On your visit to Belize, do not miss the beautiful San Ignacio. There are so many epic things to do here. We want to share some of the amazing free or inexpensive things you can do that will get you away from the tourists and exploring this amazing place at a low cost.
1. Branch Mouth Park
Branch Mouth Park is the location where the Macal River and the Mopan River meet to form the Belize river. It is about a half hour walk from the center of San Ignacio and also accessible by vehicle. At Branch Mouth Park you can swim all around the river or just cool off in the shallower areas. The river does have a slight current in the center deeper part but nothing a comfortable swimmer cant handle as we had no problem swimming across.
There is a snack shop where you can get a snack and a drink, including some delicious garnachas. We were able to jump off the center of the bridge that crosses over the river, however, we would recommend watching what the locals are doing to know the exact location on the bridge where the water is deep enough and to make sure it is still safe as water levels could change. You can also rent a tube to take into the river and go for a cruise, although ask about how far they recommend going with it and getting back as we did not do this so we cannot provide that info.
2. Cahal Pech Archaeological Reserve
3. Hot Sauce Tasting
Marie Sharps is the local hot sauce brand, many restaurants and local eats you will visit will carry one of these hot sauces but there are actually approximately 16 different hot sauces created by Marie Sharps. There are a few other non-hot sauces you will get to try, as well as a long line up of absolutely delicious jams. After trying all this, you get to taste some of the local wines Marie Sharps has created from local fruits. The tasting comes at a cost of $10BZD that we found to be very worth it. Our recommendation however, if you want to purchase any of the hot sauces afterwards, we saw them for cheaper at some of the nearby convenience stores.
4. Watch a Beautiful Sunset
If you start walking along the Western Highway going west, then cut in to a few side streets, you will find your way to the Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins. We recommend taking a visit here for $10BZD as you walked all this way but this is not where the sunset will be but its worth a visit if your walking all this way. Last ticket is sold at 5:30pm. After your visit at the ruins (or not) continue walking up the street (couldn’t find the name but the locals are very helpful) to Cahal Pech Village Resort. At the resort you can just walk up to the main area, pull up a chair along the railing, and watch the beautiful sunset over San Ignacio and behind the mountains!
5. Visit Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve WITHOUT a Tour
We never actually got to do this because we do not have a motorcycle license to rent a dirt bike and a car was not in our budget after doing the ATM tour (which we highly recommend). You can take a tour here but it costs about $140BZD and we always try to do things on our own when possible so we did a lot of research into this that we can pass on. Download the offline maps for the region and get on your adventure. If you don’t know what offline maps is, if you download the Google Maps app, you can download the map of the region you want and then use your phone as a GPS without needing wifi or data connection.
Places to explore:
- Rio Frio Cave
- Rio On Pools
- Big Rock Falls
- Observe the 1000ft Falls (which is actually taller than 1000 feet)
- Visit Caracol Mayan Ruins
- Canoe the Barton Creek Caves
6. Eat Local
Eat at the local spots. It’s always cheaper and authentic. We loved the burritos, fry jacks, and tacos at Mickeys Snack Shop!
-> Don’t forget to checkout our favourite thing of all in San Ignacio – Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave for an epic spelunking and historical adventure! Check out our blog ->HERE<-