Hotel at a Glance: Rumors Hotel
Just shy of 2 miles from San Ignacio's downtown, Rumors Hotel is conveniently positioned for guests to check out the city and its popular farmer's market or to explore the surrounding jungle, caves, and Mayan ruins. In this deal, there are optional tours through Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, the Caracol Mayan ruins, or Crystal Cave, canoeing through Barton Creek Cave, or tubing in Jaguar Paw Cave.
- Room with a view: The hotel's new, quiet rooms open toward sweeping views of the mountain and valley.
- Kid friendly: Kids can safely play at the playground or splash around in the kiddie pool.
- Belizean cuisine: The onsite restaurant serves up breakfast as well as authentic Belizean dishes, such as rice and beans with coconut milk.
- Distance to San Ignacio Market: 3.4 miles
- Nearby Mayan site: The palatial Mayan home Cahal Pech overlooks San Ignacio, with 34 structures and Mayan artifacts spread over 2 acres.
San Ignacio, Belize: Frontier Town Meets Tropical Paradise
San Ignacio is set on the western part of Belize, amid jungle foliage along the Macal River near the Guatemalan border. The surrounding area has an embarrassment of riches for eco-tourism and historical sites; naturally, travelers often use San Ignacio as a jumping-off point for adventure trips. Tops on the must-see list is Tikal, a former Mayan kingdom across the border in Guatemala that is now a national park. It has dozens of impeccably preserved limestone temples and pyramids, with a few towering hundreds of feet in the air. Somewhat surprisingly, you can climb stairs to the top of these structures, just as the city's rulers once did; up on Temple IV, you can get a sweeping view of the green jungle of Belize and Guatemala. Nearly as magnificent is the site known as Xunantunich, located across a river closer to San Ignacio in Belize. It's somewhat of a hidden gem; its temples were restored in the 1990s.
Many caves are hidden beneath the hilly landscape around San Ignacio. The one to see is Actun Tunichil Muknal, also known as ATM Cave, which once served as a residence and sanctuary for ancient Mayans. It has clay pots and carvings inside that have been left virtually untouched since their discovery. It's almost as if the Mayans never left—some didn't, in fact. There are multiple skeletons scattered inside the cave, some of which were believed to have been human sacrifices.
As the sun rises on Saturday morning in San Ignacio, crowds of people—some on horseback—descend upon the city's popular farmer's market to get first dibs on the freshest fruits and veggies. In addition to recently plucked mango, pineapple, bananas, and watermelon, you can pick up baked goods, clothing, and wood carvings. Nearby, an old wooden rope bridge runs across a river where kids swim and play and the occasional toucan flies overhead.