The perfect base to explore the nearby Maya sites, this small, friendly town in the Cayo District is also filled with sights worth discovering.

1. Kaj Expressions

Pick up handmade jewelry made with gold-filled wire at Kaj Expressions. Owner and artist Khadija Assales also uses lionfish tails in some of her work to highlight the negative impact this invasive species is having on Belize’s coral reefs. You’ll also find handcrafted leather purses by micro-production brand Twig & Pearl.

2. Vivian’s Café

Cool down with an ice cream-topped iced coffee from Vivian’s Café. Looking for something sweet? Try one of Vivian’s famous cinnamon rolls served with almonds or pecans.

3. Cappello’s Art Gallery

Cappello’s Art Gallery, photo by Macarena Rose

The exterior of Cappello’s Art Gallery looks like a building from a Dr. Seuss book, with its blue towers flanking a sweeping staircase. In the towers, four studios provide workspaces for artists, while a central gallery exhibits pieces such as carved masks, wooden wine bottle holders and tropics-inspired paintings.

4. Ajaw Chocolate

Learn the ancient art of chocolate making during a workshop at Ajaw Chocolate. Start by grinding cacao beans on a traditional Maya grinding stone and end by sipping on a hot chocolate.

5. The Green Iguana Conservation Project

Found within the grounds of the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, the Green Iguana Conservation Project aims to increase the numbers of this endangered species through rehabilitation and by rearing and releasing newborns into the wild. You’ll learn more about these fascinating reptiles—and get to feed them—during a tour of the facility.

6. San Ignacio Market

San Ignacio Market, photo by Jasmin Ford

Visit the San Ignacio Market held daily by the Macal River. Shop for hand-carved Maya calendars and wooden masks, bright textiles and souvenir-sized bottles of pepper sauce. Stop by El Fogon Del Cayo, located at the back end of the market, for a chicken, shrimp, beef or pork taco prepared over an open fire.


[This story appears in the February 2019 issue of  WestJet Magazine]