San Ignacio

Charming small towns, lush tropical forests, and the Macal and Mopan rivers await you here. Take some time for there is much to see: lush tropical rainforest, the Mountain Pine Ridge, which is rich with waterfalls, pools, and limestone cave systems, that lead you into the Maya underworld.

The Cayo District boasts many wonders: caves,waterfalls, picturesque hillside towns, and great people. By far, the biggest draw is the colorful riverside town of San Ignacio. Being a neighbor to Guatemala, its Latin and Maya flavors are difficult to resist. Burns Avenue, San Ignacio’s cobblestoned main street, buzzes with shoppers and steaming roadside grills. As well as the iconic HawkesworthBridge, built in 1949, which towers over rivers.This is a place to be outdoors, and it is never dull.

Saturday is the highlight of the week. It is Market Day when all the diverse ethnic population converge and inhabit the area. Mestizos prepare tacos and pupusas as you wait, while Mennonites sell their freshly-made cheeses and desserts. You’ll see stalls of homemade jams, chutneys, fruit wines, even natural peanut butter, and vibrant stalls of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables. This is the nation’s “ breadbasket.” 

cayo

Photo Courtesy: Leonardo Melendez

A short ride away, you can visit the country’s most renowned Maya sites, sacred caves and rainforests dotted with pine trees and medicinal plants. You can take daily walks along the river or rappel 300 feet into a rainforest, go canoeing on the river, or horseback riding in the nearby jungle. Nights are lively, with outdoor restaurants and nightclubs where you can dance and hob-nob with visitors at local bars enjoying a healthy, happy slice of Belize countryside living.

Belmopan

Visit the capital city Belmopan or the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, with the beautiful Macal River running through them. These hillside towns bustle with activity where you will find Maya, Mestizo, and Mennonites selling their wares with everyone speaking English and Spanish. Cayo is also known as the second largest district of Belize. You can get to Cayo via the George Price Highway (western highway), which starts at the intersection of Central American Boulevard and Cemetery Road in Belize City. From here, you are an hour or two away from a charming, exotic adventure.

San Ignacio

San Ignacio is the most popular town to visit in the Cayo District. It’s a travel center from where all roads and activities fan out. Close to Santa Elena, on the east bank of the Macal River, is the main population center of Cayo with lots of good economical accommodations, decent restaurants, and frequent transport. 

If you are looking for a Belizean life experience, a local market is the perfect spot. San Ignacio Market is a vibrant place full of all the fruits and veggies from local farmers, local fresh prepared food, and there are many local artisans displaying their wares. It is a multicultural blend of colors, sounds, and flavors. Belize is well known for the variety of tropical fruits and veggies, like soursop, sapodilla fruit, star fruit, custard apple, yam, craboo, breadfruit, all depending on what’s in season.

Cayo District is a natural spot full of color, flavor, and culture that you shouldn’t miss while visiting Belize. It’s a jungle paradise. If you are looking for some adrenaline with your family, you can practice zip lining, cave tubing, and even hiking. 

Read more: A Day in San Ignacio, The Cayo District, Visit Mountain Pine Ridge.