Instead of Going to Ambergris Caye, why not Visit Cayo District?
Ambergris Caye is the biggest island in Belize and the most popular tourist destination. Unfortunately, Ambergris Caye has now become overcrowded, and prices are beginning to rise precipitously. Instead of battling crowds, why not visit the unspoiled beauty of Belize’s western Cayo District?
The largest of Belize’s six districts, Cayo is home to some of the most luscious, unspoiled terrain in the country. The national capital, Belmopan, as well as the second-largest urban areas in the country, San Ignacio, are both in Cayo District. But most visitors come to Cayo District in order to enjoy the amazing nature.
Some of the top attractions in Cayo District include rugged jungle rivers perfect for canoeing, the vast Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, home to the tallest waterfalls in all of Central America, and spooky caves like Rio Frio and Actun Tunichil Muknal. This area of Belize is also ideal for horseback riding, bird watching, and cave tubing, which involves floating down underground rivers on an inner tube.
Cayo District is also where you’ll find some of the most magnificent ruins left behind by the ancient Maya civilization. Destinations like Xunantunich and Caracol are both in Cayo District, huge stone cities replete with pyramids, palaces, and ball courts where teams once battled to the death. And the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tikal is just over the border from Cayo District in Guatemala. And just across the river from Santa Elena Town in Cayo is Cahal Pech, the small cliffside residence built for nobles and the ruling elite of ancient Maya society.
The town of San Ignacio is an excellent introduction to authentic Belizean culture. Located on the banks of the Macal River is San Ignacio’s open-air market where farmers, artisans, and healers from all across the country come to swap gossip and sell their wares. San Ignacio is also home to small shops, cafes, and restaurants where visitors can sample authentic Belizean cuisine as well as pick up souvenirs, including handicrafts and traditional medicinal compounds.
If you’re interested in exploring the many wonders of Cayo District, be sure to stay at the Cahal Pech Village Resort. Named for the nearby ancient Maya city, Cahal Pech features lovely, thatched roof cabanas, and a restauran, and bar with panoramic views of the verdant Belize River Valley.
Cahal Pech Village Resort organizes tours to all of the top activities and destinations in the country, including visiting the ancient Maya city of Tikal in Guatemala.