Approximately three miles from San Ignacio Town in the Cayo District lies Bullet Tree Falls, the newest up-and-coming destination for travelers in the past year. The small village is no secret to local residents and ex-pats. But the natural beauty of Bullet Tree has increasingly been catching the eye of those wanting something off-the-beaten-path. The famed Mopan River snakes through the village, which sits at the foot of the Maya Mountains. If you find yourself staying in San Ignacio, take the short trip northwest to explore the surprises encased within this destination.
What to do
Bullet Tree Falls’s main attraction is arguably the refreshing gentle rapids (“falls”) meandering alongside the village. Try some river tubing, where you get to float down the Mopan River atop an inner tube. It’s like a lazy river at a resort, but better, since it’s an actual river teeming with the surrounding wildlife. Train your eyes to spot any green iguanas lounging in branches or target bird species nesting in the trees.
For the latter, you can opt to spend the entire morning birding. If you’re lucky, you just might spot Belize’s national bird, the Keel-Billed Toucan, chirping at the top of Cohune Palms as the dawn rolls in.
Where to go
You can’t throw a stone in Belize without hitting a Maya site, which is the case in Bullet Tree Falls. A mere seven miles out of the village is the ancient Maya ruin of El Pilar. It’s a massive site located along the Guatemalan border. While many travelers beeline toward Xunantunich as soon as they arrive in San Ignacio, not many of them know that El Pilar is three times the size of the former. Research shows the abandoned city once housed 20,000 Mayas at one time. The Classic Period site is described as having a well-defined civic/ceremonial section. The sacred area contains many towering temples, courtyards, and reservoirs. Unlike the other more popular ruins in Belize, El Pilar has had limited archaeological work done. But this means you get to see the temples in their natural state, encased in history acquired after a thousand years.
Where to stay
If Bullet Tree has been penciled in your San Ignacio itinerary, San Ignacio Resort Hotel (SIRH) makes a great base for exploration. The award-winning hotel sits just 10 minutes away from the tranquil village and is enshrouded in greenery. The iconic resort also hosts its own array of on-site activities. Once you’ve had your fill of the nearby village, spend the afternoon learning about iguanas at the Green Iguana Conservation Project at SIRH. Make the most of the surrounding jungle and explore the educational medicinal plant trail on-site. Whenever you’re ready to take on adventures off-site, the staff at SIRH will be more than happy to help you book experiences.