A Stunning Instagram Guide to Belize's Cayo District
Here's your Instagram Guide to the Cayo District - Western Belize
Belize as a whole is photogenic, with astounding beauty in the form of wildlife, culture and attractions. Many can testify to the feeling of being dropped straight into a paradisiacal postcard once they arrive. Because of this, it’s easy to come across sights perfect for an Instagram background anywhere in the country.
The Belize location tag on the photo-sharing app may be teeming with beach shots (no surprise there), but there are equal Instagram-worthy opportunities inland, like in the adventure capital of Cayo.
The Cayo district continues to draw thrill-seekers with its adventuresome calling, but avid Instagrammers will also notice the virality of their photos skyrocket when posting about the region. This can be attributed to the vast array of flora and fauna this district gives birth to. It is certainly a refreshing take on Mother Nature when compared to mass tourism destinations.
There is also a certain purity that encompasses the way of life here, from a slower pace of everyday life to the warmth of the people. All of this can shine through your photos if you know exactly where to look. To help you get those double-taps from followers, here’s a guide to the best Instagrammable shots in Cayo, with tips on how to make the most of your visit.
Where to go in the Cayo District
San Ignacio Town
Twin town to Santa Elena, San Ignacio is the trendy, cool town that lures visitors on their way to the Maya temple of Xunantunich with its charm. A small town with a laid-back vibe, San Ignacio is home to a blooming art scene millennials often seek.
With great barbecue and close proximity to outdoor experiences, San Ignacio is the go-to for many first-time travelers. Snap photos for the ’gram at the beautiful murals in downtown San Ignacio, adding a splash of color to your feed. For an obligatory drink-in-hand shot, order some boba at the popular Bambu Tea Cafe at the Cayo Welcome Center.
San Ignacio is about two hours away from the Philip Goldson International Airport, and on the way to another great region in the Cayo district: The Mountain Pine Ridge.
Mountain Pine Ridge
This vast 100,000-acre Mountain Pine Ridge forest reserve is the pride & joy of Belize’s Cayo District. Here, off-the-grid truly does mean you’re off the grid, but the digital sacrifice is worth every waterfall, natural pool and cave you come across. Just a couple of hours away from San Ignacio, this protected area is home to more than just Mother Nature’s creations. The region’s tallest Maya temple resides here as well.
Imagine a looming, ancient man-made castle as the background to an iconic Instagram shot. This is the site of Caracol, one of the most revered – yet not as frequented – Maya sites in Belize. So not only will you get your money shot, you won’t have to photoshop any strangers out of the photo since you’ll basically have the place all to yourself.
Want something a little less daunting but with the same “wow” effect? Visit the massive Big Rock Falls to bask in gushing cascades dropping from a whopping 150-feet! At the end of a winding wooden staircase, Big Rock Falls sits on the Privassion River in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. Many make the trek out to the site to enjoy the giant pools and the jutting rocks laid out along the river. For a perfect action shot, dive off a giant rock right in front of the waterfall, landing at the deep natural pool beneath.
Where to eat in the Cayo District
Breakfast at the iconic Pop's
Hunger for adventure often leads to actual hunger, so knowing the best places to grab some grub in the region is a must. For breakfast head to the iconic Pop’s Restaurant on West Street in San Ignacio for delectable fry jacks and refried beans. Both Belizeans and travelers seek this six-booth restaurant that is seldom empty despite it’s tucked in location. As for the photo opp, the colorful yellow diner is the ideal background to capture those puffy, golden fry jacks.
Lunch at The Guava Limb Cafe
For lunch, head out to the hipsters’ favorite of Guava Limb Cafe - in the top 10 restaurants in San Ignacio. Right on the historic Burns Avenue in San Ignacio, Guava Limb’s ambience could only be described as an experience. Not only is the al fresco dining a welcomed factor in this era, but an aesthetic one that adds to the whole natural vibe of the restaurant. You have the option to dine either on the ground floor or the second floor, though if you’re looking for an unobstructed background of you munching on some fluffy strawberry cheesecake, sit near the beautiful, tropical foliage that envelops the property.
Dinner at The Lodge at Chaa Creek
A short distance away from San Ignacio Town is The Lodge at Chaa Creek serving up scrumptious meals at their Mariposa Restaurant. Here, you’ll have a taste of true farm-to-table dining from the Lodge’s own organic Maya farm. The luxurious site itself is worth the visit alone, but the food offered by the award-winning resort is enough to have you reserving a romantic dinner every night of your stay. Speaking of romantic dinners, you can also request a special set up just for you and your better half, right in front of the resort’s infinity pool. Warm lights and gentle music will be the perfect addition to a great Instagrammable photo taken by your friendly server.
What to do in the Cayo District
Authentic Hands-On Chocolate Making
It’s a known fact that people tend to appreciate their snacks - and food overall - more after learning where they came from. If you’ve ever wondered how everyone’s favorite sweet treat came to be, sign up for a chocolate making experience with Ixcacao at San Ignacio Town. This two-hour experience takes you from the very origins of chocolate making with the cacao fruit to the deliciously rich goodness at the end. Post your cacao grinding efforts to your feed to let the peeps know exactly what it takes to make this ubiquitous snack.
Visit The San Ignacio Farmer’s Market
Find yourself at San Ignacio on a Saturday? Hit up the San Ignacio farmer’s market busting with fellow Belizeans selling their artistic wares, juicy produce and culinary specialties. The farmer’s market allows you to experience the culture and friendliness that this country is built on. Spend the morning browsing the market and leave with authentic souvenirs to bring back to your friends.
The Cayo district is chock-full of adventures worth experiencing - and documenting. Be sure to use this handy guide to make the most of your days spent in the West and instill some major vacation-envy from your followers and friends. Especially if you’re planning to take advantage of Chaa Creek’s exclusive Belize travel offers!