Cradled in a Picturesque Valley between the Macal & Mopan Rivers
Ignacio and 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 including: Creole, Mestizo (Spanish-Maya),
Lebanese, Chinese, Mennonite, Maya and other cultures.
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, peace corps
workers, North American retirees and thrill 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 days 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 ....
Excursions around San Ignacio include a short trip
to nearby Cahal Pech,a
Maya archeological site. It's a quick cab ride or a 20-minute
walk from town.
Conservation Project, where baby iguanas are raised before they are released into the wild and is located at
the San Ignacio Resort Hotel.
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.
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 San Ignacio.