25+ Best Things To Do In San Ignacio, Belize (2024)

Check out the best things to do in San Ignacio for the ultimate stay. Whether you are keen to discover ruins, make friends with wildlife, explore the jungle, or do a spot of shopping, you will find plenty of options here!

Located in Western Belize, part of the Cayo District, San Ignacio is one of the most popular destinations on mainland Belize. Think jungle vibes, incredible ruins, awesome wildlife, and just a couple of hours’ drive from the beautiful Islands! Come find out the best things to do in San Ignacio!

However planning an itinerary in San Ignacio can feel overwhelming, with so many options to choose from and limited time to explore them all.

Nevertheless, that is where I come in, as someone who has done multiple trips to Belize and explored San Ignacio, I will share with you my favorite recommendations!

Whether you’re a history buff eager to explore ancient Mayan ruins, an adrenaline junkie craving outdoor adventures, or a foodie seeking culinary delights, San Ignacio offers something for every type of traveler. From solo adventurers to family vacationers, everyone can find activities to suit their interests and preferences.

So join me as I share the absolute best things to do in San Ignacio. Whether you are keen to explore ancient caves, float down jungle rivers, and immerse ourselves in Belize’s inland gem.

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1. Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins

The Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins are located atop a hill overlooking San Ignacio, a short walk away from the town. These ruins, once a royal palace, date back to approximately 1200 BCE.

The site includes seven plazas, thirty-four structures, and an acropolis connected by stairways and corridors. You can explore the ceremonial center, which features several temples and a ball court.

The site’s position provides panoramic views of the surrounding jungle.

At the entrance to Cahal Pech, there is a small museum displaying artifacts recovered from the site, including pottery, tools, and ceremonial items. However, I will say the highlight is definitely the ruins themselves.

For me, they were actually my favorites that I have visited to date, including those in Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras. It was magical having this place to myself to explore and really take in the beauty of it all.

If you are looking for an activity to do close to the township of San Ignacio Cahal Pech does have to be my number 1 pick.

Ancient stone pyramid structure of the Mayan ruins at Cahal Pech, surrounded by trees. The steps and layers of the pyramid are clearly visible, and the site is bathed in natural light, showcasing the historical and cultural significance of this archaeological site in San Ignacio.
impressive ruins a short walk away from the town center
A woman standing on the steps of a large Mayan pyramid at Cahal Pech, surrounded by trees. The pyramid's stone structure rises steeply, and the scene highlights the blend of ancient architecture and lush natural surroundings in San Ignacio.
trying to show how big this pyramid ruin is

2. San Ignacio Market

Located in the heart of San Ignacio town the San Ignacio Market is a bustling hub of activity that attracts both locals and visitors. Open daily from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, the market reaches its peak on Saturdays, when vendors from surrounding villages come to sell their goods.

Here, you’ll find an array of fresh produce, including fruits and vegetables grown locally in Belize. In addition to food items, the market offers handmade crafts, textiles, and various other goods, providing a snapshot of the region’s cultural diversity.

Visiting San Ignacio Market is an excellent way to experience the local lifestyle and interact with the community. It is not just a place for shopping; it’s a social gathering spot where you can hear multiple languages and dialects being spoken, reflecting Belize’s multicultural society.

I highly recommend checking out the food stalls offer traditional Belizean dishes, allowing you to sample the local cuisine right on the spot.

A bustling market stall in San Ignacio displaying an array of fresh fruits and vegetables, including bananas, pineapples, mangoes, and more. The vibrant colors and variety of produce highlight the local agricultural bounty and market culture.
plenty of fresh fruit available from the san ignacio market

3. Embrace The Darkness Cave Tubing

Cave Tubing offers a unique adventure experience and is one of the best things to do in San Ignacio. The tour will take you through the ancient caves of Belize, where you’ll float on inner tubes along underground rivers.

Guided by knowledgeable locals, you’ll explore the extensive cave system, which features stunning rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites. The journey provides a fascinating look into the history of the region, as well as the ancient Maya who once used these caves for ceremonial purposes.

Safety is a top priority on Cave Tubing tours, and you should be equipped with helmets, headlamps, and life vests. These tours are suitable for most ages and fitness levels, making it an accessible adventure for both families and solo travelers.

