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San Ignacio Town

8 April 2010 9 Comments


Originally the town was established as a hub for mahogany cutters in the interior. Now it is the administrative center of the Cayo District. Many of the major Hotels, such as the San Ignacio Hotel, are to be found here.

San Ignacio can’t be mentioned without it’s twin town, Santa Elena. Together they have a population of about 18.000 inhabitants. While Santa Elena is still mostly residential, in downtown San Ignacio you’ll find the “Central Zone”. This zone has:

Belize-San Ignacio 11
  • extensive shopping opportunities, including gift shopping
  • a huge farmers market 7 days a week, with many local farmers coming and setting up additional booths on Fridays and Saturdays
  • some beautiful parks for leisurely enjoying the local life
  • bars and cafe’s which remind of a western lifestyle
  • stationary shops
  • lots of restaurants, including Belizean, Italian, Indian and Chinese food.

Especially is to be mentioned the farmers market, which traditionally is held on Saturdays. In Belize, it is quite a rarity to find so many farmers who sell their produce at the same place. Here you can get pineapples, mangos and avocados (all depending on the season) like you’ve never tasted before. But the farmers market of San Ignacio is much more: people sell clothes, household items, all kind of herbal remedies, CD’s, car spare parts, used items of all sorts and much more. Several food stands with delicious burritos, tamales, garnaches ecc complete the metamorphosis from regular market to social meeting point.

When best to go:
I know it’s vacation, but the real deals and all good fruit is gone by 6.30am. So if you want to have something special, show up early.

What to wear:
Don’t wear shorts. You will never find a true Belizean wearing shorts if not working. Cameras best go into inconspicuous bags. This not because they get stolen, but because they “mark” one as tourist. We will probably never blend in completely, but just the effort of trying makes a huge different in how people react to one.

Best food stands:
The following description is best understood if you’re at the market. The best food stands are on the paved section of the market. At one spot there are 4 food stands all huddled together, joining their umbrellas and tarps against the heat. The one closest to the main corner entrance of the market ( you have to figure that one out by yourself :-) ) has the definitely best burritos in town. The one right behind them has enchanting pupusas, a Guatemalan specialty.

As usual, if you have any questions I’d be thrilled to help you. It would mean somebody actually read this :-) So just leave a comment, I check daily!

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