Saturday, 15 December 2007

San Ignacio, Belize

12th-14th December

San Ignacio isn't a pretty town but it lies beautifully nestled at the confluence of two rivers in the western hills of Belize. It is easy to get to by bus from Belize City, the journey taking about 5 hours. If you arrive and hang out in the central park you'll quickly meet many of the local tour guide operators. There is quite a bit of budget accommodation along the main thoroughfare and a side street right in the centre of town. We stayed in a cabana set in the lawned campsite of Cosmos Camping and Cabanas on the outskirts of town and right by the Macal River. We opted for a 1km walk to get into the centre for peace and quiet at night and a rural setting near to the river. Basically, we wanted to get away from the main east-west road runs right through the centre of the town so it gets clogged up with traffic during most of the day. There were no other people staying while we were there, which could have made the place a bit desolate but the tranquility made up for feeling a little out on a limb. We'd often see the extremely friendly owner on our way into town because his house was on the roadside. He offers freshly squeezed orange juice if he sees you pass by, which is worth taking him up on.

The main highlights of a trip to San Ignacio include:

Going on a tour. We kayaked 14km down the River Macal, passing between forested hills, cruising over rapids and picnicking on a sand bank. We booked with a guy called D'Alessandro who was one of the guides who picked up on us in the central park. We chose him purely because he was friendly and not pushy. The kayak tripped consisted of D'Alessandro and his brother driving us 14km up the river, winding through beautiful farmland, where they put the kayak in the water and asked us to drop it off in San Ignacio just after the bridge before sunset. That was it.

Macal River

Macal Mirror Pelvis

Eating at the South Indian Restaurant! Belizean food is much of a muchness so to find an Indian restaurant run by a guy from Kerala was a godsend.

Meeting the many very friendly, laid-back people of Belize.

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