Cradled in a Picturesque Valley between the Macal & Mopan Rivers
Ignacio & Sister Town, Santa Elena make
up Belize's second largest urban area. The two towns are separated by the Macal River and Belize's only suspension
bridge, the one-lane Hawksworth Bridge (Built in 1949). Together the towns have a combined population
of about 20,000.
locally as "Cayo", San Ignacio
is located along the Western Highway about 70 miles west and
90 minutes drive time from Belize City and 9 miles east of the Guatemalan border. Teeming with archaeologists, missionary
workers, entrepreneurs, North American retirees and adventure seekers,
"Cayo" is a unique blend of America's Old West and tropical
backwater with frontier-like wooden shops on narrow streets.
Burns Avenue is "Main Street" and
a good place to begin a tour of the town. Most evenings it's
with lots of people walking in the streets. Burns Avenue
and the adjacent streets are packed with shops, hotels and
to eat where hospitable townspeople mingle in
restaurants, bars and wooden shops
with colonial era architecture of days gone by. Both English and Spanish are spoken, plus a myriad
of other languages.
Things to Do in San Ignacio ...
Walk or Jog 1.5 miles along scenic Branch Mouth Road to the
"Hammock Bridge" where the Macal and Mopan rivers
join up. From the shaded river bank, you can watch for wild
parrots along with lazing iguanas and enjoy a swim in the
heat of the day.
Located on a Hill-top overlooking the San Ignacio area is where to find Cahal Pech, a Maya archaeological site. It's a quick taxi ride or a 20-minute uphill walk from town.
Conservation Project is located at at the San Ignacio Hotel and offers visitors the opportunity to take a closer look at these descendants of dinosaurs. Juvenile green iguanas are cared for until they are ready to be released into the wild. Learn how vital they are to the ecological balance of the Macal River Eco-system. This hands-on tour is both fun and educational and takes about an hour to complete.
Saturday is the Busiest Market Day
Here you will find vendors from the small towns
and villagers selling their wares and locally-grown fruits
vegetables. You can get good buys on bananas, papaya, pineapples,
oranges, mangos, coconuts, avocados and other tropical produce.
and auto rentals are some of the business
services readily available in