With summer right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning a fabulous vacation to Belize. Located in the heart of Belize’s western Cayo District, San Ignacio is the eco-tourism capital of the country. Surrounded by verdant hills, broadleaf forests, and cascading waterfalls, San Ignacio has plenty to offer for every traveler.
Here are the Top Things to Do and See in San Ignacio, Belize this summer:
Explore Actun Tunichil Muknal
Rated by National Geographic as the number one Sacred Cave in the world, Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM for short) Cave was once used by ancient Maya priests to appease their angry gods with human sacrifices. Just a 45-minute drive from San Ignacio, the deep labyrinth of ATM cave contains the bones of more than a dozen sacrificial victims, including young children.
Climb to Cahal Pech
One of the best introductions to the world of the ancient Maya is by visiting this site just a few minutes’ walk from San Ignacio. Visitors can explore an ancient Maya city in miniature, including homes, temples, and palaces built for a select group of royals and nobles.
Float into the Barton Creek Cave
Combining the tranquil pleasures of floating down a river on an innertube with the majestic beauty of underground caverns, “cave tubing” is a unique experience in Belize. Participants can sail for several miles through this enormous cave, observing ceramics, artifacts, and even human skulls left behind by the ancient Maya.
See the Stunning Vistas at Xunantunich
The impressive ruins of this massive ancient Maya city-state lie deep in the jungle today, but in the long centuries before the arrival of Europeans, Xunantunich vied with cities like Tikal for dominance of the Maya world. Xunantunich is home to El Castillo (The Castle), a huge pyramid that, at 40 meters (130 feet) tall, is still the second-tallest building in the country.
Spending the Morning at the Open-air Market
One of the best ways to take in local color is by visiting the lively San Ignacio farmer’s market. Locals from all over the region set up shop in the market to sell fresh fruit, vegetables, preserve, dairy products, and to swap gossip or browse through an eclectic collection of handicrafts, artwork, clothing, and traditional medicinal compounds made from indigenous herbs and plants.
Spot Wildlife at the Green Iguana Exhibit
Measuring up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) long and weighing up to 5 kilograms (11 pounds), green iguanas are indigenous to Belize. The best place to see them is at the Green Iguana exhibit at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, part of a 14-acre nature reserve home to more than 150 species of birds.
And Many More…
There’s many more great options for visitors to San Ignacio, including making the short journey across the border into Guatemala to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tikal, enjoying a picnic at the waterfalls in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, bird watching, exploring St. Herman’s Cave, and swimming in the Inland Blue Hole. Whether you’re coming for a relaxing holiday or want to explore the most beautiful nature destinations in Belize, summer is a great time to visit!