Located about a 90-minute drive away from the main airport in Belize City, the mountainous town of San Ignacio serves as the capital of the Cayo district. People come here for its great access to jungle adventure tours, Mayan ruins, and beautiful scenery.
We were here for a total of three days and felt like this was the perfect amount of time to accomplish what we wanted to see in the Cayo District.
Things To Do
The majority of Mayan ruins in Belize are located deep in the mountain towns, so it makes San Ignacio as the perfect place to stay if you wanted to visit them all. We decided to check out Xunantunich, which is 8 miles west of downtown San Ignacio. To reach the ruins, you must cross the Mopan river by taking a hand-cranked ferry and then walk about a mile to the official entrance. You pay a very small fee to access the grounds and are free to walk around the site and even climb high atop El Castillo which has an amazing view of the Cayo District. You can even see the neighboring country of Guatemala from the top!
We took a guided tour to the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve through the hotel we were staying at. It is one of the oldest natural parks in Belize and it encompasses a spectacular range of rolling hills, peaks, and river gorges formed hundreds of years ago. The tour took us to Big Rock Falls (absolutely gorgeous waterfall), Rio of Pools which are natural made pools formed from large granite boulders, and the Rio Frio Cave. Swimming at the waterfall was a great way to cool off from the heat! Our guide did a great job of showing us all of the beautiful sights on this tour.
One tour that we regret not doing was to visit the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave. It’s an easy 45 minute hike, swim, and climb through the jungle. We definitely recommend it to everyone even though we didn’t visit it ourselves.
Where To Stay
We chose to lay our heads at Cahal Pech Village Resort during our time in San Ignacio. This resort was incredible! It is on top of a large hill about half a mile from the city center and has amazing views of the Belize River Valley, especially at sunset. It has a huge two level cascading pool on the property that we used everyday to cool off from the heat. We stayed in one of their deluxe cabanas which we loved because of the privacy. It wasn’t connected to the main hotel building so it felt like we were staying in a tiny home and we loved it!
Since we didn’t have a car on this trip, the resort picked us up from the airport in a nice air conditioned van and took us straight to the resort. The resort also set up the tours we did over the next couple days. It made everything much easier and stress-free since we didn’t have to worry about any of those details.
We highly recommend staying at this resort on your trip to San Ignacio. Here is the link to their website: Cahal Pech Village Resort