A brief walkabout downtown San Ignacio in western Belize to get a taste of what to expect on your visit to this part of the country.
Together with neighboring Santa Elena, on the east bank of the river, San Ignacio forms the chief population center of Cayo District. Staying here is generally the more economical option for travel in Cayo; furthermore, there is no shortage of tour operators who are willing to show you the attractions and activities in the surrounding area. It is a friendly, functional base for your explorations of the region.
But San Ignacio is not one of those towns that exist only for tourists. It has a very positive local vibe, with a bustling market and a steady influx of immigrants. Residents are Mestizos, Maya and Garifuna, as well as a bunch of free-spirited expatriates from Europe and North America. San Ignacio is on the west bank of the Macal River, a couple of miles upstream from its confluence with the Mopan River – a meeting of waters that gives birth to the Belize River. On the river's east bank is the town of Santa Elena. Two bridges cross the Macal.
Burns Ave, running north–south, is San Ignacio's main street, taking you past the football field and terminating at the traffic circle in the south, where you'll find the town hall and the police station. There is no bus terminal in San Ignacio, but nearly all buses stop in the market square, just east of Burns Ave.
One of the best attractions in western Belize is the San Ignacio Market Day held every Saturday. This open air market is one of the best in the country offering fresh fruits, vegetables and other farm produce. Food vendors are everywhere, people come to sell anything from clothing, shoes, hammocks, hardware, animals and pets. It is rather like a produce market, peddlers meet and flea market rolled into one.
The Market at San Ignacio Belize
As seen on the TV show "Belize Good News Broadcast" airing on Comcast Cable.Hosted by Steve and Roseanna O'Dell. Produced by Steve O'Dell.