San Ignacio, Belize; Essential Guide

“It’s not the Destination, It’s the Journey. And in Belize, It’s both”

San Ignacio in Belize is really the gateway to an adventurous vacation. Within a few hours from the city lie some of Belize’s most famous jungle adventures. I spent about a week in San Ignacio with my family and by the end of it we were wishing we had more time. So if you’re looking for a place to spend the majority of your time in, San Ignacio is it. San Ignacio is just a wonderful place that captures a blend of cultures that makes the city so perfectly Belizean. So as follows are my favorite parts about my week in San Ignacio.

  1. Stay at an EcoLodge

We stayed at an ecolodge maybe 30 minutes outside the city called Duplooy’s Jungle Lodge and it was absolutely amazing! I really cannot rave enough about this place. We rented the main house and it was gorgeous and spacious. There is no AC and electricity shuts off late at night for a few hours to conserve power, which can sound scary if you’re more of a luxury traveler but I promise it’s not. This place was one of the nicest places I’ve ever stayed at. You get three meals included in your stay and everything was super delicious. The fruit was amazing and the Belizean Breakfast was my go-to for a busy day of exploring. Basically, If you’re going to San Ignacio, stay here. They also help arrange all your excursions and the guides are amazing! Even if you just want to relax this place is so peaceful, I spent one day just lounging around the house and tubing down the river and it was so nice and really refreshing after a few days of adventuring.

2. San Ignacio Saturday Market

On our way from Caye Caulker to San Ignacio we stopped here and got a bunch of amazing fresh produce to take with us to our house at Duplooy’s for snacks. We also got lunch at this Quesadilla stand that had delicious, fresh watermelon juice. It was so fun to wander through all the stalls and sample the delicious fruits and vegetables. Every stall was piled high with produce and there were so many cool fruits and vegetables I wanted to try. 

2. Cave Tubing

So New Zealand and Belize are actually the only two places in the world where you can tube through an entire cave system (a lot of other experiences you get out and walk for intervals). The trek up to the cave system is maybe a mile and it’s a pretty easy walk, once you’re out of the caves you can also jump into the river for an afternoon swim. The cave itself is so cool, for a part of it we were completely silent, just floating through the water. The shadows on the wall combined with the sound of running water was entrancing. This cave was also once used for religious sacrifices and there are rock formations said to represent different gods within the Mayan tradition. 

3. Ziplining

Okay, do I really need to say why ziplining through the jungle is amazing? It just is so go do it! Seriously! It’s a bit of a trek up to some of the ropes (ok, I was out of breath sometimes) but it was so fun and the views were amazing.

zipline

4. Ride horseback through the jungle

After a 2.5 hour horseback ride to the Xanatunich Ruins (next item on the list) you will be sore if you’re not used to riding but it’s so much fun and the scenery is just beautiful. I will admit I had never ridden a horse before and the guide definitely good-naturedly made fun of my fear, but I did it and it was so fun. 

horses

5. Xanatunich

Ok, these ruins are so cool! It’s a short .5 mile (at most, probably closer to .25) walk up to the complex. Currently there are even more structures and art being uncovered which is so cool! The climb up the main temple isn’t too hard at all, just a little slippery at times so go at your own pace and hold onto things, and the view is definitely worth the trek. You can even see into Guatemala. There’s several structures you can explore as well as a small but mighty museum about the site, including how it got its name and the legend of the Stone Lady who haunts the site.

6. ATM Cave

Ok so full disclosure, I didn’t go to the ATM cave because I was sick but I kinda, really regret it. My family went and had an ah-mazing time. You have to register early and go with a guide, only a certain amount of tourists are allowed in each year. There are the remains of sacrifices that have crystallized over time (this cave was thought to be the entrance of the underworld. So wear thick socks because you have to take of your shoes and no cameras are allowed.

7. Blue Hole

The Blue Hole isn’t quit in San Ignacio, it’s more on the way from San Ignacio to Placencia. Unfortunately we went right after a rainstorm so the water wasn’t as clear as it usually is but it was still beautiful and worth the stop.

blue

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