“Together with neighboring Santa Elena, on the east bank of the river, San Ignacio forms the chief population center of Cayo District. Staying here is generally the more economical option for travel in Cayo; furthermore, there is no shortage of tour operators who are willing to show you the attractions and activities in the surrounding area. It is a friendly, functional base for your explorations of the region”, reads the page of San Ignacio on the Lonely Planet website.
San Ignacio in our opinion is the perfect hub to explore and experience a plethora of ecotourism activities in Belize like hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, bird watching, caving, horseback riding, zip lining, and much more.
Here are our 9 interesting things about San Ignacio:
1.) San Ignacio Town was originally named El Cayo by the Spanish but on October 19, 1904, El Cayo was officially declared a town by the government of British Honduras now Belize.
2.) San Ignacio is home to the Hawksworth Bridge which is the only drivable suspension bridge in Belize.
3.) Burns Ave which runs north–south, is San Ignacio's main street and is a good place to begin a tour of the town.
4.) San Ignacio is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Belize and is strategically located near a number of attractions that include Maya sites like Xunantunich and Cahal Pech, Caves like Barton Creek and Actun Tunichil Muknal, and the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve which is home to the spectacular waterfalls like 1000 Foot Fall and Big Rock Waterfalls.
See also: 25 Things You Didnt Know About Belize
5.) San Ignacio is located on the west bank of the Macal River and a couple of miles upstream from its confluence is the Mopan River – both rivers meet together and form the Belize River in the area called Branch Mouth.
6.) Every Saturday, the San Ignacio Market comes alive with farmers selling local fruits and vegetables. Vendors also hawk crafts, clothing, and household goods. Some vendors show up on other days as well, but Saturday has by far the largest market.
7.) Both English and Spanish are widely spoken in San Ignacio and the Town is home to large populations of Mestizos, Creoles, Chinese, Lebanese, Guatemalans, Mennonites and Mayas.
8.) San Ignacio is also home to a large concentration of expats and has a lower cost of living than Ambergris Caye and Placencia.
9.) San Ignacio is 15 miles from the Guatemalan border of Melchor de Mencos.
About San Ignacio Belize
San Ignacio is the beating heart of Belize's western Cayo District. In conjunction with its twin town of Santa Elena on the other side of the Macal River, this area is the biggest population center in the region, replete with plenty of affordable accommodations, quality restaurants, and transportation connections.
San Ignacio has a unique and vibrant history, popular with visitors and Belizeans alike for its special vibe, popular open-air market and a rich blend of different cultures. Mestizos, Maya, Garifuna and wandering expats from North and America call San Ignacio home. San Ignacio and Santa Elena are located on the Macal River just a few miles from where it meets the Mopan River to form the headwaters of the Belize River.
Cahal Pech Village Resort
When exploring the many wonders of western Belize and Cayo District, stay at the Cahal Pech Village Resort. With a gourmet restaurant serving local delicacies and beautiful views of the whole Belize River Valley, Cahal Pech offers comfortable accommodations with full modern amenities.