San Ignacio Journals

Ruins & caves & kayaks in the jungle

A December 2000 trip to San Ignacio by globe trotter

Xunantunich Photo, San Ignacio, Belize More Photos
Quote: Belize is mainly known for its beaches & barrier reef - but it has a lot to offer away from the coast too! About 2.5 hours inland (close to the Guatemalan border)from Belize City lies San Ignacio with white water rivers, jungle & a host of Mayan ruins.

Ruins & caves & kayaks in the jungle

Overview

Quote:
Day trip to Tikal.
Saturday market.
Chechem Ha Cave.
Kayaking down the Mopan River.
Xunantunich
Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

Quick Tips:

We stayed a little outside San Ignacio in Benque Viejo - there is nothing to do in this town - so if you want a bit (stress a bit) of nightlife be sure to stay in the centre of San Ignacio.

Best Way To Get Around:

Bus, foot.

Mopan River Resort

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Mopan River Resort Photo, San Ignacio, Belize
Quote:
This is a new all inclusive resort which is excellently run by its owners Jay & Pam who live on the grounds. 3 meals a day, snacks & drinks (including beer & spirits) are all included as are all excursions - it has to be seen to be believed.

The rooms are thatched cabanas with bath, TV & balcony (some have kitchens with dishwashers!)

The hospitality & food is superb (even people like ourselves who usually hate formulaic cocktail hours arrived promptly at 6.00 for pre-dinner drinks to be entertained by Jay''s stories!) & a lot of attention is paid to detail.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 4, 2001

Mopan River Resort
Benque Viejo del Carmen
San Ignacio, Belize

Tikal

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Attraction

Tikal Photo, San Ignacio, Belize
Quote:
This is a relatively hassle free day trip from this area (approx. 2.5 hours drive on a paved road - except the first 9 miles). The resort/hotel you stay at will arrange this for you & help you with the necessary immigration proceedures - all very straightforward but requiring the payment of various small fees to various Belizean & Guatemalan officials - which can be complicated. If you were required to apply for a visa in advance (& not just get a tourist visa on arrival like US & European citizens) to get into Belize be aware that you will need a new one to re-enter the country after your 6 hour detour to Guatemala (a girl we were travelling with who held an Ecuadorian passport didn't...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 4, 2001

Tikal
Guatemala
San Ignacio, Belize

San Ignacio Local Markets

Attraction | "San Ignacio"

Quote:
This is not a tourist market but the big market held in the centre of town on a Saturday is worth a visit just to see what the average Belizean puts in his shopping bag. Fresh fruit & veggies are plentiful as are clothes, shampoo & Lion King videos!

The more touristy gift shops are also open on Saturdays on the Burns Ave. - but don't expect too much - there only about 4 of them!

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 4, 2001

San Ignacio Local Markets
San Ignacio
San Ignacio, Belize

Chechem Ha cave

Attraction

Quote:
This was an unknown site until (legend has it) a local man lost his dog in the cave & when looking for it came accross piles of ancient pottery. The cave is now government run & you need to pay a small fee to enter.

The Mayan pottery is probably over 2,000 years old & the cave was probably a ceremonial site - where sacrifices etc. took place. This all feels very eery when your guide switches his flash light off & you're left in momentary darkness.

Be prepared to get very muddy - especially if it's been raining as you'll be climbing on ledges & under outcrops as well as up/down a steepish muddy path to get there.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 4, 2001

Chechem Ha cave
Cayo District
San Ignacio, Belize

Xunantunich

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Xunantunich Photo, San Ignacio, Belize
Quote:
After seeing Tikal I was a bit dubious about seeing more Mayan ruins - thinking they wouldn't come close to meeting the grandeur of Tikal. Xunantunich ('Stone lady') is of course tiny compared to Tikal but it is still well worth a visit - the peaceful surroundings & lack of crowds make it a very spiritual place. After riding across the river on the hand cranked ferry, you'll drive to the sight (about 5 mins). There's a small museum at the entrance with a scaled down reproduction of what the site looked like in all its glory - this is worth seeing before you head off to the actual site. If you can make the climbs I suggest you climb both structures - Plaza A-3 & El Castillo (named...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 4, 2001

Xunantunich
Cayo District
San Ignacio, Belize