Two people floating on inner tubes in a calm river surrounded by dense jungle in San Ignacio. The participants are wearing life vests and helmets, enjoying the peaceful tubing experience as one of the adventurous things to do in San Ignacio.
tubing is the perfect way to beat the inland heat

4. Green Iguana Conservation Project

The Green Iguana Conservation Project is a dedicated effort to protect and conserve the endangered Green Iguana species native to Belize. Located within the grounds of the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, this project offers visitors an interactive and educational experience.

The initiative began in 1996 and has since become a popular attraction, providing a hands-on opportunity to learn about the life cycle of Green Iguanas, from incubation and hatching to rearing and eventual release back into the wild.

Visitors to the Green Iguana Conservation Project can participate in guided tours which are held every hour from 8 am to 4 pm. During these tours you can see the iguanas up close and even interact with them.

I stopped in here on my way to visit Cahal Pech and it was an awesome experience. We saw the fully grown adults, as well as a mixture of younger ages. I was also able to make some friends here, as my hostel in San Ignacio was a bit dead.

Close-up of a vibrant green iguana perched on a branch, with detailed scales and a curious expression. The lush greenery in the background highlights the natural habitats and wildlife of San Ignacio
a young iguana resting on a branch
A large iguana resting on a wooden surface under the shade of a tree, with a blurred background of sandy ground and tree trunks. This showcases the reptilian wildlife that can be observed in San Ignacio.
making friends at the green iguana conservation project

5. Day Trip To Xunantunich

A day trip to Xunantunich from San Ignacio offers a fascinating exploration of ancient Mayan history. Located just 12 kilometers from San Ignacio, Xunantunich is easily accessible by car, taxi, or public bus.

The journey includes a short ride on a hand-cranked ferry across the Mopan River, adding a unique element to the trip.

Once at the site, visitors are greeted by the impressive El Castillo, the second tallest structure in Belize, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area from its summit. The site as made up of several plazas and temples, showcasing the Mayan civilization that thrived here between 1000 BC and 250 AD.

It is open daily from 8 pm to 5 pm, with a pretty affordable entrance fee of $5.00 for tourists. Visitors can explore the ruins independently or opt for a guided tour to gain deeper historical context and cultural understanding.

Guides are available at the entrance, and tours typically last between 1 to 2 hours. However, you can also take a guided tour from San Ignacio where all your transport, water, and fees will be taken care of.

A group of tourists climbing the steep stone steps of the Xunantunich Mayan ruin. The pyramid is framed by tall palm trees, and intricate carvings are visible on the ancient structure, highlighting the historical and cultural attractions in the area.
one of the top ruins in the area is xunantunich

6. AJAW Chocolate & Crafts

For a unique experience, why not check out AJAW Chocolate & Crafts where you can dive into the traditional chocolate-making process? This locally-owned business, run by Adrian and Elida Choco of Maya descent, provides visitors with a hands-on opportunity to learn how the ancient Maya produced chocolate.

The tour begins with a demonstration of how cacao beans are transformed into chocolate using traditional Mayan stone tools. Participants then get to sample various chocolate drinks spiced with locally sourced ingredients, just as the Maya would have enjoyed them centuries ago.

The tours at AJAW Chocolate & Crafts are held every hour from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Saturday. Each tour lasts about an hour and costs $20 per person, making it an affordable and enriching activity.

For those looking to delve deeper into the world of cacao, a more comprehensive tour includes a visit to a cacao farm located a short drive from San Ignacio. This extended tour, which lasts between 2 to 3 hours, provides an in-depth look at the cultivation and harvesting of cacao, followed by the chocolate-making process back at the workshop.

Reservations are recommended via their website, especially for larger groups, to ensure a spot on these popular tours.

7. Belize Botanic Gardens

Visiting the Belize Botanic Gardens from San Ignacio is a fantastic way to explore the natural beauty and biodiversity of Belize.

Situated on 45 acres along the banks of the Macal River, the gardens feature a wide variety of native and exotic plants.

The garden is home to several distinct areas, including a tropical fruit orchard, a palm area showcasing nearly 100 unique species, and Zingiber Alley, which displays a vibrant collection of gingers and heliconias.

Visitors can also explore the Maya Medicinal Trail, where they can learn about the traditional uses of medicinal plants by the Maya civilization.

The Belize Botanic Gardens are open daily from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and visitors can choose between self-guided tours for $15 per person or guided tours for $30 per person.

They provide a picturesque setting for a relaxing day out, with picnic areas and a splash pad to cool off on hot days. You can also find plenty of local wildlife here, especially if you are a bird lover like myself!

