THE TOP TEN ACTIVITIES TO DO IN SAN IGNACIO, BELIZE
March 17th, 2014 by Oscar Castaneda for Balaam Eco Adventures
Belize is a tiny jewel in the heart of Central America with three main tourist destinations: San Pedro Ambergris Caye, Placencia and San Ignacio. In San Ignacio there are numerous Eco-Resorts, great restaurants serving local, American and International cuisine. With Eco-Tourism as its mantra and its back bone, hard working, friendly people (its greatest assets), Belize Adventure Tours, a plethora of reasons why you should experience San Ignacio in Western Belize, make this tourism destination more popular and appealing to visitors each year.
You don’t want to miss San Ignacio, if it’s only for a few days, a week or just passing through en route to Guatemala or to Mexico. Are you looking for first class adventure, relaxation, nature at its best, Ancient Mayan Pyramids, Pristine Rainforests, cascading Waterfalls, Awesome Caves, the largest modern day Market in San Ignacio (every Saturday) and the most exciting Belize Adventure Tours?
San Ignacio is the hub for your Belize Vacation and the best Activities Belize has to offer and its normally the first stop for many visitors as they explore the country side with its numerous enchantments then proceeding to visit either Placencia, San Pedro Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker. Most visitors I have met in my 18 years as a Professional Naturalist Guide have chosen Belize as their destination due to its close proximity to the US (two hours from Houston or Miami), English as the official language and the fact that they can visit both the Rainforest and Islands in the same Vacation. You can enjoy your Belize All Inclusive Rainforest, Ruins and Reefs Vacations with the best we have to offer from one location.
There are so many activities to do around San Ignacio and you can read more to find out THE TOP TEN ACTIVITIES TO DO IN SAN IGNACIO, BELIZE. Let’s see if I can convince you to stop by and experience it for yourself then you can tell me what you think or if you have any questions or comments.
1. Actun Tunichil Mucknal Cave or ATM Cave
At the top of the list is Actun Tunichil Mucknal Cave or also called ATM Cave which is the most popular and most visited cave in Western Belize. Visitors travel from around the globe to San Ignacio to live and experience this adventure first hand.
Caracol is up to date the tallest man made building constructed in Belize standing at 140 feet above the plaza which sits 1500 feet above sea level deep within the Chiquibul Rainforest. With is thriving metropolis, specialized intensive agricultural techniques of terracing it was able to survive longer than other cities states.
With its ingeniously planned and executed warfare tactics Caracol was able to humble and conquer super powers of its time bringing them to their knees. A perfect example of it prowess and military victories is Caracol’s defeat of majestic Tikal in the Peten in Guatemala in 562 AD and dominating Tikal for over 100 years.
3. Cave Tubing & Zip Line
The most refreshing and relaxing of all Belize Adventure Tours is the combo tours of Cave Tubing and Zip Line. Just one hour drive from San Ignacio takes you to our own Jurassic Park in Belize named Noho Chen Archaeological Reserve.
With modern facilities and changing rooms for your convinience and great adventures to remember for a lifetime. A 5 minutes walk from the parking on a Jungle trail brings you to the Zip Line area where you are fitted with your equipment and given instructions. Feel like a kid again as you zip through the rainforest canopy crossing over the Caves Branch River on two of the seven runs. At the end of this adrenaline packed tour you back track to the parking lot where you get a tasty home cooked lunch with your guide, change and go on a nature trail hike to access the cave entrance for Cave Tubing.
Enter the cave system on a journey into “Xibalba” the underworld for the Maya also called the place of fright, fitted with your equipment and float on your very own inner tubes. Centuries old stalagtites and stalagmites appear everywhere as you enter the cave on your expedition travelling back in time. Remember to listen to your guide as he screams butts up, butts up or enjoy a complimentary nature butt massage with river rocks strategically located in this cave. This unique Cave Tubing tour offers you relaxation, awe, history of the ancient Mayas and their world. Feel rejunvenated on this tour as the refreshing water careses your body, swim in the cenote within the cave system and enjoy the waterfall inside the cave.
