures

Most people who visit Belize go straight to the beaches and offshore islands. If you’re an adventurous spirit, you’re better off heading to the lesser-known Cayo District in western Belize.

Where Your Belize Adventures Take Flight

The Cayo District covers about 2,000 acres in the western part of Belize. If you’re in the mood for dense, green jungle, fast-moving rivers, majestic waterfalls, green mountains, sacred caves, Maya ruins, and verdant hillsides, you will be swept away by Cayo.

A drive through the district takes you to the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena. Belize’s only suspension bridge, the Hawksworth Bridge, spans both towns across the Macal River. Both are alive with street markets, restaurants and a growing number of businesses that cater to eco-tourism and adventure travel. If your vacation dreams include any type of adventure excursion, you should make San Ignacio your first stop.

The district is enormously scenic. The largely untouched forests are alive with colorful birds and exotic wildlife. As you continue traveling west through the district, you reach acres of cultivated farmland. These are mostly farms owned by Mennonites, who have had a thriving agriculture-based community in Belize for decades. San Ignacio has the largest farmer’s market in Belize, where you can buy fresh, organic produce and dairy products every day.

The Cayo District is close to Belize’s border with Guatemala. It’s easy to cross over to explore another vibrant, fascinating country right next door.

Affordable Eco-Tourism

The Cayo District has emerged as an affordable alternative to higher-priced Placencia and Ambergris Caye. Tour operators here specialize in arranging exciting guided excursions.

Top Things to Do in Cayo

What can you do in the Cayo? You won’t run out of challenging outdoor activities.  

Maya ruins: Two of Belize’s most important Maya ruins are in this district. Cahal Pech is hiking distance from San Ignacio. The climb rewards you with an incredible view of the town and the surrounding area. The ruins of Xunantunich are about eight miles away. Challenge yourself to climb the 130-foot peak of the main tower for another impressive view of Belize and Guatemala.

You’re also close enough to visit the Maya ruins of Tikal in Guatemala. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tikal is considered the greatest and most important Maya city in the world.

Canoeing and kayaking: The district’s many rivers provide an exhilarating test of your skills. You can also take a cave tubing expedition, which involves riding an inner tube down a river and through a network of ancient caves.

Cave exploration: Belize has some of the greatest cave formations in the world, and many of them are in the Cayo District. If you’re experienced and in good shape, check out the Che Chem Ha or Actun Chapa cave systems.

Zip-lining and waterfalls: Go zip-lining through a dense jungle, and top off your day with some waterfall rappelling.

xunantunichcanoe ride in cayowaterfall rapelling bocawinacave

The Cayo District is emerging as Belize’s top destination for affordable eco-tourism and adventure travel. Don’t pass up the chance to explore this exciting area. 

Written by Larry Waight

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