A striking orchid with purple and white petals, growing at the belize botanical gardens, a short drive from in San Ignacio. The flower's unique shape and vibrant colors emphasize the area's diverse flora and horticultural beauty.
a beautiful purple orchid growing at the botanical gardens

8. Jungle Pontoon Adventure

The Jungle Pontoon Waterfall Adventure is a thrilling and unique experience offered near San Ignacio. This full-day tour takes you deep into the heart of Belize’s lush rainforest on a comfortable pontoon boat, providing a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

The journey begins with an off-road drive from San Ignacio to the launch site, followed by a cruise on the calm waters of the Macal River. As you navigate through the dense jungle, you’ll encounter several stunning waterfalls, each offering opportunities for swimming, tubing, and even cliff jumping for the more adventurous! Mmmmm I will pass on the last one.

The tour includes a freshly prepared Belizean BBQ lunch onboard, which is always delicious.

The highlight of the tour includes visiting three distinct waterfalls, including the famous Sandpaper Waterfall, known for its unique calcium deposits, and the Rio-Frio Waterfall, which features a dramatic 70-foot drop into a large pool ideal for swimming.

The tour operates daily, departing at 8:00 AM from the Jungle Splash office in San Ignacio, and costs approximately $145 per person. This eco-friendly tour not only provides a fun adventure but is a unique way of exploring Belize’s natural landscapes.

Belize Waterfalls - Jungle Splash Pontoon Waterfall Adventure Tour

9. Visit The Belize Raptor Center

Visiting the Belize Raptor Center from San Ignacio is a great experience for those interested in wildlife conservation and education. Located just a short drive from San Ignacio, this non-profit organization is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation of birds of prey.

The center offers an educational experience where visitors can learn about the vital ecological roles these raptors play in the environment. Here you will find presentations, allowing guests to meet various birds of prey up close and understand their behaviors, habitats, and the challenges they face in the wild.

The Belize Raptor Center is open from Tuesday to Saturday and offers both scheduled programs and walk-in educational sessions. One of the highlights is their daily bird show at 1:30 PM, where you can witness the impressive skills of these avian ambassadors.

The center relies on donations to support its mission, making your visit both a fun and impactful way to contribute to wildlife conservation. Whether you’re a bird enthusiast (sheepishly raises hand) or simply looking for an engaging activity near San Ignacio, the Belize Raptor Center is a must!

A man wearing a maroon shirt and shorts standing on a grassy field, holding a trained bird of prey, likely a hawk or falcon, on his gloved arm. The background features a wooden structure and dense greenery, highlighting the unique wildlife experiences available at the belize raptor center
interacting with the wildlife at the belize raptor center
A close-up of a white hawk with black wings perched on a gloved hand. The bird's wings are partially spread as it prepares to take flight, with a lush green background, showcasing the raptor encounters in San Ignacio.
a beautiful white hawk

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10. Check Out The Local Bars

Exploring the local bars in San Ignacio is a fantastic way to experience the town’s vibrant nightlife and mingle with both locals and fellow travelers.

One popular spot is the Soul Project. This cultural bar is more than just a place to grab a drink; it’s a hub for local artists and musicians.

Regular live performances and art exhibitions create a vibrant atmosphere where you can enjoy a drink while soaking in the creative local culture. The Soul Project is known for its friendly vibe and is a great place to meet both locals and fellow travelers

Another must-visit is the Lobby Bar at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel for a more upscale experience. This chic, modern bar offers a more relaxed environment with a touch of sophistication.

Guests can enjoy a variety of classic cocktails and Belizean specialties in a comfortable, air-conditioned setting. The Lobby Bar also features live music on some weekends, providing the perfect backdrop for an evening of relaxation.

Night scene of a bustling street in San Ignacio, with brightly lit shops and vendors displaying their goods. The lively atmosphere and colorful storefronts showcase the vibrant local culture and one of the many things to do in San Ignacio.
the main street in san ignacio by night

11. Fly High With Ziplining

Ziplining in San Ignacio offers an exhilarating way to experience Belize’s lush rainforests from above. One of the top spots for ziplining is Calico Jack’s, where you can choose from several different zipline tours catering to various adventure levels.

The most comprehensive tour at Calico Jack’s includes 9 runs and 15 platforms, and runs for 2,900 feet, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the stunning jungle canopy.

For those seeking an extra thrill, the tour also includes a cable walk over a canyon, a rope ladder climb, and a rappel descent. This adventure combines high-speed excitement with breathtaking scenery, making it a must-do for adrenaline junkies visiting San Ignacio.

