7 Best Things to Do in San Ignacio Belize TODAY!

7 Best Things to Do in San Ignacio Belize TODAY!

When you are done exploring the Caribbean Islands of Belize such as Caye Caulker, head towards the western part of Belize to a small town named San Ignacio. San Ignacio is located in the heart of the once  mighty Mayan civilization, it shouldn’t surprise you that there are many amazing historical attractions in San Ignacio Belize.  

But what to do in San Ignacio Belize besides learning about history and culture of the Mayan empire?

Here are our recommended list of the 7 best things to do in San Ignacio Belize.

San Ignacio Belize Attractions Map

Above is a map of the best places to visit in San Ignacio. As you can see on this map, San Ignacio’s attractions are all locally centrally. If you plan to have a comprehensive visit to San Ignacio, it is recommeneded that you spend at least 3 days to see everything.

Click the toggle on the upper-left corner of the map to see more details about the highlighted points!

What To Do In San Ignacio: 7 BEST Things To Do in San Ignacio Belize

1. Visit the Xunantunich Ruins

How To Get To Xunantunich Ruins From San Ignacio

Xunantunich is an ancient Mayan archaeological site easily accessible from San Ignacio. There are usually two ways to get there on your own (without an organized tour from San Ignacio).

1. Take a public bus at the bus station at San Ignacio that is headed for Benque, tell the bus driver to let you know when you reach the ferry for Xunantunich. It costs 2 Belizean dollars per person.

2. Take a shared taxi from town to there, it should only be 3 Belizean dollars per person or 1.5 USD. Make sure it is a shared taxi and not a private one because that charges a lot more.

Both methods take about 30 minutes to arrive at the hand-cranked ferry which will be used to transport you across the river. The river is at most 10 meters long so you will spend less than 2 minutes on the ferry.

Upon reaching the other side of the river, there is a 20-minute walk to the entrance of the ruins where you will purchase your ticket and enter the ruins.

Cost To Enter Xunantunich Ruins

Total Cost: $14 BZD, $10 BZD for entrance, $4 BZD for round-trip transportation on the bus.

We hired a tour guide upon arrival because we were interested in learning the history of the ruins. It cost us $25 BZD in total for the 3 of us.

The guide was very professional and very accommodating. He showed us ruins that were still under excavations, guided us through the jungle and showed us the different types of wildlife (tarantulas and more) native to the region. It was worth every penny.

The most impressive ruins at Xunantunich is the “El Castillo” or “The Castle” in English. Climb to the top of “El Castillo” and enjoy a panoramic view of the Cayo district!

Xunantunich Opening Hours

8 AM to 5 PM Daily

2. Explore the ATM Cave (Actun Tunichil Muknal)

Credit: Peter Anderson

This attraction in San Ignacio is the reason why many tourists from all over the world travel to Belize.

Actun Tunichil Muknal cave (ATM for short) is one of the top 10 most sacred caves in the entire world. The picture that you see is an actual skeleton from inside the cave. This cave is understood to be used for Mayan ceremonial purposes.

Archaeologists believe that human sacrifices were done here to pray for rain. They were able to date back the skeletons to around 700 A.D, around the time when a drought had occurred. Coincidence?? I think not.

There are lots of potteries and skeletons inside the cave. Cameras and phones are now banned because a tourist dropped his camera and destroyed one of the artifacts.

You want to be decently fit to enter this cave. Knowing how to swim is highly recommended.

Cost:

~90USD or 180 BZD. Yes, it’s pricey but definitely something you have to include on your Belize itinerary!

Because it is such a protected area, you can only visit the ATM Cave with a tour company.

Here is the tour we recommend if you want to guarantee your spot before arrival: 

3. Walk Along the Macal River

Usually, I am not the type of person that recommends a nice relaxing stroll along the river, but the area surrounding the Macal River totally blew me away. Go for a walk and admire the colorful buildings situated along the side of the river.

Make sure you go at sunset or sunrise though, the light really brings out the colors of the environment! If you are lucky, maybe you will catch a glimpse of the locals cooling down in the river and just enjoying life.

When I was there, we saw a whole family washing their car by the river and splashing each other with water. It was really nice to see people enjoy the simpler things in life. On the way back, make sure you cross the famous Hawkesworth Bridge!

If you go during sunrise or sunset, you will see and hear a ridiculous amount of birds!!

4. Green Iguana Conservation Project

For those that are fond of reptiles and especially iguanas, this is the place you cannot miss. Located in the town of San Ignacio itself, it should not take you more than 20 minutes to arrive at this little sanctuary.

The conservatory is attached to the San Ignacio Hotel but you do not need to stay in the hotel to visit the conservatory. The caretakers allow you to pet them and feed them! How awesome is that!? Since they are species under protection, the iguanas are nursed until they are old enough and released into the wild.

Where Is The Green Iguana Conservation Project?

