San Ignacio Cayo

San Ignacio-Cayo,

No visitor departs Belize without leaving a piece of their heart behind, and this is particularly true of travelers who have found their own version of paradise in San Ignacio, a glorious, friendly destination that’s so close to Guatemala, you can get a second stamp on your passport if you insist on leaving Belize.

But, why bother? There’s so much to see, do, taste and learn in the district known simply as “Cayo,” your time and energy are much better spent in this intriguing area of Belize. Need to plan your trip so you don’t waste a minute of time? Start with our suggestions and you’ll be ready to fly.

Getting around San Ignacio Town:

Visitors like to say that San Ignacio has a wonderfully spirited vibe that reminds them of a rough and tumble jungle, but in fact, it’s got just enough balance in terms of old and new to offer character you won’t find elsewhere in Belize. Stay in town and walk to plenty of places on your own, or book excursions to see the sites by checking in with your lodging concierge or by patronizing any of the licensed tour guide services in and around town.

If you’re the independent sort and prefer being on your own, you can work through bus routes to take you anywhere you wish to go. Since bus ticket rates are calculated by destination, do check at the depot to find out how much the route you require costs before you buy your ticket(s).

Don’t be shocked to see hitchhikers thumbing rides along roadsides as you travel the district and beyond. It’s common practice here. Of course, if you rented a car in Belize City after your plane landed, your transportation worries are solved.

Which Mayan ruins should you see?

Nobody leaves Cayo without seeing at least one Mayan ruin. The most often-visited in the district are the following three, though if you cross into Guatemala, you can add Tikal to your journal, too. –See Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) if trekking through jungle and traversing a river before disappearing into a cave housing skeletal remains of long-dead Mayans doesn’t spook you. –Cahal Pech is a small but impressive ruin featuring restored temples and plazas.

This site comes with a caveat: The climb to reach Cahal Pech is steep, so make sure you’re in good shape before you lace up your sturdy shoes. –Xunantunich hosts the tallest building in Belize: the spectacular El Castillo pyramid. Gaze down at the Mopan and Macal rivers after climbing 130 feet to the top and prepare yourself for the breathtaking views below.

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