Plan a perfect day in San Ignacio Town with these 8 Tips!
San Ignacio Town is located in the Cayo District and it’s a beautiful and diverse town worthy of visiting. Known as “El Cayo” this charming town is home to a bustling market, pristine rivers, amazing archaeological sites and Belize’s adventure hub.
Here are a few of the many things you want to do while visiting Belize’s San Ignacio Town:
1. Take a Journey to an Ancient Metropolis
Two astonishing Maya sites that enthrall visitors daily and are in close proximity to town are Cahal Pech and Xunantunich. Cahal Pech Maya site is located on top of a hill overlooking the beautiful town of San Ignacio. The site center is made up of 34 structures located around several courtyards, including temple pyramids and residential buildings. Xunantunich Maya Site is situated on the Western Highway across the river from the village of San Jose Succotz, which is just a 10 minute or 8 miles west short drive from San Ignacio Town. The biggest structure in Xunantunich is El Castillo standing at some 130 feet (40 m) tall.
Both of these sites can be covered unhurried in about a couple hours. They can be visited without a tour guide, however we recommend to take an experienced license tour guide that will explain each structure and the rich history of these ancient metropolis in fine detail.
2. Meet the friendliest people
Did you know that Belize has been named one of the happiest countries in the world? Well no wonder it’s a happy country, because it is filled with some of the warmest people on earth. Belizeans are genuinely welcoming and boast of a mixture of different ethnic groups including the Creole, Mestizo, Maya, Garinagu, East Indians, Asians and Mennonites. With English being the main language for Belize it is very easy for a tourist to understand and get along with a local. They might even teach you one or two words from their native language.
3. Must have an authentic Belizean lunch
Mickey’s, Minchos, Cenaidas and Hannah’s Restaurant are amongst the many local restaurant and food stalls in town that offer delicious Belizean food. Most of them are in walking distance from each other so you can sample a bit of everything. Daily specials would include the traditional and world famous rice and beans with either stew chicken, beef, pork or fried fish. You will also find tacos, tamales, escabeche, boil-up, fresh garden salads and much more. Don’t forget to pair your lunch with a refreshing fruit juice or an ice-cold Belikin beer!
4. Get to Know the Fascinating History of Belize
Arrange a pickup from downtown to The Lodge at Chaa Creek with their concierge to visit the Natural History Museum. There you can explore a fascinating time line, which begins with prehistoric land formation through to the shifting of the continents. Visitors are able to see the movement of life in Belize through the ages; from Mayan temples in the steaming jungle to modern day traditional healers. Also, there are visual displays of archaeological artifacts, butterflies, moths, insects and amphibians that capture the curiosity of every single visitor! This tour is combined with the Butterfly Exhibit Tour where you will see every stage of the magnificent Blue Morpho Butterfly. While you are at Chaa Creek you might want to do other exciting onsite activities on their 365 acre nature reserve.
5. Canoe down the meandering Macal River to San Ignacio Town
Renting a canoe in town by the bridge foot or from the nearby resorts is very easy. You can either go upstream or downstream. Some simply prefer to just float below the Hawksworth Bridge as they make slow-stroke with their paddles and enjoy some tranquillity or even do some birdwatching along the river bank. Canoeing is enjoyed by kids and people of all ages.
6. A Night Out in San Ignacio Town – Dinner and Drinks
This small town offers some excellent spots for a great night out. Whether you are a party enthusiast or just prefer a more subtle and laid back atmosphere. Perhaps you might just want to take a stroll down by the welcome center in the heart of town to mingle with the locals. If you are a foodie like us, we suggest a visit to the Guava Limb Café down Burns Avenue for a tasty dinner such as a herbed roast pork tenderloin or a Hawaiian Teriyaki Burger.
7. Take a Mayan Chocolate Making Class
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you love chocolate as much as we do. Did you know? Chocolate was the equivalent of gold for the Mayas? It was termed as “food for the Gods”. Now, if you want to become a chocolate making expert you can easily start in San Ignacio Belize.
Our friends over at AJAW Chocolate & Crafts run a well facilitated chocolate making training tour. Learn about the organic cacao bean, which is crushed using a traditional Maya rolling stone and made into a delicious and thick chocolate paste. Sweeten with honey to your liking. We highly recommend this tour!
8. BONUS: Visit the San Ignacio Farmer’s Market
One of our favorite things to do in San Ignacio Belize: Visit the local farmer’s market. You will find a vast variety of fruits and vegetables, most of them grown organically by local farmer’s in the area. Fresh banana, pineapple, dragon fruit, guavas, cantaloupe, watermelon, bell peppers, and a whole lot more.
The best day to visit the local farmers market is Saturday. The day usually starts around 4am with local vendors having setup from the previous evening. On Saturdays you are able to find so much more – clothing, food, hardware equipment, garage sale, livestock, we think you get the point. Best of all? it’s just a short walk from downtown San Ignacio.