How to Explore the best of San Ignacio, Cayo

by Larry Waight
macal river

Most people who visit Belize head straight for the offshore cayes or even to the coast of the Placencia Peninsula. It’s easy to see why, but Belize offers much more than beautiful beaches. For those who enjoy wandering off the beaten path, here’s how to explore the best of Western Belize with the lively San Ignacio town. Being an inland region known for its rolling mountains, acres of lush forest and colonial-style neighbourhoods, the Cayo District is well familiar with eco-tourism. Meanwhile, San Ignacio has become the favourite starting point for anyone who wants to explore the wilder side of Belize. Here are the top recommended things to see and do in San Ignacio.

Cahal Pech Maya Ruins

cahal pech wedding

Photo Courtesy: Leonardo Melendez Photography

Many travellers overlook this small but historically significant Maya ruin. Cahal Pech is a short hike from downtown San Ignacio, and its shady, grassy walkways create a cool, pleasant way to walk through the past. The onsite museum is excellent, and you can either take a guided tour or explore on your own.

San Ignacio Resort Hotel’s Green Iguana Conservation Project 

Green Iguana CONSERVATION PROJECT at San Ignacio Resort Hotel

The Green Iguana Conservation Project at San Ignacio Resort Hotel

Learn about efforts to restore Belize’s iguana population while you interact with dozens of orphaned and injured iguanas. This interactive exhibit is completely hands-on while respecting the reptiles. Not to mention, its conveniently located on the grounds of the San Ignacio Resort Hotel inside of town. Enjoy a tour, then drinks and a meal! 

Enjoy great local food


Salbutes Photo Courtesy:

San Ignacio is known for its outstanding restaurants, in all price ranges. Enjoy local street food just off Burns Avenue for a true Cayo experience. Additionally, The Guava Limb Cafe features organic farm-to-table eating with an international flavour. Trey’s Barn & Grill is a steakhouse and barbecue restaurant that gets rave reviews from locals and visitors. If you want simple, authentic Belizean food, try Cenaida’s or Erva’s Restaurant.

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

mountain pine ridge

Butterfly Falls within the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

This national park is a sharp contrast to the tropical jungle landscapes you normally find in Belize. This vast protected area features dense pine forests, sparkling lakes, waterfalls and granite ledges. Highlights include Thousand Foot Falls – the tallest waterfall in Central America – and many more beautiful swimming holes.

The Macal River

canoe ride in San Ignacio Macal River


While in San Ignacio, explore by river cruise or canoe ride down one of Belize’s most scenic rivers. Spot colourful birds, fish and wildlife along the banks. Don’t worry – it’s safe to swim in the Macal River.

When you visit Belize, why not go off the beaten path? In San Ignacio, you’ll see Belize’s finest inland treasures to explore. 

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