In this guide to San Ignacio, learn about the perfect place to base your jungle adventures in the Cayo district of Belize. Restaurants, lodging, and more!
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A Misfit’s Guide to San Ignacio, Belize

on
November 28, 2017

If you’re looking for the perfect home base while adventuring in the Cayo district of Belize, you’ve arrived. It’s also a convenient launching point for trips to Tikal. While you’re resting up from your activities, check out my in-town suggestions and enjoy this guide to San Ignacio!

Stay:

D’s Guesthouse

Choosing appropriate lodging is a cornerstone to happy travel . That rings true especially if you’re an introvert like me. While plenty of hostels and hotels exist in San Ignacio, I chose to bunk on the outskirts of town at a relatively new place called D’s Guesthouse. They offer three small rooms (both private and communal) far from the bustle of the main street.

You’ll be sharing a small common area with other travelers and members of the household itself. The AC is a bit too strong, and the thin sheets on the beds don’t quite keep you toasty. But hey, this is essentially a hostel; I’ll take some discomfort for cheap prices and a safe place to lay my head. After adventuring in the jungles of Belize I just wanted some peace and quiet, and that’s what D’s gives you. If you’re looking for a party hostel, this is not the place for you.

A typical meal in Belize - stewed chicken with rice and beans.

A common and welcome sight in Belize

Best food in town:

Ko-Ox Han Nah (Let’s Go Eat!)

For a tantalizing mix of Belizean, Indian, and American cuisine, eat here. Locals are always in attendance, and the price reflects that without sacrificing quality. The space is small without quite being a hole-in-the-wall, and you’ll feel intimately accommodated. I witnessed the owner espousing the joys of eating a good curry to another table near mine. You could feel the passion for his business and the world of food making its way out to his hungry customers.

I have a strange fetish for organ meat (call me Hannibal) and was able to tuck into some pan fried lamb liver served with mashed potatoes. Let’s just say I licked my plate clean and leave it at that. Surprisingly, they also offer the best burger I’ve tasted in all of my travels. For meat eaters of all persuasions, the menu lists where each animal is sourced from. Hint: they’re all fresh and local.

 

Become a regular:

The Great Mayan Prince

It’s attached to a hotel and offers a massive menu of Mexican, sandwiches, seafood, pasta, and more. The drinks are strong and good. My total bill for three diners was perhaps $30 USD – including dessert! You’ll want to make this your go-to, especially considering the fabulous patio with views of the entire town. I ate at the Prince three times in five days.

Speaking of cheap, any establishment in Belize will have stewed chicken served with rice and beans, with plantains on the side.  This meal will run you about $4 USD or less and is usually quite good.

 

Fancy fixin’s:

Guava Limb Café

While the food didn’t quite justify the price tag, Guava Limb definitely hits the spot in terms of ambiance. You’ll be dining outdoors with ample mood lighting, courtesy of candlelight. Food is varied and good, with dessert being the real highlight – I had a banana layer cake that was to die for! Be sure to take advantage of their 2-for-1 happy hour cocktail specials and get started early.

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misfit meditations

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, tired, and generally cranky, consider an early night.  Furthermore, taking a break from drinking alcohol can help you get better sleep and restore your energy.  While San Ignacio is a cheap place to load up on beer, you’ll want to be fresh at least some of the mornings you go out for adventures!

It’s okay to not feel great all the time.  Just keep in mind that our bodies are trying to communicate when things go wrong!  Listen to yours.

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 Bar advertisement in Belize

Can you guess what Belizeans like to do in their spare time? Image by onetwopunch via Flickr

Hang with locals:

Ck Sports Bar

Head over to a spot where the people of San Ignacio throw down beers and watch sports. The pool table was in the best condition of the ones I saw in town, and as a bonus didn’t have any sketchy drug dealers hanging around to catcall my friend.  In fact, the bartenders were amazingly friendly and seemed to take interest in having some travelers to talk to.  If you want to shoot the shit with a Belizean, this is probably as good a place as any to start.

Breakfast:

Pop’s

When you’re nursing the hangover from all the shots your new friend sent your way, head on over to Pop’s for classic American and Belizean breakfast fare.  Turns out, the two are pretty similar.  Just swap out potatoes for beans and the biscuits or toast for fry jacks.  Protip: fill them with eggs and meat, or use them as a butter and jam delivery vehicle. Wash it all down with a cup of joe and get ready to face the rough roads ahead.

 

Tourist Trap:

Burns Avenue

 Unless you like being screamed at by restaurant hosts, tour guides, drug dealers, and gift shop vendors, spend as little time on Burns Avenue as possible.  Sure, you’ll want to see it once.  But arrange your tours ahead of time, through your hostel/hotel, or do it all in one go on Burns so you can go see the real San Ignacio instead.  If you’re going to book one tour, I’d recommend the ATM Cave.
Much of the other attractions can be flown solo or with a group of friends/hostel mates.  If you like saving money and exploring on your own, renting a car will save you a ton of dough vs. booking tours.  Just do your research and be careful out there!

]I hope this guide to San Ignacio gave you some ideas of places to eat, stay, and unwind while in town.  I leave you with a picture of delicious Belizean fry jacks to get you riled up.

 

Fry Jacks at Breakfast in Belize
Image by Larnie & Bodil Fox via Flickr

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Byron Barnes
United States

Aspiring Travel Writer / Proud Introvert / Lapsed Nerd

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