San Ignacio


Photo of San Ignacio

About San Ignacio

San Ignacio is a town close to the Guatemalan border in the west of the Belize, on the banks of the Macal River. About 70 miles west of Belize City and just 20 miles west of the country's capital, Belmopan, this is one of the most popular parts of the country for tourism, though most visitors don't stay in San Ignacio but head out to one of the jungle lodges in the region. For a selection of these, see the best places to stay in Cayo Province, though below we have listed a number of eco resorts closer to the town itself, which are our pick of the best places to stay in San Ignacio

San Ignacio is a jumping off point for visits to the extensive Mayan ruins nearby — the most famous of which are Caracol, Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, and El Pilar — as well as rainforest and jungle tours. The region is famed for its waterfalls, exotic birdlife and butterflies, and caves — the most notable of which are the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, which includes skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware, and Barton Creek Cave, famous for its cave canoeing.

The best time of year to visit is between December and April, though you will get better prices in the off season, between July and October. Though it can be wet and muggy at that time of year, it tends to rain only for short bursts in the day, so it would be worth considering coming then if budget is an issue.

All these eco-lodges are popular spots however, so if you want to guarantee your room in one of the best places to stay in San Ignacio, get organised and book well ahead.

The Best Places to Stay in San Ignacio

Close to town

  • For those who want to be a little closer to civilisation, and out of the jungle, the Ka'ana Resort on the highway out of town is a quiet oasis that makes a great base for day tours around the area, whether to the Mayan ruins, horse riding in the surrounding countryside or to the caves or jungle nearby. Small cottages are dotted around delightful tropical gardens. Elegant and tasteful.

Jungle Luxury

  • The family run Chaa Creek, a 'wildly civilized luxury resort', provides a great blend of jungle setting in a 400 acre nature reserve, and proximity to the town. The deluxe cottages offer complete privacy, yet they are surrounded by exotic birdlife. The river Macal is nearby, great for canoeing.

Family Friendly

  • A short distance downriver, overlooking the water, is the Mystic River Resort, a family friendly 'get away from it all' luxury resort without TVs or mobile signal (or a/c), which offers a number of adventure packages run by their own in-resort guides. They have a great spa and restaurant as well as some rooms with plunge pools for those looking for a bit of comfort.

For a self catering holiday apartment or villa

  • If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • December to May is Belize's dry season, when you can expect clear blue skies and sunny days that aren't too hot, with temperatures in the 27-30°C range. However, prices are at their highest in this period, so for the best deals you might want to consider visiting in the off season. While August to October can be muggy and wet, it tends to rain only for one to two hours a day in the mornings and early afternoons.
  • San Ignacio is about 70 miles from Belize City, which can be driven in two hours. Alternatively there is an airstrip just south of San Ignacio for you to fly into from Belize City or Placencia.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in San Ignacio

  • Ka'Ana Resort San Ignacio (Western Highway) 17 rooms from £185

    Great walks  -  Excellent walking opportunities in nearby national parks.
    Local markets  -  Browse the local San Ignacio Farmers' Market.
    Kayaking  -  Kayaking down the nearby Macal River.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGarden

    A delightful collection of small cottages set amidst sprawling tropical gardens. The rooms carry a simple elegance with tasteful, comfortable furnishings. Relax by the infinity pool or go horse riding through the surrounding countryside. A secluded oasis. See More

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  • Mystic River Resort San Ignacio 15 rooms from £195

    Great walks  -  There are several miles of well marked trails, with something for everyone from leisurely ambles to challenging hikes
    Spa  -  Jasmine Spa offers a wide range of massage and beauty treatments using products inspired by the surrounding nature.
    Birdwatching  -  There are over 160 different species of bird to be spotted in the vicinity of the resort
    Back to Nature  -  No air-con or TVs here, just a relaxed jungle experience with all the other mod cons!

    Wonderful eco-lodge with just eight cabins overlooking the Macal River. Large studios and one-bedroomed lodges provide comfortable accommodation with mahogany furnishings, tiled floors and private balconies with river views. Jasmine spa offers relaxation after a day's adventure in the jungle. See More

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  • Chaa Creek San Ignacio (PO Box 53) 23 rooms from £304

    Local exploring  -  Ideally situated for exploring the Maya Mountains and San Ignacio.
    Romantic Break  -  Deluxe cottages offer complete privacy.
    Birdwatching  -  Observe wild parrots and hummingbirds in the surrounding area.
    Kayaking  -  Go kayaking down the nearby Macal river.
    SpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessNo pets
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller

    Delightful family-run eco lodge just outside of San Ignacio in the Maya Mountains. Each room takes the form of a palm-thatched cottage, featuring elegant furnishings and traditional artwork. Perfect for those looking for abundant bird and animal life. A riverside gem. See More

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