P.S (Go Pro camera are highly recommended)
Visiting Tikal just two hours away from the Guatemala/Belize border is a highlight of anyone’s day. Climbing centuries old pyramids, learning of the Maya's accomplishments and enjoying the scencery from Temple IV overlooking the Rainforest Canopy. Travel back in time and relive the way the Mayas lived and experience one of the Greatest Civilizations that ever existed. Tikal is the place of a thousand voices echoing in the wind telling its untold stories of daily life, warfare, victories, accomplishments, sacrifices, rising and falling of once great and powerful kings who ruled with impunity and bravery.
This impressive Mayan sites sits on the banks of the Mopan river nearby the Mayan village of San Jose Succtoz. With its early dates of 250 BC, abandoned three times and coming back to re-occupy the hill top and declining around 900- 1000 AD. Xunantunich where major events unfolded is translated as “maiden of the rock” and is believed to have had four freezies wrapping around the four sides of El Castillo, the tallest buiding towering at 130 feet. Today only two of these four freezies are visible on the East and West depicting faces of Dieties, Gods, Sun, Moon, Venus and its various numbers. This site is only accessible by a hand cranked ferry and a 1 mile drive or hike up the hill for those wishing to enjoy a nature hike to the Maya Site.
6. Barton Creek Cave
Driving to Barton Creek Cave is a unique experience to see the conservative Mennonites in their village. The Mennonites live a simple lifestyle based on agriculture and focused on family. To arrive at Barton Creek Cave you drive across the Barton Creek River twice and enter the cave with your guide on a canoe and with a lamp. The river enters into the cave and this tour is only accessible by a canoe and a guided tour. See perfectly formed stalagtites and stalagmites and learn of the Maya’s journey into this cave for their rituals and ceremonies performed thousands of years ago and see pottery they left inside.
7. Mountain Pine Ridge
The Mountain Pine Ridge Forests Reserve is one of the oldest reserves in Belize and sits in one of the oldest Granite rocks dating to 300 million years ago. With lower elevations of mountains surrounding it dating to 65 million years ago, the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve was once an Island according to speculations from Geologists.
Its home to old Granite rocks making up most of the Reserve and accounts for the numerous cascading and refreshing waterfalls where you can enjoy the day. Most waterfalls originating here are spring fed and one of the best examples is Thousand Feet Falls with an estimated 1600 feet height forming the Roaring Creek River. Thousand Feet Falls is the tallest waterfall in Belize and in all of Central America. This reserve holds our watershed and is the tribuitary for many of our rivers which meanders its way to the Caribbean Sea.
8. Big Rock Falls
This waterfall is within the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and plumettes some 100 feet into a pool where many visitors refresh after a visit to Caracol or surrounding areas. As you walk from the parking area on a nature trail and make your way down the steps you can hear the rumbling of Big Rock waterfall as the raging waters plummetes down. Enjoy of a picnic lunch then refresh at this gorgeous waterfall.
9. Chechem Ha Cave
One hour drive from San Ignacio takes you to Chechem Ha Cave where the tour begins as you walk a nature trail in the dense Rainforests of Belize. A 30 minutes hike from the parking brings you to the cave entrance which has nine levels as you walk 1 mile underground inside the mountain where the cave is located. Bring your camera and take pictures of pottery and offerings left by the Mayas thousands of years ago and see these artefacts in the same place where they were left during their rituals and ceremonies. The last chamber is the most impressive of all and you need to experience it first hand and feel the way the Mayas lived and felt travelling and experiencing this unique cave expedition.
10.San Ignacio Market Day
By far this is one of the most interesting market days in Belize and you see many cultural and ethnic groups interacting peacefully. Tease your senses with a diversity of local dishes, foods, choose freshly organically grown fruits, vegetables, fresh seafood and interact with the locals. Belizeans are a very friendly and easy going people, no hurry worry seems to be the way to go.
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