12. Explore The Caracol Ruins

The Caracol Ruins, located deep within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, are the largest Maya archaeological site in Belize, covering approximately 65 square miles.

Once home to over 150,000 people, Caracol was a significant political and military center during the Classic Period of the Maya civilization. The site is known for its impressive architecture, including the Sky Palace (Caana), which, standing at 141 feet, remains the tallest man-made structure in Belize.

The best way to explore Caracol is by booking a guided tour.

Getting to Caracol from San Ignacio involves a scenic yet rugged journey through the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. The trip typically takes about 2.5 to 3 hours and is best undertaken with a 4WD vehicle due to the rough terrain.

Along the way, travelers can enjoy stops at natural attractions such as Rio Frio Cave and the Rio On Pools, which offer opportunities for swimming and exploration. For those preferring a more structured visit, guided tours are available and often include these additional sites along with a picnic lunch.

The grand pyramid of Caracol, an impressive Mayan ruin in San Ignacio, Belize. The pyramid features multiple terraces and steep steps, with dense forest greenery providing a striking backdrop against a clear blue sky
appreciating the grandeur of the caracol ruins

13. Wander Around San Ignacio Town

Wandering around San Ignacio town is a great way to explore the area and check out local life.

The town center, with its bustling main square, is an excellent starting point. Here, you can visit the vibrant San Ignacio Market, where vendors sell fresh produce, handmade crafts, and delicious street food. It’s an ideal spot to interact with locals and get a taste of everyday life in San Ignacio.

Nearby, you can also find various shops, cafes, and bars, providing a great opportunity to relax and enjoy some local cuisine and drinks.

You can also see notable landmarks such as the iconic Hawkesworth Bridge, which offers picturesque views over the Macal River. As you walk around, you’ll discover a variety of restaurants and eateries, such as Cenaida’s and Pop’s, where you can enjoy traditional Belizean dishes like rice and beans or ceviche.

For a more relaxed evening, visit one of the local bars like the Tandoor, which overlooks the main square and provides a great spot for people-watching and enjoying a casual drink. San Ignacio’s compact size and friendly atmosphere make it easy to explore on foot.

A quiet street in San Ignacio during the daytime, featuring a mix of residential buildings and businesses. The street is lined with colorful houses, power lines, and parked cars, giving a glimpse of daily life in the town.
large concrete colorful buildings line the streets
Another street view in San Ignacio, with pastel-colored buildings and a row of parked cars. The street appears calm and residential, highlighting the town's charm and everyday ambiance
walking down the street during sunrise

14. Day Tour Of ATM Cave (Actun Tunichil Muknal) – MUST DO

Embarking on a tour to the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave is no doubt the BEST thing to do in San Ignacio and is my #1 choice!

A tour of the ATM Cave typically begins with a 45-minute hike through the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, crossing three rivers before reaching the cave entrance. Once inside, you will navigate through narrow passages, wade through waist-deep waters, and marvel at impressive stalactites and stalagmites.

The cave, also known as the Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre, is famed for its archaeological significance, housing numerous Maya artifacts and the skeletal remains of sacrificial victims, including the famous Crystal Maiden. It is a full day tour, lasting around eight to nine hours, and includes guided exploration of the cave’s various chambers.

You are required to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, and comfortable clothing, and bring essentials like water, snacks, and a change of clothes. Cameras are not allowed inside to protect the delicate artifacts.

I know if you are traveling Belize on a budget this pricey activity may put you off. However, this is one of those activities I recommend setting some extra money aside to do. No doubt it is a highlight while backpacking Belize, especially if you enjoy a bit of an adventure!

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Group of people wading through crystal-clear water inside a dark, ATM cave. They are wearing helmets and headlamps, and the scene captures the sense of adventure and excitement, highlighting one of the thrilling things to do in San Ignacio.
you will need to wade through water in order to get inside the cave
Close-up of an ancient skeleton lying on the sandy ground inside a cave. The bones are partially covered in dust, emphasizing the archaeological significance and the historical explorations that can be undertaken in the caves of San Ignacio.
the famous maiden

15. Check Out The Butterfly Farm

Visiting the Green Hills Butterfly Ranch near San Ignacio is a lovely experience that showcases the natural beauty and biodiversity of Belize. Located in the scenic Mountain Pine Ridge area, this expansive butterfly farm is the largest in Belize, featuring around 30 native species of butterflies.