Surprisingly, the Green Iguana is located inside the San Ignacio Resort Hotel in San Ignacio. From downtown San Ignacio, it is about a 15-minute walk.

Cost To Enter Green Iguana Conservation Project

At the time of writing, it costs $18 Belizean dollars or $9 USD to enter Green Iguana Conservation Project.

5. Visit The Cahal Pech Archaeological Reserve

Cahal Pech is definitely not one of the most amazing Mayan ruins I have ever seen in my life. In fact, it is quite small and a lot of it has yet to be excavated. If you want to see the best Mayan ruins, it is a Mayan ruin right across the border in Guatemala called Tikal.

What makes Cahal Pech so special is its serenity and authenticity.

A quick 30-minute walk from the town, visiting it is one of the best activities in San Ignacio Belize. There are literally locals that live in the adjacent area next to the ruins! How cool is that?! Some of these local’s backyard is literally the Cahal Pech ruins.

What I liked about Cahal Pech was that it was not touristy at all. It felt like I had the whole park to myself and I was there at noon. In addition to that, it has a museum attached to it which explains some of the significance of the ruins. It is a very unique thing to do in San Ignacio.

Opening Hours of Cahal Pech Archaeological Reserve

6:30 AM – 5 PM Daily

How to Get to Cahal Pech Archaeological Reserve From San Ignacio

Cahal Pech is located 30 minutes away from San Ignacio on foot, or ~10 minutes in a taxi. I highly recommend walking to this Mayan archaeological site because of the scenery on the way there. You get to see how the locals Belizean live and their lifestyle along with the cute painted houses that they live in.

Cahal Pech Archaeological Reserve Entrance Fee

$10 BZD or $5 USD 

6. Take A Day Trip To The Mighty Tikal Mayan Ruins

Once a Maya superpower, visiting Tikal Ruins is now one of the best things to do in San Ignacio. Located in the jungle of Guatemala, the only way accessible to it is through a day trip organized by a tour.

The Tikal site itself is huge and you can spend the whole entire day exploring the hundreds of ruins, some of which have yet to be excavated or discovered.

A popular activity at Tikal Mayan ruins is to watch the sunrise or sunset at temple 4. However, if you are coming from San Ignacio, the only option would be a regular tour or a sunrise tour.

What made the Tikal ruins stand out so much compared to the other ruins is that Tikal ruins is literally located in the jungle of Guatemala. During your visit, you will see many different animals such as monkeys, parrots, and if you are lucky (or unlucky), a jaguar.

The most unique thing you can do is to camp at Tikal Mayan ruins, it is an experience you will never forget. Though you can only do this if you plan on staying for 2 days in Guatemala.

7. Discover The Ancient Ruins of Caracol

Credit: Dennis Jarvis

Did you think you were done with ruins? I hope not.

The region where San Ignacio is located has some of the best Mayan ruins in the world.

Caracol ruins are Mayan ruins located 82 km to the South of San Ignacio. The ruins were named Caracol (Shells in Spanish) because thousands of shells were found when Caracol was discovered.

The Caracol ruin has a total area of 65 sq miles or 168 sq kilometers and is bigger than any city there is in Belize.

In addition to that, a pyramid named the Sky Tower was discovered. To this day, the Sky Tower pyramid is the tallest man-made structure in all of Belize.

Where to Stay in San Ignacio Belize

Best Hostel in San Ignacio – Bella’s Backpackers Cayo

Bell’as Backpackers Cayo is one of the best hostels in San Ignacio and it is not hard to see why. With an approachable staff that becomes part of your family, anyone solo backpacking Belize will never feel alone. Their common areas and terraces are also great places to meet other travelers in Belize! 

Click here for more details!

Best Airbnb in San Ignacio – Villa Macaw

Where To Stay In San Ignacio Belize
Best Things To Do In San Ignacio Belize

(Images Courtesy of Airbnb)

If you are looking for a comfortable and cozy stay in San Ignacio Belize, then Villa Macaw is perfect for you. Located on the perimeter of San Ignacio, guests can enjoy the peace and quiet as they go for a dip in their refreshing private pool or suntan on the side.

The ceiling-high windows allow guests to enjoy views of the beautiful flora and fauna surrounding this San Ignacio Airbnb. When you are not indulging in our private villa, downtown San Ignacio is a short walk away!

Click here for more information!

Best Luxury Hotel in San Ignacio – San Ignacio Resort Hotel

Located a short 5 minutes from the hustle and bustle of the town center, San Ignacio Resort Hotel is the priciest and fanciest hotel in all of San Ignacio. It has both a restaurant and a swimming pool on location, perfect for those that want to take a dip in the pool to momentarily escape the Belizean heat. The Green Iguana Conservation Project is also in the hotel!

Click here for more details!

