Mixing Adventure and Luxury In Cayo’s Most Convenient Locale

by Carolee Chanona

From ethereal ancient Maya cities and 400 offshore islands to waterfall ravines and lush rainforest, Belize’s diversity inspires a spirit of exploration and awe. But there’s one district in Belize with resorts that tug at the string of eco adventures, and that’s the Cayo district. Head downstream of the Macal River by canoe as you birdwatch along the way; discover the epic remnants of the once-heartland of the Maya civilization; or venture by headlamp into the mysterious Xibalba inside a cave, what ancient Mayans considered the entrance to the underworld. Centered at the heart of all of Cayo’s rosters of adventure with the most convenient location in town is San Ignacio Resort Hotel, sacrificing none of the comforts you’d expect from a resort of their stature.

An Epi-Center For Maya Cities


Xunantunich Maya Site. Image via San Ignacio Resort Hotel.

Belize’s westernmost district does not shy away from its proximity to archeological reserves and sites, including caves and Maya sites. Once thriving, travelers come precisely to be swept up in the history of the Maya people and to walk in their footsteps, conquering the climbs of their towering pyramids left behind. In fact, Cahal Pech, Xunantunich, El Pilar, and the mother of all Maya sites in Belize — Caracol — are all in Cayo.

Not to mention, Belize’s Cayo District is the most convenient location to visit Tikal, the largest urban center in the southern Maya lowlands of Guatemala. As the perfect jumping-off point for Tikal, guests can book a tour from San Ignacio Resort Hotel, where Tikal lies only 90 minutes away, perfect for day-tripping. That deal sounds even more enchanting to North Americans when you realize English is the first language in Belize.

Convenience, With All Of Cayo’s Comforts Too

Cozy into small-town life with San Ignacio, the sister to Santa Elena — together, they make up the endearingly nicknamed Twin Towns of Cayo. But as a gateway for eco-adventures, that doesn’t always mean roughing it off the hiking trail. Instead, you can stay at the only jungle in town: San Ignacio Resort Hotel.

Soaking in the romanticism of the Cayo district with San Ignacio Resort Hotel.

Offering a mix of 27 luxury rooms and suites that offer hillside, garden, and rainforest views, Belizean culture shines through with handmade hardwood furnishings and art. Plus, guests can even tap into the locavore movement, with local and seasonal produce dished on-site at the Running W Restaurant. As the flagship eatery, its menu actually features meats from the family’s own ranch of the same name.

Royal Suite. Image via San Ignacio Resort Hotel

Although if you’d rather lounge poolside instead, still stick around to get your fill of more onsite activities. The star of this menu? Belize’s #1 attraction, The Green Iguana Conservation Project. Pack your bikini, but for eco-adventures in Cayo directly from the resort, don’t forget to pack your hiking boots too.

All images via San Ignacio Resort Hotel unless stated otherwise.

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