Among these, the vibrant Blue Morpho stands out with its iridescent blue wings, captivating visitors as they flutter through the 4,000-square-foot walk-in flight area. The ranch offers guided tours that educate visitors on the entire life cycle of butterflies, from eggs to caterpillars, pupae, and finally, the stunning adult butterflies.

In addition to its butterfly exhibits, Green Hills Butterfly Ranch is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The ranch’s 250-acre property includes lush gardens filled with tropical plants and flowers that attract a variety of birds and other wildlife.

Birdwatchers will be thrilled to spot some of the 300 bird species that inhabit the area, including hummingbirds and Plumbeous Kites.

The ranch is open daily from 9 AM to 4 PM and charges an entrance fee of $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for children. It is about a 30 minute drive away from the township so you will need to take a taxi, otherwise if you have hired a car in Belize this makes a perfect stop!

16. Day Trip To Tikal

Taking a day trip to the Tikal ruins from San Ignacio will allow you to journey into one of the most significant archaeological sites of the ancient Maya civilization. Tikal, located in the dense rainforest of the Petén region in Guatemala, is renowned for its impressive temples and vast plazas.

A tour typically begins early in the morning with a drive from San Ignacio to the Guatemala border, followed by a 1.5 to 2-hour journey to Tikal National Park. This site, a UNESCO World Heritage location, features towering structures such as Temple IV, which rises 230 feet above the forest canopy and offers breathtaking views.

By taking a guided tour of Tikal you will be provided insight into the history and culture of the Maya. The knowledgeable guides will lead you through the expansive park, pointing out notable landmarks like the Grand Plaza, the Central Acropolis, and the North Acropolis.

The tour usually includes a traditional Guatemalan lunch, and all necessary fees and transportation are handled by the tour operators, ensuring a hassle-free and enriching experience.

tasha amy standing in front of a towering Mayan pyramid at Tikal, surrounded by lush greenery and other ancient structures. The pyramid's steep steps and weathered stone highlight the historical significance and cultural heritage of this site in San Ignacio
another impressive ruin site, though this time over the border in guatemala
Panoramic view of the Tikal ruins from a high vantage point, with dense jungle canopy and ancient pyramid tops emerging from the trees. The expansive green landscape and historical structures show how its worth doing a day trip from san ignacio to tikal.
looking out over the jungle

17. Swim At The Rio On Pools

Swimming at the Rio On Pools is one of the best things to do in San Ignacio if you are looking to cool off.

Located within the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, these natural pools are formed by the cascading Rio On River as it flows over smooth granite rocks. Ultimately creating a series of clear, cool pools perfect for swimming and relaxation.

The area is easily accessible by a short hike from the parking area, and the pools themselves offer a mix of shallow and deeper sections, making them suitable for both children and adults. The picturesque setting, with its surrounding pine forest and occasional sightings of local wildlife, provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of town.

The drive from San Ignacio to the Rio On Pools takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, traversing scenic landscapes and rugged terrain. Make sure to bring essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, and insect repellent, as there are limited facilities in the area. Water shoes or sturdy sandals are also recommended due to the slippery rocks.

Many tours combine a visit to the Rio On Pools with other attractions in the Mountain Pine Ridge area, such as the Rio Frio Cave and Big Rock Falls, offering a full day of exploration and adventure.

The cascading waters of Rio On Pools in San Ignacio, flowing over smooth rocks and forming natural pools. The surrounding area is lush with green vegetation, offering a serene and picturesque spot for swimming and relaxation.
the perfect place to chill

18. Explore The Rio Firo Cave

While in the area why not also visit Rio Frio Cave? Known for its dramatic entrance, this cave features a 70-foot arch that welcomes visitors into its expansive interior.

As you step inside, you’ll find yourself in a vast chamber adorned with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. The cave stretches about a quarter-mile long and has a river flowing through it, forming small pools and cascades. These features make the Rio Frio Cave not only a geological wonder but also a cool retreat from the tropical heat outside.

Similar to the above, the journey to Rio Frio Cave can be undertaken via guided tours or self-guided drives, though a 4WD vehicle is recommended due to the rugged terrain. The drive through the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve itself is scenic, passing through lush forests and offering glimpses of local wildlife.

View from inside rio frio cave looking out towards a verdant forest and a tranquil river. The cave's rocky entrance frames the lush landscape, highlighting the natural beauty and adventurous things to do in San Ignacio.
looking out to the forest from rio frio cave

19. Night Hike For Noctural Wildlife

A night hike to observe nocturnal wildlife is a captivating adventure offered in San Ignacio, providing a unique opportunity to experience the rainforest after dark.

