San Ignacio will give you a true Belizean experienced. From the food to the rugged lodging, you will get a real look at the culture and the way of life in western Belize. Although the small town draws its fair share of tourism, it does not have a touristy feel at all. But you’ll find plenty of things to do in San Ignacio, Belize even when traveling with kids.
5 Things to do in San Ignacio
While there is a lot to do in San Ignacio, many use the town as a base to explore the areas around it. If you plan to visit this part of Belize, here are five things to do in San Ignacio.
- Stay in an eco-lodge
- Stroll through town and eat!
- Visit the San Ignacio weekend market
- Visit Mayan ruins
- Swim or relax by the river
- Visit Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
Stay in an eco-lodge jungle resort
In the jungle surrounding San Ignacio you will find a variety of beautiful, relaxing resorts offering private cabanas and plenty of activities on property. Many of them are Eco-lodges and utilize commercialized fans powered by solar energy instead of air conditioning. In fact, in this area of the country, very few buildings or homes have central heat or air.
While this type of lodging may sound a bit primitive, it is anything but basic. Many of these jungle resorts offer exceptional family amenities and activities like canoeing and hiking on-site. Staying in a jungle eco-lodge in San Ignacio allows families to escape the busyness of modern life and explore nature off the grid.
Stroll through the streets of San Ignacio
In the heart of the town there are also plenty of shops and restaurants. This is a great place to spend an afternoon, and eat lunch or dinner. Many of the restaurants serve authentic Belizean cuisine. Belizean food is some of the best in Central America that we have tried. Rice and beans are both staples as they are in many Latin cultures. You’ll find prices on food and beers all very inexpensive. In fact, you can buy a beer for about $2 American dollars. A margarita or mixed drink will cost about $5 American dollars.
Visit the San Ignacio Market
Saturday is a great day to walk around the town because the city hosts a large weekend market. Local vendors bring their goods, fresh produce, and handmade crafts to market to sell. It is a great atmosphere! When you buy from the market you know you are also helping to support a local family. The prices are all very inexpensive compared to American standards. You can find some unique gifts or special souvenirs. Our 16 month old daughter loved walking around the market as there are a lot of new and great sights, sounds, and smells. Plus, the locals are very friendly and loved her.
Visit Mayan Ruins of Cahal Pech and Xunantunich
Around San Ignacio, you will find several Mayan ruins to explore. Cahal Pech is located in near the center of town, and is definitely worth a short visit. About 10-15 minutes away, about a mile from the Guatemala border, you’ll find Xunantunich, one of the best Mayan sites in all Belize.
Both sites are great, but the best Mayan ruins in Central America are located about two hours away, right across the Guatemalan border. Getting from San Ignacio to Tikal National Park in Guatemala can easily be done by car or through a tour group.
Visit the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
Another one of the great things to do in San Ignacio, or in the nearby area, is the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. There are a few great caves, swimming holes, and waterfalls located in the Mountain Pine Reserve that you can explore with kids.
For adults and those traveling with older children, San Ignacio is also a great place to stay if you plan to visit the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave, one of the more adventurous and challenging cave experiences in Belize. This tour cannot be done with a baby or toddler, but would be a blast if traveling with school-aged children.
Swim or relax by the river
Right next to the market, you’ll find a shallow river where locals like to splash and play. If you aren’t staying at a resort or property near the river, this is a great free place to enjoy the water and relax for awhile.
For more information on visiting Belize with kids and a look at our complete kid-friendly itinerary, click here.
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