Belize’s Cayo district has something for almost everyone. And when it comes to the district’s twin towns, San Ignacio and Santa Elena, the saying big things come in small packages certainly holds true. Visitors and locals alike are constantly charmed by these two towns and all they have to offer. From unique experiences to affordable prices, there are plenty of reasons to choose a small town vacation for your next trip.
Why Spend Your Next Vacation in a Small Town (Or Two)
If you’re hoping to venture away from the crowds and towards more laid-back escapes, then you’re in luck. Small towns offer that and then some. Think affordable eats, intimate cultural experiences, unique accommodations, and natural landscapes.
From the very moment you begin driving through Santa Elena Town in Belize’s Cayo district, you’ll find yourself treated to just that. With rolling hills in the background and instagrammable cafes dotting the main streets, the first of the twin towns makes for amazing photo ops. Even better though, lots of good eats, like some of Belize’s best barbecue, await.
Meanwhile, in San Ignacio, activities both outdoor and in town are in no short supply. The Cahal Pech archaeological site sits right in the heart of town. So does one of the country’s top attractions, the Green Iguana Conservation Project. Get up close and personal with the largest lizard in Belize, known locally as “bamboo chicken.”
Meander down the famous Burns Avenue, or take a stroll through one of the country’s most colorful day markets. And when you’re done, enjoy the warm ambience at Guava Limb Restaurant while you feast on brick-oven pizza.
Hoping for something a bit more adventurous? The twin towns also serve as a convenient base of operations for day trips, road trips, and exploration of Belize. The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is a constant favorite of many. This magestic Belize attraction offers waterfalls, caves, and magical views.
For thrill seekers, the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave system is perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring experiences to be had in Belize. And for the solace seekers, a pontoon trip on the Vaca Lake promises close encounters with nature and refreshing swims.
Where to Stay: San Ignacio Resort Hotel
Convenience, comfort, and small town charm all come together at “the only jungle in town”. The San Ignacio Resort Hotel sits overlooking both San Ignacio Town and the lush greenery of the Belizean rainforest. What makes this award-winning resort one of the best places to stay in Cayo, though, is that it affords guests the privilege of exploring the district’s towns, forests, rivers, and caves without having to sacrifice comfort.
Choose from a mix of 27 luxury rooms and suites, each with hillside, rainforest, or garden views. All accommodations are thoughtfully designed with exotic local art and furnishings made from Belizean hardwood and sustainable mahogany.
Options include the Royal Suite, the newest addition, boasting two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and scenic balcony views. Meanwhile, River View suites allow the sounds of the nearby Macal river and the surrounding nature to lull you to sleep. Regardless of what accommodation you choose, enjoy complimentary breakfast and access to the Green Iguana Conservation Project.
Then, after a day of enjoying some small town charm, indulge in some classic Caribbean cuisine at the on-site Running W Restaurant. Their air conditioned and spacious dining hall grants an amazing view of the property. And, when you dine outdoors, you get the chance of being visited by one of the resident birds.
Who needs a big city or a crowded island when you’ve got a picturesque backdrop, warm smiles, and off the beaten path escapes?
Featured Photo courtesy San Ignacio Resort Hotel.