“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.” For a lot of travel lovers like myself, this truly speaks to my heart. Recently, this need to explore the world is exactly what led me to spending 3 days in San Ignacio, Belize.
San Ignacio is a popular little town in Western Belize within the country’s Cayo district that is growing in popularity as many travelers turn to eco-tourism. The town is an ideal jumping off point for exploring inland Belize and hitting up all the tropical adventure travel activities your heart desires. Read on for all of the amazing adventures to experience and top things to do in San Ignacio, Belize.
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Xunantunich Maya Ruin
Visit Xunantunich, a Maya Ruin that served as a civic ceremonial center. The site has several pyramids (you can climb them!), a ball court, burial chambers, and carvings dating back over 1000 years. To get there, hop on a public bus and let the driver know where you’re going. Note that there is no bus schedule, so you might have to wait at the bus station a bit. Another option to take a cab—there are usually plenty of willing drivers waiting for tourists at the bus station. Once you get off the bus, take the free ferry across the river and hike about a mile up the hill. Make sure to bring plenty of water!
Find a Pool
It’s no secret, Belize is HOT. It was over 90 degrees every day, so at some point, you’re probably going to want to find a pool and live there. For me this was after hiking around Xunantunich for hours on end. Also when the town decided to shut off electricity for about 9 hours one day. Really, any afternoon is a good afternoon to plop yourself in a pool and relax.
One of my favorite parts of San Ignacio was visiting the farmer’s market. They had all of the fresh fruit and veggies you could ever dream up. Pick up a pineapple and enjoy a tasty happy hour snack.
If you have 3 days in San Ignacio, you should definitely dedicate at least one to adventure activities. As the adventure capitol of Belize, there will be no shortage to choose from! In my cave tubing experience, we all suited up in our helmets and hiked through the Belizean jungle in our bathing suits. You might feel weird in the helmet/ bathing suit combo, but don’t worry; everyone’s doing it. After reaching the river, the guide steered us through some very dark Belizean caves. You could even climb up some rocks and jump off in the cave! Make sure to bring your camera; I use the Olympus TG-4 Waterproof Camera.
Continuing the theme of awesome jungle activities, you have to go zip lining! I’m really not sure if anything in the world beats flying through the rain forest. We even made friends with some monkeys while we were there! This is 100000% one of the top things to do in San Ignacio, Belize
Marie Sharp’s Cooking Class
It’s no secret that I LOVE food, so obviously I had to try a cooking class. In the class, we got to cook a typical Belizean Sunday dinner complete with fried plantains, beans and rice, stewed chicken, potato salad, and best of all, bread pudding. The local wines and frozen drinks included in the class didn’t hurt either…
I’ll be honest here…I ended up at the cultural museum because there was air conditioning. Before you judge me too much, I stayed even after I cooled down. The museum walked through the history of Belize and taught me all about the influential people of decades past. Though I hadn’t intended to get a history lesson, it’s definitely worth a stop. There are rotating exhibits, and best of all, it’s free!
Green Iguana Conservation Project
One of the unique things to do in San Ignacio, Belize is visit the Green Iguana Conservation Project. You can learn about the conservation efforts and interact with the iguanas. This is me right before I dropped the iguana…don’t worry, he was fine and I apologized profusely after! Turns out, I might be a little afraid of iguanas, especially when one starts crawling near my head.
Alright, I’m going to let you in on a secret. If you ever see a “Panty Rippa” or any version of that on a drink menu, do yourself a favor and order it. I’m not sure if Belize has a national cocktail, but if I were president, that would be my first order of business. This tasty drink is made with rum (duh!), pineapple juice, and then some combination of grenadine and/or lime. You can thank me later.
Continuing the trend with things you should ingest in San Ignacio, hit up the local Chocolate Class. I learned how chocolate was made in the Mayan times (hint: with a lot of work and arm strength!) I also got to taste raw cacao beans (not a huge fan), plus chocolate drink with local spices. Definitely try the chocolate with fresh allspice—that made a tasty concoction!
Flights to Belize: I’d recommend searching through eDreams.net. They scan tons of different travel discount sites and feature special flight deals. Fly into Belize City, and grab the bus to San Ignacio!
Where to Stay in San Ignacio, Belize: I personally opted to stay at a VRBO Rental. I was traveling with friends, so it was easily the most cost efficient, plus we had our own kitchen and access to a pool…perfect for those steamy Belize afternoons. If you opt to go the hotel route, definitely look into Rainforest Haven Inn. You can’t beat the location, and they serve excellent rum punch. For a budget option, you can’t go wrong with D’s Hostel. It’s clean, new, and close to the center of town.
What are some of your favorite things to do in San Ignacio, Belize? I’d love to hear your stories! For more on Belize, check out my guide to Caye Caulker!