Getting There & Departing
By Plane -- Once a simple jungle airstrip, San Ignacio now has developed something more like a proper airport (CYD) in recent years, though it’s not terribly close to town. Two flights head here from Belize City every day at 11:45am and 2:45pm for BZ$166.50 per passenger. Three flights leave from San Pedro daily flights for BZ$310 at 8am, 11am, and 2pm, those these have layovers. That being said: the drive is easy and not long, so most will choose a car over a plane.
By Car -- Take the George Price Highway from Belize City. It’s a straight shot all the way to San Ignacio, with plenty of “sleeping policemen” or speed bumps along the way. You’ll come to the small town of Santa Elena first. Across the Macal River lies San Ignacio. Both cities have big colorful signs indicating which town you’re in. If you’re heading to San Ignacio and points west, a well-marked detour will lead you through the town of Santa Elena to a Balley bridge that enters San Ignacio toward the north end of town. The more prominent and impressive Hawksworth Bridge is solely for traffic heading east out of San Ignacio toward Santa Elena, Belmopan, and Belize City.
By Bus -- San Ignacio has very frequent bus service from Belize City. Buses to San Ignacio leave roughly every half-hour from the main bus station on West Collet Canal Street between 5am and 9:30pm. Return buses to Belize City leave the main bus station in San Ignacio roughly every half-hour between 4am and 6pm. The fare is BZ$10. The trip takes 2 1/2 hours. Most of the western-bound buses continue on beyond San Ignacio to Benque Viejo and the Guatemalan border.
The downtown center of San Ignacio is quite compact and easily navigated by foot. If you want to visit any of the major attractions listed below, you'll probably have to find transportation. Frequent buses will take you to the entrances to most of the hotels listed below on Benque Viejo Road, as well as within walking distance of the Xunantunich ruins. Infrequent buses (ask around town or at the bus station; tel. 824-3360) do service the Mountain Pine Ridge area. However, if you don't have your own vehicle, you will probably need to take some taxis or go on organized tours.
As in the rest of Belize, roads are minimal, and almost everything can be found on or just off the Western Highway, or the road through Mountain Pine Ridge. Numerous buses ply the main road between Belmopan and San Ignacio, continuing on to the border town of Benque Viejo del Carmen. If you want to drive yourself, particularly anywhere off the main highway, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended.
You can rent a car from Cayo Rentals (tel. 824-2222; www.cayoautorentals.com) or Matus Car Rental (tel. 824-2005; www.matuscarrental.com). A small four-wheel-drive vehicle here should run you around BZ$150-BZ$200 (US$75-US$100/£40-£53) per day.
If you need a cab, call the Cayo Taxi Association (tel. 824-2196) or San Ignacio Taxi Stand (tel. 824-2155). Taxi fares around the Cayo District should run you as follows: BZ$6 (US$3/£1.60) around town, BZ$18 (US$9/£4.75) between San Ignacio and Bullet Tree Falls, and BZ$55 (US$23/£12) between San Ignacio and Chaa Creek or duPlooy's. Collective taxis run regularly between downtown San Ignacio and the border at Benque Viejo; the fare is BZ$6 (US$3.20) per person. If you are in San Ignacio, taxis, with their green license plates, can be found at the end of the walking street Burns Ave. in front of Courts furniture store. Negotiating on price is expected.
San Ignacio is on the banks of the Macal River, on the western side of an old metal bridge across from its sister city of Santa Elena. Across the single-lane Hawksworth Bridge is a traffic circle and a Shell gas station. Downtown San Ignacio is to the north on Burns Avenue, and the San Ignacio Hotel is located south up a steep hill on Buena Vista Road. Most of the hotels and restaurants in town are on or within a block of Burns Avenue. The road to Benque Viejo del Carmen, Xunantunich ruins, and the Guatemalan border branches off Buena Vista Road. This is actually a continuation of the George Price Highway.
Fast Facts -- There are several banks located right in the heart of downtown San Ignacio: Atlantic Bank, at Burns Avenue and Columbus Park (tel. 824-2347); Scotiabank, at Burns Avenue and Riverside Street (tel. 824-4190); and Belize Bank, 16 Burns Ave. (tel. 824-2031).
To reach the police, dial tel. 911 or 824-2022; for the fire department, dial tel. 824-2095. The San Ignacio Hospital is located on Simpson Street, on the western side of town (tel. 824-2066). The post office (tel. 824-2049) is located on Hudson Street, near the corner of Waight's Avenue.
If you need eyeglass repair or help, head to the Hoy Eye Center, 4 Far West St. (tel. 824-4101). The succinctly named The Pharmacy (tel. 824-2510) is located on West Street. If you need laundry done and your hotel doesn't offer the service or charges too much, you can drop off your dirty clothes at Rainforest Haven Inn, 2 Victoria St. (tel. 674-1984), for same-day service at about BZ$12 per load.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.