The inland mountainous towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena are located in western Belize. San Ignacio serves as the capital of Cayo District. This region is located about a 2 hour drive away from Belize City, and a 10 minute drive away from the Guatemala border. Many travelers enjoy staying San Ignacio for its great access to jungle adventure tours of nearby Mayan ruins, caves, and rivers, or stay here while en route to the famous Tikal Mayan ruins in Guatemala.
San Ignacio is home to a number of tourist attractions, all of which can be reached and toured either by ones’ self or by tour company. Note that not all tours are available on any given day. Most tour companies require a certain minimum number of registrations before they run. Checking in the night before for which tours are available the next day is often the best option.
The second fastest way to get here is by car. You can rent a car in Belize City and drive directly to San Ignacio, or hire a taxi driver. Either way, the drive takes about 2 hours.
The only sort of local transportation that exists in Belize is the public bus. These are not fancy air conditioned buses, but rather recycled yellow school buses. While not the speediest way to get to San Ignacio due to its frequent stops, the public bus is by far the cheapest and it is also a cultural experience as most local Belizeans will hop on and off the bus.
Family owned for several generations, Nabitunich has been providing a “home away from home” vacation destination for visitors for several decades. Currently run by Santiago Juan, a stay at Nabitunich is the perfect way to relax and commune with nature.Nabitunich website
The mission of Nefry’s is to offer luxurious, comfortable accommodations at an affordable price. They offer exceptional value in the size and quality of there rooms and comfort in beds. Each room has a private bathroom that is large and clean.Nefry’s Retreat website
Pacz is a great local tour operator for adventures such as caving, canoeing, Tikal, Caracol, and ATM Cave.
Run by the famous Santiago Juan, Hanna Stables runs daily horseback riding tours to nearby Mayan ruins including Xunantunich and El Pilar. You can also do a shorter farm tour by horseback to learn about sustainable eco-farming.
There are lots of restaurants to eat cuisines from all over the world in downtown San Ignacio. Many of these restaurants use fresh, organic produce and can accommodate for many different kinds of dietary restrictions.
In San Ignacio, there are many modern conveniences including Internet Cafes, international banks, convenience stores, restaurants, grocery stores, and massage parlors. There is also a new visitor’s center in the heart of downtown with a nice park and bus stop where you can catch the public bus to any nearby towns.