One popular option is the “Critters of the Night” tour at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. This guided hike, starting at 7:30 PM, takes you through the resort’s surrounding forest where you can spot creatures like tarantulas, snakes, and the red-eyed tree frog.

Alternatively, Black Rock Lodge offers a guided night hike that immerses you in the rich biodiversity of the Belizean rainforest. As you navigate the trails, your guide will help you spot various nocturnal animals such as owls, foxes, and possibly even wild cats.

This hike is designed to be family-friendly, ensuring that both adults and children can enjoy the wonders of the jungle at night. For those seeking a different perspective, a night drive option is also available, where you can see nocturnal wildlife from the comfort of a vehicle.

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20. Cool Off In The Macal River

Cooling off in the Macal River is a must do experience in San Ignacio, offering a refreshing break from the tropical heat. The river, which winds through the lush Cayo District, is easily accessible and provides numerous spots for swimming, picnicking, and wildlife watching.

The calm waters make it ideal for families and casual swimmers. Visitors often enjoy spotting iguanas, turtles, and a variety of bird species along the riverbanks. The occasional monkey sighting adds an extra thrill to the serene setting.

However, I will say you will need to head out a little bit away from the main town to find a nice spot to swim in. The majority of places near the township are unfortunately polluted and with a lot of litter about.

In addition to swimming, the Macal River is popular for other water activities such as canoeing and kayaking. These activities provide a unique way to explore the natural beauty of the area.

Many local tour operators offer guided trips, which can enhance the experience with insights into the local flora and fauna.

Peaceful scene of the Macal River in San Ignacio, flanked by dense, green trees. The still water reflects the surrounding foliage, creating a serene and picturesque setting.
relaxing at a quiet spot on the macal river

21. Eat Street Food

Exploring the street food scene is one of the best things to do in San Ignacio and is an absolute must for any visitor looking to experience authentic Belizean flavors.

One of the best places to start is the San Ignacio Market, which is bustling with vendors offering a variety of traditional dishes. Here, you can try local favorites like pupusas, panades, and salbutes.

Pupusas are thick corn tortillas filled with cheese, beans, or meat, while panades are deep-fried corn pockets stuffed with fish or beans. Salbutes are fried tortillas topped with shredded chicken, lettuce, and pickled onions. These street foods are not only delicious but also affordable, making them perfect for travelers on a budget.

In the evenings, head over to Burns Avenue, where street vendors set up stalls offering more delectable treats. Try the famous Belizean fry jacks, which are fluffy deep-fried dough pieces often served with beans, cheese, or eggs. These are also a popular Belize breakfast staple.

Another popular option is the street-side ceviche, made from fresh seafood mixed with lime juice, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.

For a sweet treat, look for vendors selling creole bread and coconut tarts. These homemade breads are infused with coconut milk, giving them a unique and delightful flavor.

Close-up of a tray with three colorful, seasoned corn on the cobs, garnished with lime wedges and herbs. The vibrant presentation of the food highlights the rich culinary experiences available in San Ignacio
delicious and brightly colored street food

22. Go Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a great way to explore the beautiful landscapes and historical sites of Belize.

One of the most popular options is a tour with St. Leonard’s Tours. Their rides take you through the Belizean countryside, featuring open savannas and jungle trails.

These tours are suitable for all levels of riders and provide a unique way to appreciate the diverse ecosystems of the region.

23. Explore Barton Creek Cave

Barton Creek Cave is accessible by a short drive from San Ignacio. It can be navigated by canoe, making it one of the most accessible and enjoyable cave tours in Belize.

The journey through Barton Creek Cave reveals impressive geological formations and ancient Maya artifacts, including ceremonial pottery and skeletal remains. As you paddle through the serene, crystal-clear waters, guided by headlamps, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the cave’s historical significance and its role in Maya culture.

The Barton Creek Cave tour is typically a half-day adventure that includes transportation, a knowledgeable guide, and all necessary equipment. Most tours depart in the morning or early afternoon, and the gentle canoe ride through the cave makes this an activity suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

After the cave exploration, many tours offer the opportunity to relax by the cave entrance, enjoy a swim, or have a picnic under the jungle canopy.

