What to do in San Ignacio
San Ignacio is a must stop if you’re in the area (i.e. staying at Blancaneaux Lodge after reading my review) and it has a ton to offer. Even if you’ve only got a few hours to dedicate it’s worth it! Check out my recommendations on what to do in San Ignacio, even if you’re short on time.
This small Mayan site sits atop a hill (check out the view from the parking area!) right at the top of San Ignacio. The small but informative museum leads out into the ruins. The size and location of this site means it can be seen quickly or explored for hours, whatever you’re up for!
San Ignacio Market
Looking for some souvenirs to take home? Look no further than the market! Saturdays are the best (and busiest days) to go and wander the different areas. You’ll find everything and anything: fruits, vegetables, spices, used clothing, fresh juices, meats, remedies, condiments, wines, slate carvings, tools and more! There are also numerous stalls selling food cooked to order – try the Salvadorian pupusas for a filling snack and grab a fresh coconut to wash it down with. Also a pro tip: don’t accidentally film the group of gambling men (playing the game where you hide the ball under the cup and guess which one it is) or you’ll get sternly told to delete it. Oops.
Even if a stop at the market isn’t on your list you’ll want to grab a bite in San Ignacio! There’s a high concentration of restaurants, bars and cafes and you’ll also see roadside stands. You’ll even find bubble tea at Bambu Tee! I have eaten at Guava Limb (their menu is Caribbean fusion), Cenaida’s Belizean Food (name says it all) and Ko-Ox Han Nah (Belizean with some Indian flare) and recommend them all, however you’ve got plenty more to choose from!
Marie Sharp’s Tasting
I love Marie Sharp’s hot sauce and if you like spicy foods you’ll love it, too! You’ll find Marie Sharp’s at just about every restaurant, cafe or deli you stop at in Belize and for good reason. I was unaware of just how many offerings she had until I did the tasting at the Marie Sharp’s Tourist Center. You’re set up with every offering she has, from mild to hottest, along with juice and crackers in case it gets too real. You’ll also get the story of Marie Sharp’s, including the salacious tale of a former business partner who attempted to steal her recipe and sell it in the US ( it’s still sold here to this day) but couldn’t quite get it right.
This is also the spot to stock up on any sauces you tried and liked, along with any other products on offer (jams, steak sauce, etc.). If you’ve got more time to spare you can also book a cooking class to learn how to make your favorite Belizean specialty, with a side of Marie Sharp’s of course!
You are in a cacao producing country so you should definitely check out AJAW Chocolate for a tour. This Mayan chocolate maker gives you a full tour and the history of cacao with tastings along the way. I love the cacao drink and the roasted cacao beans – so much so that I bought a huge bag. You’ll also get the chance to try grinding cacao on a traditional stone (harder than it looks). Chocolate wine? They’ve got that, too.
Green Iguana Conservation Project
Stop by the San Ignacio Hotel to check out the Green Iguana Conservation Project. You can learn all about the green iguana, the challenges and issues that the reptiles face and how the conservation project helps. This is a quick stop but is super educational and you can even feed the iguanas while you’re there!
These are just a few ideas for what to do in San Ignacio, however this small town has a lot to offer! Still not sold? Check out my 5 Things You Must do in Belize post – it was written a while ago but the reasons are still relevant today!