What to do in the jungle town of San Ignacio, Belize

by Kelly

What to do in the jungle town of San Ignacio, Belize! We were looking for some adventurous experiences in Belize and San Ignacio turned out to be the perfect place! Set amongst the jungle of Belize San Ignacio is the perfect place to explore Mayan ruins, do some incredible tours and enjoy the dense jungle landscape.

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Where is San Ignacio?

San Ignacio lies 14km from the Guatemala border. It is a regular stop off on the trail between Guatemala and Mexico. It is usually visited before or after Hopkins and Caye Caulker depending on your direction.

Is San Ignacio worth visiting?

Yes! San Ignacio is a great town to base yourself while doing tours in to the Beizean jungle.

If this is something you want to do or you plan to visit the Mayan ruins yourself then it’s absolutely worth visiting.  Just visiting the town itself? I wouldn’t stop, it’s more a base for activities.

Where to stay in San Ignacio?

Best budget San Ignacio accommodation:

Venus Hotel – comfortable and big rooms. Great location in the centre of town.

Best midrange San Ignacio accommodation:

Falling Leaves Lodge-beautiful hotel actually located right near the Cahal Peache ruins with easy access.

Best luxury San Ignacio accommodation:

The San Ignacio Resort-beautiful luxurious rooms and excellent hotel restaurant. There are multiple tours run on the property which are included in your stay! Such as the Iguana Reserve, Tea Tasting, Birdwatching etc.

San Ignacio is the perfect base to explore the Cayo district. It’s set in the jungle so you’ll really get those adventurous vibes.

The market

San Ignacio has a thriving little market full of restaurants, fresh fruit and veg, meats and souvenirs. It’s funny of activity and a great people watching spot.

Best tours from San Ignacio 

There’s a lot to see in this area. The best of the best are:

ATM Cave-this tour takes you to the unique ATM Cave. It is a place that was used for sacrifice and you’ll find human remains here. The tour involves walking through chest deep water, being in confined spaces and a lot of adventure! It is one of the most popular activities.

Xunantunich Mayan Tour – the best ruins we saw on our trip!

Tikal Maya Site Day-Trip with Local Lunch – if you don’t have time for Guatemala you can do the incredible Tikal ruins from San Ignacio! This tour is also really highly rated for Tikal, they really are a must see.

Combine the Xuantunich Mayan Ruins and the ATM cave in one great full day tour!

The Iguana Reserve

For $10USD you can take a tour through the Iguana Reserve and learn everything about this unique animal. There’s loads of them here and the tours are excellent! Better yet stay at The San Ignacio Resort and the tours are included in your room rate as it’s located on site. You’ll also have access to their other tours run from the property.

Visit Cahal Peche Ruins

Located just on the edge of town the Cahal Peache Ruins in San Ignacio are really easy to visit. You can combine a visit here with the ruins below in this excellent tour.

Visit Xunantunich Mayan Ruins

This was my favourite thing to do while in San Ignacio. You can take a tour out to see them with a guide who will teach you about the ruins. In true Passport Nomads style we decided to try to get there ourselves! These are excellent Mayan ruins, the site is big and when we went first thing in the morning (or as close as possible to it) it was quiet. Read about how we did it on our Xunantunich Mayan Ruins blog, you can do a tour there which is much simpler!

The bridge

The town is spread out, separated by a bridge and river. The bridge is one of the things to check out here, you can walk across it which is a little rickety. There’s another wooden bridge where kids jump and swim.

Where to eat in San Ignacio?

Cenaida’s Belizean Food-we LOVED it here! For only 8BZD we got one of the best stew chickens we had in Belize! It comes with the salad of the day, coconut rice and beans or french fries. All options are delicious.

Western Dairies- this is a great for ice cream or a cheap breakfast.

They do an egg and bean with corn tortilla breakfast for 7.50 BZD and scoops of ice cream are single scoop  2.25BZD or double for 3.75BZD. The chocolate, strawberry and mint choc chip were our favourites.

We also ate from Ds BBQ at the market, their stew chicken was great at 9BZD.

The best Mini market is Tai San Store.

There is another highly rated restaurant called Ko-Ox Han Nah (Let’s Go Eat) but it is a little more expensive.

Need to know to go to San Ignacio

The most important thing to know about San Ignacio is that almost the whole town is closed on Sundays. I mean there’s a handful of places open to eat if that. Even the food at the markets is shut with only 2 or 3 options open.

Buses don’t run to schedule and may not turn up at all.

I would try to plan not to be in town on a Sunday and definitely don’t rely on public transport on a Sunday.

Where to next?

Ragga Sailing Adventures – must do in Belize!

Caye Caulker must visit destination in 2025

The Lodge at Jaguar Reef – the best place to stay in Belize

The best itinerary for Belize!

Is Hopkins worth visiting in Belize?

Crossing the Mexico – Belize land border in 2024

Gluten free Belize

Why you have to visit Xunantunich Mayan Ruins from San Ignacio

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