Former High School Spanish students rejoice, there is a place where your butchered Spanish and English can live in harmony, San Ignacio Belize.
Belize, independent from Brittan since 1981, national language may be English but tell that to every country around them. In San Ignacio, on the border to Guatemala, locals mix Spanish with English in a way that makes you feel very good at both. Locals appreciate your effort to speak some Spanish and you fit in better by mixing in some less-then-easy to translate English words, win win!
We enjoyed 4 days in this backpackers town and were able to explore the surrounding jungle easily during the day with several options for evening activities. San Ignacio has a good local market, that draws a large crowds on Saturdays, and some of the best street food available from friendly vendors. There are plenty of opportunities to practice your Spanglish in this village.
You have two choices for accommodations in the area; family run (most likely without AC) or Luxury Eco Resorts. Most resorts are in the jungle and San Ignacio town is mostly backpackers with the exception of the swanky San Ignacio Resort Hotel (we splurged for that, after staying on Glover’s Atoll for a week AC was a priority). The San Ignacio Resort Hotel sells day passes for the pool, making this is a great way to escape to luxury and attentive service for an afternoon.
Even if you only make it off Ambergris Caye for 2-3 nights in San Ignacio you will see a completely different Belize.
Things to do from San Ignacio:
- Maximum Adventure Tours: Max is a wealth of knowledge, friendly and hard working. He guides his own Cave Tubing and had a local Guatemalan guide to give a private tour of Tikal. Do yourself a favor and walk past the two most popular hostels and see Max!
- Caracol Mayan Ruins – depending on the rain the road can get really washed out and not very fun to drive or ride down. For that reason we opted for Tikal (farther away and larger ruins with better roads), but I hear Caracol is great too.
- Ice cream in Mennonite Country – we hired max to take us there on our way back to Belize City, it’s like you’ve had been transported to Pennsylvanian Dutch Country, really unexpected experience