Welcome to my tried and true guide for travel to San Ignacio, Belize!
While I truly have enjoyed every piece of Belize that I’ve visited so far, nothing quite pulls at my heart like San Ignacio does. I’ve been wanting to put together a guide like this since my first visit. I really do believe this is the greatest place on Earth, and I love to provide recommendations for friends who are visiting!
Quick Note: All of the tours mentioned in this post, pick up from hotels in the San Ignacio area! Most all of them also include a lunch too. Yum!
My Favorite Activities
Take an excursion to the Caracol ruins, but make sure that on the way back you stop by the relaxing natural pools of Rio On Pools as well as the Rio Frio Cave (SO COOL!). Both are spectacular and right now I would say this full day experience has been my favorite!
ATM caves – This is another full day of exploring, this time in a cave! I found the reviews online of this tour to be very intimidating, but the tour itself to be much less terrifying then it seemed it would be. You start out with a 45 minute hike to the entrance of the cave, jump into the water at the caves entrance and swim about 10 feet (life jackets provided!), and then you go on an incredible adventure through the cave. You will see TONS of cultural remains (pottery), some skeletons, and listen to the guides tell stories rich in Maya history.
My tour was booked through Maya Walk, and I can’t recommend them enough! The guides have been doing this for 15 years, every single day. They tell you exactly where to step, what to hold on to, and make you feel very comfortable during each of the obstacles throughout the cave.
Tikal – Guatamala
Because there’s no such thing as too much adventure, today is Tikal day! Take a 1.5 hour ride across the Guatemala border to Tikal, and explore these expansive ruins. I booked my tour through Maya Walk tours.
After climbing through the ATM caves, and going up all of the steps at Tikal, today is a day to relax on the river. I highly recommend River Tubing if you just need to jell out. If you still want a bit more activity, check out some River Canoeing.
Take a horseback ride up to the Xunantunich (shoe-nan-two-niche) ruins. I’ve been here 3 times over the past year, and every time it’s changed at least a little bit. Archaeologists are continuously digging and/or releasing information about what they’ve found. Hands down the best guide I’ve ever had was William from Hanna Stables. Ok, I’ll admit, he’s the only guide I’ve ever had for these ruins. All three times. But still, I highly recommend him!
Time to actually see the town of San Ignacio! Here are a couple other activities in town that I recommend checking out:
- Saturday Market If you can time this for Saturday, be sure to check out the Saturday market. It’s like a massive farmers market that people from all over come to. If Saturday is your first day in town, stop by to pick up fresh produce for the week!
- A’jaw Chocolates and Crafts for a unique 45 minute tour exploring what cacao is, and a demonstration of how it goes from bean to a tasty cacao drink (yes, you get to drink it – 3 different ways!). You even get to take home a bit of the extra cacao paste, I usually put it in my coffee the next morning.
- Green Iguana Conservation Project Want to feed an Iguana? Hold an Iguana? Put an Iguana on your head? Every dollar you spend here, goes right into the conservation project, helping bring back the iguanas. This is located at the San Ignacio hotel, and is well worth it! After you spend some time with the Iguanas, you go on a short walk around with your guide who will point out various flora and fauna.
- Cahel Pech these ruins are a lot of fun, super easy, and usually very empty. I definitely recommend spending some time here!
- Gretals Spa you know that emoji with the heart eyes? That’s the only way to describe my time at Gretals! She’s an absolute pleasure to talk with, and works magic.
Ready for some pool time? There are a couple pools at hotels in San Ignacio, and they’re all accessible to the public for just $10bz/$5us for the whole day! I had a blast at Rumurs, sippin a drink at the poolside then taking a dip to cool off in the super hot 110 degree weather last September.
Depending on your flight times and what method of transportation you use, you might try to stop by the Belize Zoo! If you can’t make it on your way into San Igancio, see if you can on the way back out. The zoo is fairly small, so no more than 1-2 hours are required to see it all, including high-fiving a jaguar, feeding a toucan, and holding a snake.
Where to Sleep:
- Hanna Stables I’ve really only ever stayed here, and every single stay is always perfect. Best food, conversation, most beautiful gardens, and happiest horses in Belize. Super unbiased opinion here 🙂 You stay in rustic stone cottages, have a perfect view of the Xunantunich ruins, and get to enjoy a lovely sunset every night. I’ve met some really fun people here, and most of the excursions I’ve been on, were with people I met while staying here.
Places to Eat:
- The Ice Cream Shoppe Ice Cream, AC, free wi-fi… what else do you need in life. Oh, and their cones are homemade!
- Ko-Ox Han-Nahs just a coincidence that this is my favorite food in town, and also has my name in it! This restaurant is often just referred to as Hannah’s. It serves delicious Belizean food. Including some incredible $3us tacos and a lamb burger to die for!
- Guava Limb Cafe check out this restuarant for a more upscale dining experience, with a fantastic view!
- ATMs (the machines, not that caves) There are a couple ATMs located in San Ignacio. You’ll probably notice them by first seeing people lining up behind a glass door. Inside the door, is an ATM and some AC. Money and cool air? Awesome. You’ll swipe your card to enter the room with the ATM. Wait your turn though, only one person per machine allowed in at a time.
- Beer yes, it’s an essential. All Belizean beers are made by Belikin, and I’ve yet to have one that isn’t delicious!
I hope my guide for travel to San Ignacio, Belize has been helpful!
Interested in something I didn’t list here? Can’t find a place I mentioned? Put a comment below and I’ll see what I can do to help you out!