15 Reasons to Visit San Ignacio Town (Also known as Cayo)
1. Cayo is home to Cahal Pech Village Resort, a tourist favourite. Management launched a long-term renovation sure to leave other resorts in the dust. Upgraded standard rooms delight frequent visitors and once the resort’s thatched-roof cabanas are done, advance reservations are sure to be required rather than just suggested.
2. Cayo's Mayan ruins are unparalleled. Visit both Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. You’ll need at least four hours to experience Xunantunich, preferably in the company of a knowledgeable guide booked by Cahal Pech staff. A day trip to Cahal Pech is equally thrilling, though getting to this remote Mayan enclave can be daunting.
3. Cayo is home to Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM), named the world’s number one sacred cave by National Geographic. Reach this sacred burial ground via a circuitous route: climb rocks, wade and swim. Ask Cahal Pech staff to book this tour so you don't miss a single artifact or the crystalized skeleton welcoming curious travelers.
4. Cayo is famous for its rivers. They form a necklace of waterways around San Ignacio that allow visitors to tour by canoe if they don't want to walk. Don’t miss seeing the Colonial-era Hawksworth Suspension Bridge—build in 1949—dominating the Macal River. You can also reach jungles, wildlife habitats and places no road travels by canoe.
5. Cayo encourages you to paddle, too. Let your Cahal Pech hosts know that you want to canoe rather than just float and voila! Choose between the Macal or the Belize Rivers where you can put your paddles into the water and proceed at your own speed while spotting birds, reptiles and fish who may be just as curious about you.
6. Cayo is a bird-watcher's paradise. The right tour guide can help you identify avian species and Cahal Pech staff has plenty of experts on speed dial. Traverse lush tropical forests where birds with intriguing names like Collared Manakins, Flycatchers and Honeycreepers fly, roost and soar. Bring a notebook to record each one.
7. Cayo is perfect for hiking. How adventurous are you when it comes to trail blazing? Have your cake and eat it too by consulting Cahal Pech booking staff to arrange a long walk in whatever aesthetic direction you wish to go: jungles, archaeological sites, wildlife preserves or a little of each.
8. Cayo is a water wonderland. Experience the Big Rock Waterfall and Rio on Pools, both so gorgeous visitors wind up with photos guaranteed to make friends envious. Both destinations require effort to reach them, so if you’re not physically fit, look elsewhere for those photo opportunities. You’ll find plenty!
9. Cayo is close to Guatemala’s Tikal ruins. Ask your Cahal Pech hosts to arrange a tour to another spectacular example of Mayan culture across the border—particularly on days a dance exhibition or festival is scheduled. Cahal Pech is so close to Tikal, you can go there after breakfast and be back in time to swim the afternoon away.
10. Cayo eateries won’t let you starve! Restaurants stay open longer than they do in other parts of Belize and you can expect friendly service by English-speaking hosts. Eat traditional dishes at Ko Ox Han-Nah when you’re not dining at Cahal Pech or indulge in Belize-style fast foods when you come to town to shop and play.
11. Cayo is a friendly place. Expatriates calling Cayo home love to show off their newfound world to tourists. Cahal Pech staff can tell you where they hang out, so if you want answers to questions like “What’s the cost of living here?” you can fuel your retirement dream!
12. Cayo promises fun times. When you’re not enjoying the pools and popular bar at Cahal Pech Resort, frequent lively pubs in town with clever names like Thirsty Thursday, Fuegos, Remo’s Roadhouse and Mr. Greedy’s.
13. Cayo is your place to ride. Whether you’ve never ridden a horse or you’re a pro, your Cahal Pech vacation won’t be complete without a tour-de-horse! Several affordable stables can fix you up so you can visit spots that are off-limits to cars or just feel the wind in your hair as you gallop along.
14. Cayo is a tubing and zipline paradise. Just an hour’s drive from Cahal Pech, a cave system that once housed Mayans has become a tubing destination. You perch on a big tube and slide along, spotting stalactites, stalagmites and other eerie shapes. Still got energy? Stay here long enough to zipline before returning to the resort.
15. Cayo invites you to decompress. Are you overwhelmed after reading this list? Take a breath. Relax. Your Cahal Pech hosts will be happy to watch you lounge for your entire stay and take your meals at the onsite restaurant, so while there are hundreds of things to do while in Cayo, you don’t have to do a single thing!