Belize’s Cayo district – so vast and so diverse that you could never experience it all in a day (or two). But could a three-day stay be the goldilocks itinerary for the land of adventure and eco-tourism? We’ll let you decide. Here’s a look at how Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle spent three days and two nights in Cayo, Belize.
Day 1 – Jungle Adventures & A Royal Stay
Day One of our Cayo itinerary began bright and early with a two-hour drive from Belize City to the vibrant San Ignacio Town. This quaint Cayo municipality exudes a small town charm that’s as magnetic as it is memorable. Plus, it makes for a great base of operations when in Western Belize.
In addition to being dotted with colorful cafes, romantic eateries, and bustling markets, San Ignacio serves as a gateway to a number of Belize’s Maya sites, including caves and towering temples. But you might be surprised to find that there are jungle adventures to be had right inside town as well.
Where to Stay: San Ignacio Resort Hotel
San Ignacio Resort Hotel sits perched atop a hill overlooking San Ignacio and the nearby Macal River. Dubbed “the only jungle in town”, it offers guests the perfect blend of elegance and adventure. The resort’s lobby is reminiscent of something out of a fairy tale, or perhaps straight out of Buckingham Palace (which is quite fitting).
Marble columns and floors alongside a grand staircase made from exotic hardwood were the first thing to greet us when we arrived at our destination for the first half of our trip. On the other end of the building, balconies granting panoramic views of lush jungle treetops awaited.
After checking in and then spending the day exploring San Ignacio proper, we enjoyed a late lunch at the hotel, courtesy of the onsite Running W Restaurant. Then, we spent the afternoon enjoying one of Belize’s most popular attractions – the Green Iguana Conservation Project.
Getting up close and personal with one of Belize’s fascinating creatures always makes for great photo ops. Later in the night, we would experience even more close encounters thanks to the fun (and intriguing) Critters of the Night Tour. If you opt for booking this tour (which we definitely recommend), keep your eyes open for spiders, kinkajous, possums, birds, and more.
Day 2 – Birds of Belize, Red Clay Roads, and A Magic Show
Greeted by a gorgeous San Ignacio sunrise, Day Two of our Cayo itinerary commenced at dawn with cookies and coffee courtesy of our tour guide for the morning. Continuing our streak of spotting wildlife at the only jungle in town, we set off to do some birdwatching.
Belize is home to almost 600 species of birds. We had the privilege of spotting some of its most colorful right on site. That included the country’s national bird – the Keel Billed Toucan – as well as a young raptor and a pair or parakeets. After refueling with a filling fry jack breakfast, we checked out of our room and began the second half of our three day Cayo journey.
By midday, we found ourselves driving down the iconic red clay roads of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. After stopping in for lunch at Blancaneaux Lodge’s Montagna Ristorante, it was a 15 minute drive to our second stay.
Where to Stay: Gaia Riverlodge
As poetic as it may sound, Gaia Riverlodge is one of those places in Belize that easily evokes a feeling of awe. It’s hard to not step onto the property’s outdoor deck at the Five Sisters Restaurant without uttering the word “wow“. Panoramic views of both pine and broadleaf forests. Roaring waterfalls below. Cool, crisp air. It all makes for breathtaking scenery inside the already scenic Mountain Pine Ridge. And it definitely makes for a calm-inducing stay.
If you’re a fan of relaxing vacations, complete with captivating sunsets, casual birdwatching, and ambient lighting at dinner, then a stay at Gaia while you’re in Cayo is definitely a must. At dinner, we even had the pleasure of being treated to a unique experience: a magic show that might just rival the acts over in Las Vegas.
Day 3 – A Belizean Breakfast and Waterfall Views
For our final day in the Cayo district, we got the chance to witness one of the most beautiful sights of Mountain Pine Ridge. The morning fog hanging over the lush green forests surrounding Gaia is a sight that’s not easily forgotten. The same can be said for the roaring Five Sisters Waterfall, which is where we spent the remainder of the morning, post breakfast.
The perfect location for a quick swim or a day lounging in a hammock, the Five Sisters Waterfalls is picturesque perfection. Plus, it makes for a great conclusion to a three-day Cayo itinerary.
Craving some adventure? Apart from enjoying the falls, you can also choose from Gaia’s wide range of tours. They include a day trip to Caracol, a tour of Mountain Pine Ridge, an adrenaline-filled journey to the Elijio Panti National Park, and much more.
About Cayo District, Belize
Cayo is teeming with sites to be seen and adventures to be had. Of course, there’s no one right way to experience it all. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy it, be sure to take your time and savor Belize’s number one location for inland expeditions.
Featured Photo © Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle