San Ignacio Travel Guide

  • Cahal Pech Overlooking the Town
    Cahal Pech Overlooking the Town
    by taylorpiro
  • The Palace
    The Palace
    by Paul2001
  • The view from the El Castillo
    The view from the El Castillo
    by Paul2001

San Ignacio Highlights

  • Pro
    paparush profile photo

    paparush says…

     Good food, cheap rooms, and good people 

  • Con
    ArtMeg profile photo

    ArtMeg says…

     Don't trust the local water. 

  • In a nutshell
    Bwana_Brown profile photo

    Bwana_Brown says…

     A great place from which to explore in every direction! 

San Ignacio Things to Do

  • Caves and Tubing

    One of our two prime objectives of staying in the San Ignacio area was to explore a Mayan cave. The particular one that we wanted to see was Actun Tunichil Muknal (known as ATM or 'Cave of the Crystal Maiden') because of the skeletal remains of Mayan human sacrifices still there as they have been for the last 1100 years. Accordingly, the evening of...

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  • Xunantunich

    Xunantunich was one of my favourite Mayan ruins in Belize. Unlike most of the other ruins I was able to investigate this large ruin on my own, so I could climb up and down the large pyramids and tombs at my leisure. The site was historically was not as important as those as Tikal and Caracol. In fact it was probably a junior partner to the later...

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  • Tikal

    At Clarissa Falls, Mark will arrange the entire trip to Tikal--just tell him when you want to go---its about $100 per person. He drove us to the border, walked us over, and introduced us to the driver. The driver was really nice---a/c shuttle van, a HUGE PLUS! The ride is about 2 hours over, we stopped at a great souvenier stand to shop/use...

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  • Falls and Mountain Pine Ridge

    This is believed to be the highest waterfall in Central America and is actually over 1,500 ft to the bottom. A viewing platform overlooks the falls. There is a short scenic trail around the escarpment for taking in the valley view. We drove up and had lunch up there. The road is unpaved.

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  • Tours

    All of our tours in the San Ignacio area originated from Belize CIty. Prior to going to Belize I contacted pacztours and scheduled a trip to ATM for me and my family. Pacztours picked us up in Belize City and drove us back and forth to ATM. It was an incredibly wonderful tour, full of history and fun. We had such a great time with Danny our tour...

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  • Cahal Peche

    I enjoyed Cahal Pech much more than I thought I would. It doesn't have the large, impressive looking structures like Xunantunich or Caracol, but it had several smaller structures and lots of hallways and nooks and crannies to explore. If you like to wander around and explore, make sure to visit Cahal Pech. They said it Plus, it's on a main road in...

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San Ignacio Hotels

San Ignacio Restaurants

  • Hannah's Restaurant

    Hannah's ingredients are for the most part organic. They apparently have their own farm from which they get their meat and eggs. You can definitely taste the quality. Also they have fantastic breakfasts. Great waitstaff- one of our favourites was "Mercy" One of the best hamburgers I've ever had!

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  • Serendib

    I have a tendency to try out different cuisines in the most unlikely places (like Mexican in New Delhi). In San Ignacio I found a restaurant serving Sri Lankan food. This turned into a good choice as the food was very good. I thought it was nearly empty at first until I entered the patio out back. The patio was in fact nearly full thanks to a bus...

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  • Hodie's

    What a great atmosphere in the evening. Sit on the patio and enjoy the large lawn and invading orange grove. There is a playground for the kids and the local cuisine is excellent. Try the chicken, rice and beans with a starter of their flavorable chicken escabeche. Have a local beer - Biliken or Lighthouse to finish off the day's heat. The TV was...

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San Ignacio Nightlife

  • Great cocktails

    The “Jungle Bar” is an attractive circular building in the centre of the grounds, with a thatch roof, open sides, and a variety of seating options – comfortable sofas, bar stools, and wooden chairs and tables on an open deck.The bar staff are very friendly and will mix you any drink – they make a great Martini and Cosmopolitan, we found. Each...

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  • Damn cool !!!

    It's a great night-spot ... although they open from 1PM till 2AM. They have free internet for their customers, villar tables, two nice bars, great music ... and an excellent atmosphere! It's Belize ... which means: casual !!

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  • A Full Moon

    In truth, mostly at night we just went to bed after dinner. I did spend some time one night when it was relatively clear trying to take a picture of the full moon and watching Romeo, the tame toucan who lived at Clarissa Falls, and the cat who was trying (unsuccessfully) to catch him.

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San Ignacio Transportation

  • Arriving from Guatemala

    We arrived at Chaa Creek by car from Tikal, the transport provided by the ever-reliable STP. Tikal is quite near the border so it wasn’t a long drive – about an hour till we reached the border. On the way we stopped briefly at this viewpoint of Lake Peten Itza – the wooded promontory is said to resemble the snout of a crocodile. But as you can see...

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  • The Cutest Ferry in Belize

    On the way to Xunantunich, you have to cross the Mopan River by way of a small ferry. This ferry can carry cars but only one at a time. The ferry is actually operated by a crank that guides it along a rope to the far bank of the river. It is free to use the ferry and the pilot is friendly.

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  • The 'Trek Stop' Shuttle

    We were almost at the end of our 3-weeks in Belize when we had to leave the San Ignacio area for a final night in Belize City, prior to flying out the next day. This photo shows the mini-van shuttle that took us the 72-miles from San Ignacio to the 'big city'. We had actually planned to catch one of the local busses, but the Trek Stop owners...

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San Ignacio Shopping

  • Crafts and more

    There is a small but well-stocked shop in the grounds, selling a wide range of items, from local crafts to the basic necessities that you may have forgotten to bring away. Prices struck us as very reasonable considering that guests here are rather a “captive audience” and the shop has the monopoly on their purses. We bought this small wooden...

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  • Less than a 10 Minute Walk

    Very conveniently located just along the highway from the Trek Stop, was the Hua Yong Supermarket. This very clean and well-run Taiwanese-owned establishment is located at the western edge of the village of San Jose Soccotz, with the Mopan River running past on the other side of the highway. It was only about a 15-minute round trip walk on the...

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  • A Bustling Market

    We made our way into San Ignacio on two different occassions and both times ended up at the local Market. It was noticeably busier on the Saturday than it had been on our earlier Wednesday visit, with about 3 times as many stalls in business displaying their goods for sale. The main part of the market is covered with a tin roof but, on busy days,...

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San Ignacio Local Customs

  • Along for the Ride

    At the end of our Mopan River tubing voyage, we were picked up at the Clarissa Falls Hotel by the Trek Stop's pickup truck. There were two guys in the cab and a little girl in the box of the truck, so, along with our tubes, Sue and I hopped in the back with her to enjoy the sunshine and breezes on the 4 or 5 mile drive back. It turned out that...

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  • Local 'Laundromat'

    The day after we arrived at the Trek Stop, we asked the Belizian lady (Flora), who prepared meals in the kitchen, what was our best option to get our 13 days of laundry seen to. She said it was no problem to have one of the villagers in San Jose Succotz take care of it (US$6) and she would look after the details for us. That was great, so we...

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  • Roadside Pictures

    Roads in Belize vary in quality. In the dry season the roads aren't too bad. In the rainy season it might be more of a problem. We often saw Amish people on the various roads. They deliver farm produce, and we were also behind a delivery of a building on the Southern Highway.When we went on the Humingbird Highway, it was only half paved, with quite...

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San Ignacio Warnings and Dangers

  • ROUGH River Mopan

    My sister and I went tubing on the river Mopan---it for the most part looks pretty safe---I think I had heard references that it was an easy float. NOT AT ALL--my sister is pretty athletic and she said she thought it was tough. I lost my float three times and had to dodge wacking my head (and certain serious injury--fyi, its my understanding there...

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  • Complex logistics to Tikal

    Warning, it looked VERY CONFUSING to try to arrange a trip from Belize to Tikal on your own---its pretty far from the Belizean border (2 hours) and was basically in the middle of no where. The border crossing looked a bit complex---and I have made several land crossings myself (Morocco/Argentina & Uruguay/ Brazil & Argentina) and this by far looked...

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  • Betware the Ticks

    There are a lot of blood-sucking wood ticks in Belize. I found two on my head after a visit to Caracol ruins, so watch out if you're in the jungle. I woke up with one on my eyelid one morning - very unpleasant!

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San Ignacio Tourist Traps

  • San Ignacio's Market

    My guidebook claimed that the market in San Ignacio is the best in Belize. Considering the size of the country, this might not be saying much. I went to check out and I found it very disappointing. To be honest I am somewhat jaded when it comes to markets. I have seen so many good ones. For me this was just another market on a par with any in Latin...

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  • Hannah's - Be Forewarned!

    this is not authentic indian cooking. it tastes like a chinaman cooked it, which is saying a lot. "fresh" is used a lot. it's just not true. and the prices - u have to be someone just off a cruise ship to pay NY prices for an entree. do this: 1. go to eva's for beer. 2. go to marthas for belizean food3. go to serindib for indian food4. go to hode's...