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Have you been to San Ignacio Belize? What was your favorite thing to do in San Ignacio? Let us know in the comments!!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

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BEST and CHEAPEST Restaurants to Eat in San Ignacio Belize

BEST and CHEAPEST Restaurants to Eat in San Ignacio Belize

When it comes to traveling, food is probably one of the most important parts. Being able to try the local cuisines, tasting the freshest ingredients they grow the region, and sampling the local beverages is one of the purposes of my travel.

But if you are in a new city and extremely indecisive, then you probably have a hard time finding a good and affordable restaurant to eat.

In the city of San Ignacio in Belize, you don’t want to have that problem. Belizean food is a fusion of Mexican, Guatemalan, and Caribbean food and is one of the biggest attractions in San Ignacio.

Here is a list of some of the cheapest and best restaurants in San Ignacio, Belize.

Map Of The Best San Ignacio Restaurants

Located above is the map of the best restaurants and cheap eats in San Ignacio, Belize. The majority of these restaurants are located in downtown San Ignacio, making it easy to visit them all. Click the toggle on the uper-left corner of the map for more information!

Best Cheap Eats in San Ignacio Belize

Mincho’s

Mincho’s is the definition of cheap, fast, and good. Mainly Mexican and Belizean cuisines, it’s burritos and tacos do not disappoint. In addition to those, it has some of the cheapest and most refreshing fruit juices ever.

This restaurant is more like a fast food place meaning you go up to the counter to order your food and then you find seats after. It is definitely not a place to go for a fancy date.

Don’t let that deter you though, it has the speed and price of a fast-food restaurant, but the taste of a nice fancy restaurant. Highly recommended!!!!

Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7AM-4PM
Saturday: 7AM-3PM
Sunday: CLOSED

Cenaida’s Belizean Food

Like the name suggested, Cenaida’s is THE restaurant for Belizean food. If you are looking for some cheap and local Belizean food, Cenaida’s is the place you do not want to miss. I have definitely been here more times than I want to admit but everything I have tried on their menu was amazing. Don’t miss this place!!!

Hours:

Daily: 11AM-4PM, 5:30PM-9PM EXCEPT on Wednesday.
Wednesday: 11AM-4PM

Best Restaurants in San Ignacio Belize

Ko-Ox Han Nah (Let’s go eat)

Ko-Ox Han nah or let’s go eat is one of the best local restaurants in San Ignacio. Located very close to the center of town, this place is oftentimes crowded for good reasons. Ko-Ox Han nah is moderately priced and serves some of the best food I have ever had in Belize. Portions are huge, the menu is extensive, and the atmosphere is amazing. This is definitely a place you want to try when you are in San Ignacio. Go get the stewed chicken here!!!!

Hours:

6AM-9PM Daily

Pop’s

Pop’s is probably the most famous restaurant in all of San Ignacio. Their breakfast is considerably one of the best in town. The established is air-conditioned so you can take a break from the heat. The service is fast. The interior is very decorative. There are too many good things to say about this place. On the plus side, their famous breakfast is all day long so you don’t have to get up early for it!! Go try the fry jacks here! You won’t regret it.

Hours:

6AM-10PM Daily EXCEPT Sunday

Sunday: 6AM-2PM

Guava Limb Cafe

Guava Limb Cafe is probably one of the most expensive restaurants in San Ignacio. However, the price is well justified. Their well-crafted cuisines are made from the freshest organic ingredients from local farms. No more worrying about get food poisoning when eating from this restaurant. The menu is also extensive and each and every single dish is meticulously done. Give your taste buds a vacation and try this place at least once. You will be glad you did! You might want to make a reservation in advance because this place does get very crowded!

Hours:

Tuesday to Sunday: 11AM-10PM
Monday: Closed

Where to Stay in San Ignacio Belize

Best Hostel in San Ignacio – Bella’s Backpackers Cayo

Bella’s Backpackers Cayo is unquestionably the best backpacker hostel in San Ignacio. Featuring beautiful common areas and terraces to relax and hang out, you will no doubt meet many friends at Bella’s Backpackers Cayo. However, it could get quite noisy depending on the crowd.

Click here for more details!

Best Cheap Hotel in San Ignacio – Venus Hotel

A great value-for-money hotel in San Ignacio, Belize. The rooms are spacious and the beds are huge as you can see. This hotel has all the basic facilities you will need and the reception will go out of their way to assist you. Their included breakfast is a plus!

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel in San Ignacio – San Ignacio Resort Hotel

San Ignacio Resort hotel is the most luxurious hotel in San Ignacio by far. It features a beautiful swimming pool and outdoor lounge area where you can soak in the Belizean sun. Their on-site restaurant serves amazing international cuisine as well as authentic Belizean dishes. Did I mention they have an iguana conservatory onsite?

Click here for more details!

This concludes our guide on the best restaurants in San Ignacio, Belize. We hope you get to enjoy Belizean food the same way we did!

Any questions? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

Cenaida's-2 San Ignacio