20 awesome facts about the Cayo District in Belize!
The Cayo District is home to some 73,202 people and takes in more than 2,000 square miles (5180kms) of tropical forest, rolling hills; rich pasture land, vibrant rivers and an amazing assortment of Maya archaeological sites.
Here are 20 awesome facts about the Cayo District in Belize:
1. It is the largest district in Belize.
2. Cayo is home to the most impressive and artifact-rich Maya ceremonial caves ever found in Mesoamerica: Actun Tunichil Muknal is the star of the show.
3. Hand-cranked ferries are still used to forge rivers to Maya ceremonial sites and Mennonite community centers.
4. Both English and Spanish are widely spoken in Cayo, which is home to large populations of Latinos, Creoles, Chinese, Lebanese, Mennonites and Maya.
5. The nation’s capital, Belmopan, resides in the Cayo district.
6. Cayo is the center of the Mundo Maya empire, hosting two of Belize’s biggest Maya temple sites – Xunantunich and Caracol. The man-made Caana temple at Caracol rises 136 feet in height.
7. The Mountain Pine Ridge, a 300 square mile forest reserve with a unique tropical ecosystem of flora and fauna, makes its home in the ancient rolling hills of the Maya mountains.
8. Cayo hosts the biggest market day in all of Belize. Every Saturday the market area comes alive with its own multicultural blend of colors, sounds, flavors, crafts and foodstuffs.
9. The longest suspension bridge in Belize, the iconic Hawksworth Bridge (imported from colonial Africa) spans the Macal River connecting the twin towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio.
10. Mountain bike trails are off the beaten track and yet still omnipresent for those looking for extreme adventure.
11. The Cayo district hosts educational centers such as the Butterfly Exhibit, Natural History Centre, and Rainforest Medicine Trail at The Lodge at Chaa Creek.
12. Canoeing along the pristine Macal River is always available at the boutique riverside resorts in Cayo.
13. The Iguana Conservation Project at the San Ignacio Hotel in San Ignacio Town offers visitors the opportunity to take a closer look at these descendants of dinosaurs.
14. The Thousand Foot Falls is the tallest waterfall in Belize and Central America and a spectacular natural attraction in the Mountain Pine Ridge.
15. The charming town of San Ignacio is filled with local craft shops and plenty of places to enjoy varied ethnic cuisine.
16. Exploration of the Barton Creek Ceremonial Cave via canoe is a truly awe inspiring experience.
17. Cayo produces much of the country’s dairy, meat and agricultural products, from the traditional citrus, bananas, maize and vegetables, to newcomers such as mozzarella cheese and pastrami.
18. The hilly terrain of Cayo is replete with valleys, rivers and creeks and is perfect for horseback riding and hiking.
19. The ancient art of chocolate making is a must do at the Maya Cacao Center located in the Santa Elena Town.
20. Cayo is home to the biggest community of Mennonites in Belize at Spanish Lookout.