Colorful canoes docked by the edge of a serene, turquoise river. The river is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, and the barton creek cave entrance is visible in the background, offering a picturesque and peaceful setting for outdoor activities in San Ignacio.
boats lined up on the entrance of barton creek cave
Inside a narrow cave passage with clear, emerald-green water. The rocky walls of the cave are illuminated, showcasing the textures and formations, and emphasizing the exciting caving and exploration opportunities available in San Ignacio
explore the cave in a canoe

24. Check Out Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

Exploring the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is a fantastic day trip from San Ignacio, offering a diverse range of natural attractions and activities.

The reserve, established in 1944, spans over 300 square miles and is known for its cooler climate and unique pine forest landscape, which contrasts sharply with the tropical environment found in the rest of Belize.

One of the must-see attractions in the reserve is the Rio On Pools, a series of natural swimming holes formed by the Rio On River cascading over granite boulders. These pools are perfect for a refreshing swim or a relaxing picnic, surrounded by the scenic beauty of the pine forest and the occasional sighting of local wildlife.

Another highlight of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is the Rio Frio Cave, known for its massive entrance arch and accessible interior. The cave features stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations and an underground river that creates a cool, serene environment.

This cave is ideal for novice explorers, as it is well-lit from natural openings at both ends, allowing visitors to easily navigate through its vast chambers.

The reserve also includes impressive waterfalls such as Big Rock Falls and the tallest waterfall in Central America, Thousand Foot Falls, though reaching the latter can be challenging due to rough road conditions.

25. Hike The Medicinal Jungle Trail

Hiking the Medicinal Jungle Trail in San Ignacio is a fascinating way to delve into the rich botanical heritage of Belize.

Run through the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, this educational trail, often guided by knowledgeable local experts, takes you through lush rainforest where you’ll learn about the traditional uses of various plants and herbs.

These plants, integral to ancient Maya medicine, are still valued today for their healing properties. You’ll discover plants used to treat ailments such as malaria, diabetes, and digestive issues.

The trail provides a unique opportunity to see and learn about the incredible diversity of the jungle, with plants and trees that have been used for centuries for their medicinal benefits.

The hike typically lasts around 45 to 60 minutes, making it accessible for most fitness levels. Along the way, guides will share insights into the historical and practical uses of the flora.

This trail is often part of a broader tour that includes tea tasting sessions, where you can sample beverages made from the very plants you’ve learned about. These tours are available at various times throughout the day, with options for both self-guided and guided experiences.

Remember to wear comfortable clothing, and sturdy shoes, and bring insect repellent and water for an educational jungle adventure.

26. Join A Bird Watching Tour

Last but definitely not least on our list of the best things to do in San Ignacio we have joining a bird watching tour. They provide a remarkable opportunity to observe some of Belize’s most beautiful and exotic bird species.

The tours are typically led by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the local avian fauna and their habitats.

One popular option is the bird watching tour offered by the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, which takes you through a 17-acre private estate known as “the only jungle in town.”

Here, you can spot a variety of colorful birds, including the Blue Tanager, Blue Crowned Mot Mot, Warblers, Woodpeckers, Aracari Toucan, and even the Keel-Billed Toucan, Belize’s national bird.

Tours are available at multiple times throughout the day and typically last about 1.5 to 2 hours, making them accessible for bird watchers of all experience levels.

A vibrant keel-billed toucan perched on a moss-covered branch. The bird's colorful beak and plumage stand out against the blurred green foliage in the background, highlighting the diverse wildlife and birdwatching opportunities in San Ignacio
you will find amazing bird watching opportunities around san ignacio

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San Ignacio Travel Tips

Now you know what exactly some of the best things to do in San Ignacio are, lets get into some other information you may find helpful for your travels there.

How To Get To San Ignacio

Reaching San Ignacio involves a few straightforward steps whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally.

If you’re flying into Belize, you’ll arrive at Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Belize City. Several shuttle services and car rental options are available at the airport. The drive from Belize City to San Ignacio is approximately 70 miles / 113 kilometers and takes around 2 hours. This route takes you along the George Price Highway, passing through charming villages and picturesque landscapes.

For those preferring public transportation, regular bus services also operate between Belize City and San Ignacio, providing an economical and immersive travel experience.

To reach San Ignacio from Mexico, you can take a bus from popular departure points like Chetumal or Bacalar. From Baclar, you can catch an ADO bus to Belize City, followed by another bus to San Ignacio. Buses are frequent and cost-effective, providing a comfortable and scenic route through the Yucatán Peninsula and northern Belize.

