With Insider Tips, The Top Things To Do In San Ignacio, Cayo

san ignacio cayo

Downtown San Ignacio

Belize is very popular for its coast — the beaches and world class diving draws people from all over the world. However, there is also a variety of wonderful inland attractions that are not in most people’s radar. For example, the Cayo District is gaining traction for eco-adventures such as trips to caves, Maya temples and hiking nature reserves. San Ignacio Town serves as a hub for these adventures but travelers are overlooking the many activities that can be done right in the downtown core.

Here are a few exciting things to do in San Ignacio.

Sample the Local cuisine

San Ignacio has several good downtown restaurants and they are all near each other. These restaurants principally offer an amazing Mestizo, Maya, and Garifuna infusion, but also available are Indian, Chinese, and American style restaurants. The best spots are Ko-Ox Hannah, Guava Limb Cafe, Erva’s restaurant, Cenaidas Belizean Food, and Minchos.

Insider’s Tip: Best place for Dinner is Ko’Ox Hannah and Guava Limb Cafe. Try Minchos, Cenaida’s or Erva’s for lunch.

Related: Where to Eat in San Ignacio

The Green Iguana Conservation Project

green iguana hatchery in San Ignacio Cayo Belize

Tour guide at the Green Iguana hatchery

Have you ever heard the term ‘Bamboo Chicken’? In Belize, the Green Iguana is prized as a special treat during specific religious months and this has lead to it becoming an endangered species. As a result, the government and private sector have invested in making sure this unique species is protected via educational awareness and conservation efforts. By visiting the interesting Green Iguana hatchery at the San Ignacio Resort, you can witness the life cycle of this creature and also contribute to the protection of this reptile.

Insider’s Tip: Also found on-site is a short rainforest medicinal trail.

Try Restaurante Tipico Salvadoreno’s Milk Shakes

Located in Santa Elena (the twin town of San Ignacio) on the Western Highway across from CP Gas Station, Restaurante Tipico Salvadoreno specializes in Central American cuisine. The highlight of this place is their unbelievably good milkshakes so make sure to try the Papaya, Mango, Melon or Strawberry shake.

Insider’s Tip: Try the Melon milkshake, you’ll not be disappointed! The Papaya shake is the second best.

Cahal Pech Maya Site

cahal pech maya site jungle setting

Jungle setting at Cahal Pech Maya site

Found in walking distance from downtown San Ignacio, Cahal Pech has a small visitor centre/ museum and a couple large Maya temples which are really exciting to explore. This site usually surprises everyone who visits since as you leave the visitor centre and enter the site’s main plaza, you are overwhelmed by the contrasting environment and thick jungle that surrounds the temples. The charming natural atmosphere and the fact that you can find yourself at many times being the only person there, makes Cahal Pech a personal favorite archaeological site.

Insider’s Tip: Early morning visits provides a great opportunity for bird watching.

Canoeing the Macal River

Lazily glide up or down the Macal River spotting wildlife and enjoy a brief departure from San Ignacio’s busy downtown. Canoeing the river is a great way to spend a relaxing evening since it tends to be quiet. A definite plus is the fact that the river doesn’t have any rapids.

Insider’s Tip: Hire a guide if you are interested in spotting wildlife. Their experience has given them a keen eye for catching stuff you would miss.

Related: Guide to San Ignacio, Cayo

Downtown booze bender with midnight snack

one barrel rum and coke

Happy Hour One Barrel and Coke’s are $1 USD

Most people enjoy drinking, and if you’re on vacation, there’s no excuse not partake in a good ole bar hopping! The best place to start is either Eva’s or Tandoor Indian Restaurant and Bar – since both places have great outdoor patios, and end the night at Next Lounge at the Princess Casino. Before going to bed, don’t forget to go to San Ignacio’s main street, Burns Avenue, to eat a plate of Rice & Beans with Stew Chicken, Gunners, or Cowfoot soup.

Insider’s Tip: Eva’s or Tandoor Indian Restaurant and Bar offer happy hour rum and cokes from around 3 – 6 PM. I mentioned Cowfoot soup above, make sure to try it with lots of hot sauce to avoid a hangover the following day.

San Ignacio Farmers’ Market

The San Ignacio Farmers’ Market is a great place to see locals mingling and witness firsthand why Belize is considered a melting pot of cultures. The best time to visit is on Saturdays when people from all over Cayo come to either sell their produce or stock up on groceries for the week. Here you can find just about anything: food, vegetables, jewellery, and clothes, to name a few items.

Insider’s Tip: Eat lunch at the market, the tacos or pupusas are my favourite. Yum!

Head to Sweet Ting for a sweet delight

Sweet Ting is exactly what the name suggests: it’s a dessert shop. It has the widest variety of homemade desserts in Cayo, or probably Belize as a whole. If the sweets don’t call your attention, the smell of freshly brewed coffee will lure you from afar. However, since I’m not much of a coffee drinker, what draws me here is their yummy Tres Leches cake. From the looks of it, the foodie in me is making this things to do in San Ignacio list turn into a best eats article, even though I already have a list of the top restaurants in San Ignacio. Haha

Insider’s Tip: You can also find a large assortment of international pre-packaged gourmet delicacies and the occasional Victoria Secret panties and bra. It’s definitely an interesting place.


I hope you enjoyed these tips, they are great for both budget backpackers and luxury travelers.



About Lorenzo Gonzalez

Lorenzo Gonzalez is the founder of Belizeadventure.ca, a resource for travel information on Belize. He enjoys traveling, social media and Paranda music. Contact him at lorenzo [at] belizeadventure.ca. Learn more...

13 Responses to With Insider Tips, The Top Things To Do In San Ignacio, Cayo

  1. Ok2000 June 19, 2012 at 10:58 AM #

    Awesome post keep it up!

  2. Belize Blog December 1, 2013 at 10:14 PM #

    Gonna have to skip the bender but the Sweet Ting recommendation is a home run. I could eat there EVERY DAY. That is some solid cake.


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