Situated in Belize’s Cayo District, San Ignacio serves as a base for adventure seekers and a layover for travelers on their way to or from Guatemala. Horseback riding, cave tubing, and hiking are just a few of the activities offered—and with some planning, you can pack a lot of action into a single fun-filled day. Here are some options.
Many travelers stay in San Ignacio because of its convenient location near major archaeological sites such as Cahal Pech and Xunantunich. To maximize your time, see both Maya ruins on a group tour. Known for bird watching, Cahal Pech is the smaller of the two sites; at nearby Xunantunich, climb 130-foot-tall (40-meter-tall) El Castillo for views of the jungle canopy, the other ruins, and the Guatemalan border. Alternatively, spend the entire day cave tubing at Caves Branch River or ziplining through the jungle.
If you didn’t join an all-day excursion or you’re looking for something less strenuous, head to one of the butterfly farms in Cayo after lunch. Belize is home to about 700 butterfly species—keep an eye out for the blue morpho. Or, tour the Belize Botanic Gardens, and learn about traditional uses for medicinal plants. Don’t miss the orchid house, which contains more than 120 orchid species.
Most all-day tours return to San Ignacio in the evening, just in time to grab dinner at one of the local eateries. Overall, the San Ignacio nightlife scene is fairly quiet, with a smattering of bars and restaurants serving up a range of cuisine, from pizza to Chinese. Alternatively, catch the sunset as you explore the Cayo countryside on horseback. Riding tours sometimes include a glass of wine to enjoy at the end of the day.