San Ignacio is the gem of Western Belize for adventure seekers from all walks of life. Retaining its rustic charm, San Ignacio Belize is the ideal destination for travelers who love to explore the natural world and all of its history. In this brief guide, we have compiled the very best things to see, do and experience in San Ignacio Belize to ensure you make the most of your adventure. Also included in this guide are different options for accommodation and the best routes to travel to San Ignacio Belize, adapted for a variety of budgets and preferences.
The Best Attractions of San Ignacio Belize
The Historic Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins
If you’re looking for a bit of history, look no further than this Mayan settlement. First settled by the Mayan peoples sometime between 1500 and 1000 B.C., Cahal Pech is a treasure trove of history and Mayan temples waiting to be discovered and explored by you. Perched high on a hill and surrounded by thick jungle approximately a mile south of San Ignacio Belize, this adventure is an relatively easy uphill walk right from town and offers historic views of Preclassic Maya architecture.
Play with Endangered Green Iguanas at the Green Iguana Conservation Project
The lovely people of San Ignacio Belize have helped the threatened and endangered Green Iguana bounce back with the Green Iguana Conservation Project: an interactive conservation project that collects, hatches and raises Green Iguanas until they are able to protect themselves in the wild. With a guided tour that follows along a short medicinal trail through the rainforest, you will be able to touch and play with the friendly iguanas as well as learn about their habits and lifestyle.
Explore the Cave of the Crystal Maiden (Actun Tunichil Muknal or ATM)
Located about an hour away from town, the Cave of the Crystal Maiden is an ancient Mayan archaeological site known for its skeletons, ceramics and stoneware that were all thought to have been used for sacrificial and ceremonial rites to satisfy the ancient gods. This cave is not for the faint of heart, as you have to wade through rivers on foot and trek through the Mayan jungle before entering, but the history and priceless artifacts make it one of the most memorable experiences in San Ignacio.
Other Things to Do In San Ignacio Belize
Canoe down the Macal River
For travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of busy downtown San Ignacio Belize, simply rent a canoe and relax on the river. As you leisurely float and paddle your way, don’t forget to look for monkeys swinging in the trees, beautiful birds and huge iguanas on the river banks. Most resorts offer guided canoe tours, but there are also kayaking and tubing options for explorers who prefer more of an adrenaline rush.
Horseback to the Mayan Ruins of Xunantunich
If you explored the ruins of Cahal Pech and are looking for more, Xunantunich is home to several Maya temples and is about 15 minutes away from San Ignacio by horseback ride. What could be better than enjoying the fresh rainforest air by galloping through the picturesque countryside on your way?
Visit the San Ignacio Farmers Market
If you’re looking to pick up a few handmade souvenirs, locally grown produce or just to browse through a bustling market, you must visit the regional San Ignacio market located right in the heart of town. This market is known to be the best on Saturdays, but should also provide fresh food and fun knick knacks all week long.
The Best Places to Stay in San Ignacio Belize
The Table Rock Jungle Lodge
For family travelers, the Table Rock Jungle Lodge is known to be one of the best in San Ignacio and was even a Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice winner in 2016. Located right on the Macal River surrounded by mahogany forests and an orange farm, this lodge offers a variety of water activities, such as canoeing and tubing, as well as relaxation amenities, including their pebbled swimming beach and palm-thatched hammock palapas. The cabanas and cabins offered range from $125 – $225 (USD), but there is also riverside camping sites available for $30 (USD).
The Mystic River Resort
Perched on the banks of the Macal River, this eco-friendly resort offers charming rooms with stunning river views. Although it is located about seven miles from town, Mystic River Resort is perfect for travelers looking to enjoy intimate tours and seclusion in an authentic rainforest. Mystic River has a five star rating on Trip Advisor and touts glowing reviews from its guests. Mystic River Resort offers spa and yoga packages, romantic getaways for couples and a wonderful onsite restaurant that can be enjoyed by all. Prices typically range from $250 – $275 (USD).
How to Travel to San Ignacio Belize
Getting to San Ignacio Belize is relatively simple for travelers flying into the Belize City Airport. Located about 72 miles (116 km) away from San Ignacio, it is typically most convenient to catch a taxi into San Ignacio or arrange for a private shuttle to pick you up from the airport (from around 200 Belize Dollars). Both of these options will take between 1.5 – 2 hours.
For travelers who are on a budget and feel adventurous, take a taxi from the airport to the Belize City bus terminal (about BZ$50) and then catch a bus from Belize City to San Ignacio for about BZ$7. The trip should take about 2.5 hours without any bus changes necessary.
San Ignacio Belize is a location of old world charm, adventure and natural, harmonious beauty. Next time you’re looking to jump outside of your comfort zone and explore the natural world and its colorful history, look no further than San Ignacio Belize!