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Short San Ignacio trip - itinerary and questions

Short San Ignacio trip - itinerary and questions

My girlfriend and I are visiting Belize this August for a destination wedding in San Pedro. While I'm sure the resort and beach will be great we wanted to get a more well rounded and authentic Belizian experience by travelling to San Ignacio beforehand. Unfortunately our schedule only allows two nights so we want to make sure we get the most out of it. We'll be travelling with 2-4 others (one couple is not fully committed yet due to being part of the wedding party). We aren't sharing accommodations with them but sharing the cost of a rental vehicle(4x4).

Day 1(Saturday): Arrive at BZE at 2:30pm. Pick up rental 4x4 vehicle from the airport and drive directly to San Ignacio. Hoping to get there around 6. From my understanding it gets dark around then so I figure the first night we settle in our room (cheap room in Tropicool Hotel), get some food, maybe go out for some drinks and try to talk to people.

Day 2 (Sunday): Wake up early and check out the town (market/get some breakfast/maybe see the green iguana project). Then drive to Mountain Pine Ridge, stopping at Big Rock falls and Rio Frio pool/caves to swim and explore. Head back for a meal and then drive to Xunantunich, I'm counting on it being dark by the time we get back because I know it's a lot of driving. Then go out for food/drinks again, nothing too crazy since we'll have to get up early again.

Day 3 (Monday): Wake up, check out, get some breakfast. I'd really like to check out AJAW Chocolate and Crafts to see how chocolate is made. Maybe visit Cahal Pech if time allows, but I'd like to head out by 1pm so we can stop at Belize Zoo on the way back. Drop off the rental at the airport and then get a cab to Belize City, and a water taxi from there to Ambergris.

Are we missing out by not doing any tours? Obviously I'd love to experience the ATM and Tikal but I don't want to dedicate an entire day to one activity because of the time constraint. Split 4-6 ways, the rental also seems like a cheaper option. Any recommendations for other or alternative places to check out by car? I wish we could do more of a round trip, leaving in the morning and then not having to go back to San Ignacio till night, but the lack of roads doesn't give me much flexibility. Would it make more sense to do Xunantunich the first half of the day and then Mountain Pine Ridge in the afternoon?

Also I'm slightly nervous about renting a car in a foreign country. I've read a lot about the roads and have a good idea of what companies are reputable, but any tips would be greatly appreciated!

So that ended up being way longer than I expected, I'm probably overthinking things and would really prefer to have a more go with the flow attitude to this whole thing, but its our first international vacation and we have been saving time and vacation days for it, so I want to be prepared and get the most out of our time and money. Thank you for reading!

Edited: 04 May 2017, 07:11
1. Re: Short San Ignacio trip - itinerary and questions

My girlfriend and I are visiting Belize this August for a destination wedding in San Pedro. While I'm sure the resort and beach will be great we wanted to get a more well rounded and authentic Belizian experience by travelling to San Ignacio beforehand. Unfortunately our schedule only allows two nights so we want to make sure we get the most out of it. We'll be travelling with 2-4 others (one couple is not fully committed yet due to being part of the wedding party). We aren't sharing accommodations with them but sharing the cost of a rental vehicle(4x4).

Day 1(Saturday): Arrive at BZE at 2:30pm. Pick up rental 4x4 vehicle from the airport and drive directly to San Ignacio. Hoping to get there around 6. From my understanding it gets dark around then so I figure the first night we settle in our room (cheap room in Tropicool Hotel), get some food, maybe go out for some drinks and try to talk to people.

Day 2 (Sunday): Wake up early and check out the town (market/get some breakfast/maybe see the green iguana project). Then drive to Mountain Pine Ridge, stopping at Big Rock falls and Rio Frio pool/caves to swim and explore. Head back for a meal and then drive to Xunantunich, I'm counting on it being dark by the time we get back because I know it's a lot of driving. Then go out for food/drinks again, nothing too crazy since we'll have to get up early again.

Day 3 (Monday): Wake up, check out, get some breakfast. I'd really like to check out AJAW Chocolate and Crafts to see how chocolate is made. Maybe visit Cahal Pech if time allows, but I'd like to head out by 1pm so we can stop at Belize Zoo on the way back. Drop off the rental at the airport and then get a cab to Belize City, and a water taxi from there to Ambergris.

Are we missing out by not doing any tours? Obviously I'd love to experience the ATM and Tikal but I don't want to dedicate an entire day to one activity because of the time constraint. Split 4-6 ways, the rental also seems like a cheaper option. Any recommendations for other or alternative places to check out by car? I wish we could do more of a round trip, leaving in the morning and then not having to go back to San Ignacio till night, but the lack of roads doesn't give me much flexibility. Would it make more sense to do Xunantunich the first half of the day and then Mountain Pine Ridge in the afternoon?

Also I'm slightly nervous about renting a car in a foreign country. I've read a lot about the roads and have a good idea of what companies are reputable, but any tips would be greatly appreciated!

So that ended up being way longer than I expected, I'm probably overthinking things and would really prefer to have a more go with the flow attitude to this whole thing, but its our first international vacation and we have been saving money and vacation days for it, so I want to be prepared and get the most out of our time and money. Thank you for reading!

Edited: 04 May 2017, 07:12
The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
Level Contributor
13,619 posts
331 reviews
2. Re: Short San Ignacio trip - itinerary and questions

I think you're missing out on a lot by not doing the ATM cave trip; you'd get to see some of the territory, hike a bit in the jungle, and then cave is awesome - great adventure and 1000 year old pots and skeletons. Where else can you do that?! I'd do that your full day, then visit Xunantunich and the zoo on day 3.

Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
266 posts
6 reviews
3. Re: Short San Ignacio trip - itinerary and questions

100% agree with hopefulist. ATM is truly a unique experience. I think that you are definitely missing out if you don't make this a priority.

chicago
Level Contributor
347 posts
69 reviews
4. Re: Short San Ignacio trip - itinerary and questions

Make that 3 that recommend not missing the ATM. Truly a remarkable experience that likely you cannot do anywhere else. I did rent a car and did not find driving that difficult. Most importantly, pay attention to the "sleeping policemen" - the speed bumps that are on the road. Designate your passenger in teh front seat to help you keep an eye out for them. I found most to have signs, but not all.

Level Contributor
15 posts
5. Re: Short San Ignacio trip - itinerary and questions

First of all, my advice to you since you only have two days and renting 4x4 kindly read link. You do not have room for any rental trouble. know quite a lot about rental in Belize and believe when I say it is a bit different from renting in the US. If you have any rather questions you are always welcome to email me at askdevjan@gmail.com

https:/…

6. Re: Short San Ignacio trip - itinerary and questions

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