San Ignacio and Santa Elena are on opposite banks of the Macal River. The name San Ignacio originated in 1870, when, under the direction of Fr. A. Bavastro, SJ, the first community chapel was dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola.
The land on which Santa Elena is situated was originally a mahogany work referred to as Hermitage. In the 1880s, a large portion of the land belonged to Mr. Gregorio Requena, a cattle farmer. According to oral history, Mr. Requena renamed the area 'Santa Elena' after Santa Elena, Peter' in Guatemala where his family migrated from.