by Gach Guerrero

Perched on the hills of the Maya Mountain overlooking the charming town of San Ignacio is the San Ignacio Hotel Resort. A small boutique resort with all the amenities of a five star hotel and also their service is second to none. From the minute you arrive at the resort you will be pampered by their knowledgeable and friendly staff. After checked in I was escorted to my room and what a room it was. A spacious room with Belizean paintings on the walls and a balcony over looking the seventeen acre of rainforest; it is part of the hotel property and home of the green iguanas.

After I had settled in my room I went to verandah where I met my friend, Mariam, the resort owner and manager, and two travel buddies who had traveled with me to San Ignacio so that we get updated with what is happening in and around Cayo. The first couple of hours we spent it admiring the beauty of the resort over some cocktails and snacks. The Buffalo wings were my favorite. While sitting on the verandah we saw a few birds jumping from tree to tree and we even got to see two toucans eating berries from a huge tree that stands majestically by the edge of the swimming pool. Not sure if the little frog doing its gymnastics on the one inch wide iron railing was hired by Mariam to entertain us or was just our luck to see this little creature leap from end to end of the railing and every time landing perfectly.

When the sun started to set we went to visit Mr. Godman Ellis, a man who contributed so much to the development of the tourism industry, and now at eighty-two lives with his family down the road from the San Ignacio Hotel. We reminisce with him about the good old days when we all worked together in different committees promoting sustainable tourism. Today you can find Ellis sitting at the entrance of his house along with his wife enjoying the peacefulness of their neighborhood and always ready to chat with friends that stop by to visit him.

Later we took a ride to down town San Ignacio to see the new beautification project which is under way. We enjoyed the short stroll along the newly cobble stoned Burns Avenue with its funky atmosphere. We stopped by Mr. Greedy's Bar and Grill which was packed with young folks enjoying the evening. We also chatted with Mr. Juan of Maya Walk, his place looks very chic and his customers seemed to be enjoying their dinner served on the tables along the sidewalk. Our final stop was at Paradise for some home made ice cream. Sugar corn and sour sop ice cream, Belizeans favorites, was our choice. I must mention that I was impressed on how clean the town is and how friendly everyone was. I can imagine how beautiful down town San Ignacio will be when the project is finish. It was now time for us to go back to the hotel for a night rest.

We had planned to wake up early next morning and grab a pair of binoculars to go bird watching on the trails that crisscross the hotel property but those beds are so comfortable you just want to stay in bed and I did. When I woke up it was already eight o'clock so we took a walk around the neighborhood taking pictures of the beautiful flamboyant and mayflower trees that decorate the patios of the small colonial houses that line up the streets. For us island boys it was a challenge to walk the hilly streets of San Ignacio. The visit to the town market was enjoyable, fresh fruits and vegetables everywhere. We understand market day is Saturdays and the market comes alive very early with the town's people coming to get the freshest of the crop that the farmers have brought in.

After leaving the market we headed to Spanish Lookout home of the Mennonites and oil drilling. The community is well kept with nice roads, well manicured open fields with zinc roof houses spread far from each other. It is a rich community which was settled over fifty years ago. The Mennonites are of German descent but came to Belize from Canada and Mexico. Today they are the backbone of our agriculture industry (vegetables, poultry, and cattle) and are now venturing into other businesses. We visited one of their department stores and we were surprised with both the items they carry and the prices. Here at Spanish Lookout I bought a hand made quilt from Esther Kornelsen a member of the Mennonite Women's Quilting Circle. It is really beautiful and intricately woven.

At eleven o'clock we boarded the hotel shuttle and headed back to Belize City for our Maya Island Air flight to La Isla Bonita, our home. Driving along the Western Highway was just as enjoyable as we spent the time admiring the colourful little villages that are on both sides of the road. This was all part of the experience of our one day trip to San Ignacio and the San Ignacio Hotel Resort. Cayo is beautiful, You Better Belize It!