Experiences in San Ignacio

After a quick 10-minute flight into Belize City, your adventure begins.

With a scenic drive up the Western Highway to the Cayo (pronounced Ky-o) District. Xunantunich (Maya for “Maiden of the Rock”) sits just inside the Western border of Belize. Before reaching the entrance of this ancient city, your party will board a 19th century hand-cranked ferry which takes you across the Mopan River. The ruins are actually located on one of the highest plateaus in the area and it is possible to climb to the top of “El Castillo”, the largest of the temples at this site. From this vantage point, one gains a panoramic view of the Cayo District and nearby Guatemala.

Next, we continue to Barton Creek Cave in Amish territory. Equipped with canoes and high-powered lights we gently paddle into Xibalba (she-bal-ba). As you glide through the cave system you will be dazzled by the glistening crystalline rock formations and awed by the Mayan artifacts secretly tucked away in overhead alcoves.

You will first visit Xunantunich Mayan ruin, also known as the "Maiden of the Rock".

It stands 130 feet high, the second tallest Mayan ruin in Belize , and gives a panoramic view of the Cayo District, Guatemala and the Mopan River.

The site has been largely excavated and has a great on site museum. After lunch in San Ignacio, the Mayan ruin tour proceeds to Cahal Pech meaning “Place of the Ticks”. Cahal Pech Mayan ruin is located 15 minutes on the outskirts of San Ignacio, and was home to a Mayan Royal Family.

This is a wonderful excursion, particularly if you have kids.

They will love every minute of it. You can start your trip by flying from San Pedro to the mainland or you can take a water taxi. 

At the mainland, an air-conditioned car or van will pick you up, and toget…

If you are an adventurer at heart, this tour is for you!

Experience the beauty of the cave system from the comfort of your inner tube. Hike through chambers where ancient Maya took part in religious ceremonies lead by the Shaman and priests.

Your headlamp provides your only light as you enter huge cave systems sculpted by flowing water. Crystal formations glow in the light while you wind your way past stalactites and stalagmites.

Step delicately as there are many Mayan artifacts!

Of all the awesome Belize Maya sites, Caracol would have to be one of the top in terms of importance and grandeur

This once great Maya city-state from the Maya Classic era is one of the country’s largest archaeological sites, and it also boasts the tallest man-made structure in the land. 

El Caracol means “the snail”, and its not entirely clear as to this why this appellation was applied.

The scenic and peaceful Macal River drains the Maya Mountain and form one of the longest river system in the country.

Entering along the Lower Macal River the float downstream is quick along the rapids and slow moving most of the way.

The riverbanks are heavily forested and outcrops of limestone rocks protrude along the gorges many tropical fish, turtles and river otters share the clear mountain water. Swimming and swinging from vines is also added to this adventure.

With so many different habitats packed into such a tiny country, it's no surprise that Belize is a paradise for Birdwatchers.

The Cayo district, with its many rivers, forests and jungle lodges, is one of the best places to spot some of Belize’s 560 species of birds. Nearly 300 different species have been sighted within 10 miles of San Ignacio alone, from hummingbirds to cuckoos to vultures, and many birding tours are available throughout the district.

Early morning is best for Birdwatching, there are over 175 bird species already recorded on site, some are common and others are quite rare. Using the on property hiking trails and riverbanks, a birder can get good sightings of Toucans, tanagers, orioles, hummingbird and many others in two hours. The balcony decks are also offer excellent lookout to forest canopy. Easy to mild walk.

This cave is one of the most popular Mayan burial sites in Western Belize.

The cave contains four skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware left by the Maya. The most famous skeleton inside the cave is that of a young girl, the bones of which have been completely covered by the natural processes of the cave, leaving them with a sparkling appearance. The cave itself is several kilometers long with several chambers.

This adventure leaves Caves Branch Jungle Lodge around 8:30am. The hike from the starting point to the cave entrance includes three stream crossings and passes through the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve.

The hike is approximately 45 minutes in duration. Once in the caves you will spend several hours swimming, climbing, and exploring. Once in the inner chambers you will take off your shoes and explore in only your socks to prevent damage to the artifacts. This adventure is challenging and a good level of physical fitness is required. The ability to swim is a plus as you will need to cross deep water to enter the cave and will be wading through water several times both inside and outside the caves.