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  • San Ignacio Hotels

    20 Hotels in San Ignacio

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San Ignacio Off The Beaten Path

  • Blue Hole Park

    These pictures are extremely poor quality. They were taken by Bob with a primative point and shoot camera with no settings for exposure, and then the prints were photographed under less than perfect circumstances.There are three entrances to the park which is twelve miles southeast of Belmopan on the Hummingbird Highway. This puts it in the Cayo...

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  • Iguana's everywhere

    Belize, and San Ignacio as well is full of rainforest plants and animals.Very present there, and also fun to watch are iguanas.If you go on a canoe trip, you will most probably see dozens of them, or better have problems in recognizing them but finally spot them when there is a big splash - they are dozing in the trees, and once in a while drop off...

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  • Bird watch in the jungle

    In Belize's jungle, there is a vast diversity of animal life. Whenever you step off the roads and go into the rainforest, you see all kinds of animals.Or you hear them.Just take some time, sit down and listen or watch.There are quite some toucans flying around or sitting in the trees."flying bananas" - that's how our tour guide used to call them...

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San Ignacio Sports & Outdoors

  • On horseback through the jungle

    Horseback riding in the jungle - if you are in San Ignacio, and you don't do it - you definitely miss a kind of Indiana Jones feeling !It is thrilling, finding your way through the fast growing trees and plants - even more, if you do it with experienced riders.I was even more thrilled to see (now, in 2005), that Charlie and her Easy Rider is still...

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  • Tubing

    One of the possible activities at Clarissa Falls is tubing. If you have time, Jena will take you up to the ferry at Xunantunich, and you can float down to Clarissa Falls. But I didn't have that much time, so I rented a big tire inner tube and took my snorkel camera and floated down the river to a landing for the cable boat where I was picked up. It...

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  • Canoeing Macal River

    San Ignacio's jungle has so much to offer for water sports lovers.Macal river maeanders through the area, and thus is perfect for any kind of canoeing trips.I tried to find the ones, we have booked in 1997, but failed to remember the name (and it was not specifically mentioned in my travelbook...).But as it's quite popular, you should not have a...

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San Ignacio Favorites

  • Suspension Bridge

    San Ignacio is across the Macal River from their sister city of Santa Elena. To get from one side of the river to the other you must cross the one-lane Hawksworth Bridge - Belize's only suspension bridge which was built in 1949. Walking across is pretty easy, but in order to cross in a car, you have to take your turn. In order to avoid...

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  • Sunset Karaoke Bar Near Low Bridge in...

    My favorite place to have a beer in the evening and sing or just listen how others do it. You can meet there many interesting people. I fell in love with that little town on my first visit, and decided to make it my Future Home.Now it will be my 9th visit and I own my little hideout.

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  • A small city in the western hill country...

    San Ignacio is a small town in the western hill country of Belize, near the border of Guatemala. The town is clean, friendly & kind of 'quaint'. You can go hiking in the hills, caving in a number of fabulous cave systems complete with underground rivers & ancient Mayan artifacts & remains of human sacrifices, and there is also a small but...

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Explore Deeper into San Ignacio
Martha's Restaurant
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Clarissa Falls
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Tropical Wings Nature Center
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"Mestizo" style
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Remote Mayan Cave
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St. Herman's Cave
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While in San Ignacio, Don't Miss Cahal Pech
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Cahal Pech
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Early morning bird watching
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Macal River Trail
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Butterfly Farm
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Nature Centre
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Range of activities
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Meals at the Lodge
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Ask for the escabeche
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Amazing pizza & Happy Hour
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A good Sri Lankan Restaurant
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Xunantunich
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Cahal Pech
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Day trip to Tikal
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Mixed impression
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Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave
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ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal) Cave tour
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Cahal Pech: Disney-like restoration of Maya ruin
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El Pilar: Excellent birdwatching
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Xunantunich: El Castillo takes your breath away
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Belize Botanic Gardens
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Caracol: Hidden treasure
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Ziplining at Jaguar Paw
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Tubing through Limestone Caves
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Cafe Sol: laid-back hippie restaurant
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Running W Steakhouse: Quality food
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Serendib: Authentic Sri Lankan cuisine
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Martha's: Something for everyone
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Eva's: Tourist hub for tours and information
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ATM and Mayan Ruins
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Floating off into the Jungle
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A Great Little Restaurant!
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Xunantunich - Mayan Temple
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Map of San Ignacio

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