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Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?

Salmon Arm, Canada
Level Contributor
78 posts
29 reviews
Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?

Hi everyone,

My husband and I are arriving, from Canada, on Thurs. Jan. 11 at 4.30pm. We were thinking of travelling over to Caye Caulker, when we arrive, but found out the last water taxi leaves right after we arrive...therefore that option is out. What about travelling to San Ignacio the first night? What would be the best way to do this, from the airport? What would be a good place to stay? We would like to go to Tikal, also, so it would be on our way to there.

We have two weeks in Belize, and would like to experience some of the quieter cayes. Also to see some of the wildlife. Where would you seasoned travellers head, if you just had two weeks to spend in Belize? We want to snorkel, we love photography, and don`t really care for big cities and "night life" We would also want to see some of the ruins.

We would appreciate any help/advice...thanks!

hawkspirit from Vancouver,BC

Saint Paul Minnesota
12 posts
1. Re: Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?


A place to stay really depends on how much you want to pay. Aguada is nice with a pool, Cassablanca, Martha's. More expensive, Cahal Pech.

On the tikal side, You can take a tour or travel on your own. I would pick the travel on your own. Take the bus to The border, walk across and catch a cab to Tikal. Negotiate -- shouldn't be more than $40 -$45 US dollars. This is the fasted way to get there. (there are some realy slow bus options.) A nice place to stay over night is http://www.lacasadedondavid.com/.

They can also send you on a cheap guided tour from there.

Beautiful BC
4 posts
2. Re: Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?

Hi Hawkspirit,

My wife and I (also from the Vancouver area)are doing a similar trip in Feb. We have rented a car from Crystal at the airport. They allow you to take the car into Guatemala. So we will spend a couple days at Tikal, then drive back to Belize city, and get over to the Cayes earlier on another day. We've never done it before, but it looks good to us. While in the San Ignacio area, we have had several places recommended to us: Clarrisa Falls & Crystal Paradise. We like the look of them both.

new york
Level Contributor
1,872 posts
31 reviews
3. Re: Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?

Catraft, Were you able to get auto insurance in Guatamala? I was under the impression you can bring the vehicle but your not covered, have things changed?

Please post a trip report when you both return would love to hear how things went, as we are still in the planning stages ourselves..

Destination Expert
for Belize, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, San Ignacio
Level Contributor
7,581 posts
13 reviews
4. Re: Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?

Crystal Pauto will allow their vehicles to cross the border, but you are not insured and that can be tricky if you have an accident. But people do it all the time.

Salmon Arm, Canada
Level Contributor
78 posts
29 reviews
5. Re: Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?

Thanks very much everyone for the excellent ideas and advice. We were looking into renting a pickup truck from Crystal. It has a lockable back cap. We`ll be staying outside of Belize City, the first night, and then going over to Caye Caulker - we have #2 room at the Seaside Cabanas, on the beach. Have read on the postings here that it is a nice hotel.

And YES! I`ll post when I get home, about the trip. We took a trip to Coast Rica last Feb., and I did the same there.... It`s such a wonderful forum....

Now, which restaurants are really yummy? We`re not too "high maintenance"...any suggestions?


hawkspirit and her hubby....

Salmon Arm, Canada
Level Contributor
78 posts
29 reviews
6. Re: Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?

I should never write a posting, after working a 12hr. night shift....we were in Costa Rica...sheesh....off to bed.

Vienna, Austria
Level Contributor
9 posts
12 reviews
7. Re: Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?

If you want to experience some quieter cayes then forget Caye Caulker. Try a Caye in Southern Belize, e.g. Tobacco Caye (boat taxi from Dangriga 40 minutes for $17.50). Be sure that you have no argument with your husband - this Island is only 100 x 200 yards - you cannot hide from each other! ;-)

About driving in Belize: the four paved Highways are not so bad but be careful when passing a town - there are a lot of bumps and some of them are not signed out! Traffic is light but be careful in the night - not only the bumps are dangerous, also the bikes with no lights and some drunken drivers (we had some experience in the south).

The accommodations in San Ignacio are highly overpriced (comparing to the other parts of Belize) but you can negotiate. We found the best value for your money around Punta Gorda, e.g. Hickatee Cottages.

When you take the western highway to San Ignacio there is the Cheers restaurant on the left side 2 miles after you passed the Belize Zoo (if you have time enough enjoy this lovely zoo!). In this restaurant you find on the board some very interesting ads about some affordable accommodations in or around San Ignacio!

Maybe you read it already "between the sentences" but I would definitely recommend you to got to the South for enjoying the traditional Maya villages, Maya ruins, the nature and the wildlife!

Finally, if you go to San Ignacio I can highly recommend you to make the tour to Caracol!

Take care,


Salmon Arm, Canada
Level Contributor
78 posts
29 reviews
8. Re: Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?

Thanks rd! Yes, we shall be sailing around the smaller cayes, for 3 or 4 days...and snorkelling the waters. Any recommendations of sail-cruise operators? Other than Tikal, which we shall go to see after we leave the Cayes, which ruins would you recommend that we go to explore? We don`t mind hiking around, with our cameras!


Level Contributor
13 posts
9. Re: Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?

San Ignacio is a good hour and a half ride north of Belize City. If you go there....which you most certainly should...plan on spending a few days. We did a trip to Tikal with a tour company (the best way, I think, the first time around), were fortunate enough to meet a local who gave us a days tour at $50 for both of us through the caverns, waterfalls, mountain resorts, etc.

Here's what we did: We went from the airport to Belize City, took a shuttle to S.I. (actually, that's where we met Steve, who was our best friend the entire time we were there)..spent 3 nights at The Trek Stop (incredibly place, cheap, clean, little cabins in the woods), then we took a local bus back to Belize City, jumped on a water taxi to San Pedro, 3 nights there, then to A.C. for 3 nights, and the last night in Belize City at a nice little place called Hotel Belmar. Belize City is NOT bad. Just watch yourself and your stuff....as with any place.

We wish we spent more time in San Ignacio! The mainland people are laid back, anxious to please.

Have fun!

10. Re: Arriving Belize City - first night in San Ignacio?

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