Traveling from Guatemala, particularly from Flores, is relatively straightforward. Shuttles and buses run regularly between Flores and San Ignacio, taking approximately 2-3 hours. These services are convenient and affordable, making it easy to cross the border and explore the rich cultural and natural attractions of the Cayo District.

Interior of the ATM cave featuring intricate stalactites hanging from the ceiling and stalagmites rising from the floor. A group of tourists, equipped with helmets and lights, explore the vast underground formations, showcasing one of the popular adventure activities in San Ignacio.
explore the atm cave system is a must – however you need to book a guided tour in order to visit

Where To Stay In San Ignacio

San Ignacio offers several excellent accommodation options for backpackers.

The Old House Hostel is a popular choice, providing a budget-friendly stay with a cozy and social atmosphere. Located near the town center, it offers dormitory-style rooms, free Wi-Fi, a shared kitchen, and a relaxing garden area. The staff is known for being helpful, providing valuable tips for exploring the area, and arranging tours and activities.

Another great option is Bella’s Backpackers, which is where I stayed. This hostel is well-known for its friendly vibe and excellent location, just a short walk from the central market and main attractions. It was a bit quiet while I was there, so much so that I had an entire dorm room to myself. However at night everyone came together in the kitchen to hang and cook.

Bellas Backpackers

Bellas Backpackers

A chill family-style hostel in the center of town. Dorms start at $12.00 per night.

The Old House Hostel

The Old House Hostel

The most popular hostel in the town. Dorm rooms start from $12.00 per night.

Yellow Belly Backpackers

Yellow Belly Backpackers

Another lovely hostel in a great central location. Dorms here start for around $12.00 per night.



A beautiful countryside farm stay for a unique experience. Private rooms here start at $60.00 per night.

Interior of a hostel room in San Ignacio, featuring wooden bunk beds and a simple, cozy setup. The room is well-lit with natural light coming through the window, creating a welcoming atmosphere for travelers.
my dorm room at bellas backapckers, which i had all to myself (and a few ants)
Chalkboard in a hostel listing various activities under 'Things to do here!!' including Cahal Pech, Xunantunich, Iguana Sanctuary, ATM Cave, and more, highlighting numerous attractions and activities in San Ignacio.
list from my hostel of some of the best things to do in san ignacio

FAQs about San Ignacio

Is San Ignacio Belize worth visiting?

Yes, San Ignacio, Belize is worth visiting. It offers a mix of cultural experiences, ancient Maya ruins, outdoor adventures like cave tubing and zip-lining, and a vibrant local atmosphere. It’s a perfect destination for nature lovers and history enthusiasts.

How many days should you spend in San Ignacio Belize?

Spending 3-4 days in San Ignacio, Belize is ideal. This allows time to explore Mayan ruins like Xunantunich and Caracol, enjoy outdoor activities such as cave tubing and zip-lining, and experience local culture and wildlife tours.

Is it safe to walk around San Ignacio Belize?

Yes, it is generally safe to walk around San Ignacio, Belize, especially during the day. Stick to well-traveled areas, avoid poorly lit streets at night, and stay aware of your surroundings for a safe experience.

Tasha Amy standing on ancient stone steps amidst lush greenery, smiling at the camera. She is dressed in casual, comfortable clothing suitable for exploring, enjoying one of the cultural and historical attractions at the Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech in San Ignacio.
enjoying a bit of shade at cahal pech

Wrap Up: The Ultimate List Of The Best Things To Do In San Ignacio

As you can see San Ignacio is a great spot to soak up some history, get your adrenaline pumping, and enjoy local culture.

Whether you’re checking out ancient Maya ruins, floating through caves, hitting up the lively markets, or spotting wildlife, there’s something for everyone. If you love history, nature, or just want to have fun, San Ignacio won’t disappoint.

Take your time to explore and enjoy this charming town, and you’ll leave with some awesome memories.

Any Questions? Let Me Know In The Comments!


Check out the best things to do in San Ignacio for the ultimate stay. Whether you are keen to discover ruins, make friends with wildlife, explore the jungle, or do a spot of shopping, you will find plenty of options here!

Want more Belize Inspiration? Check out….

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

Photo credit: “Macal River” (CC BY 2.0) by Bernard DUPONT . “Belize-1145” (CC BY 2.0) by Dennis Jarvis. “Caracol” (CC BY 2.0) by John Wilson. Tubing, Belize” (CC BY 2.0) by Samantha Beddoes.

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