Cayo District

Cayo is the hub of adventure paradise, where the list of things to do and places to explore is endless.  Hike or horse ride through the jungle, canoe down the Macal river, or float on an inner tube through the largest cave network in Central America.  Explore a range of magnificent Mayan sites, hang with the locals at the weekly farmers’ market, or just luxuriate in one of a number of pristine jungle lodges.

Mayan Sites are plentiful with the most impressive being Caracol and Xunantunich. Caracol is the most spectacular in all of Belize and was one of the most powerful cities in the entire Mayan world, stretching over 70 sq miles, set in rich jungle terrain in the Mountain Pine Ridge. Xunantunich is reached by a hand-cranked ferry across the Mopan river off the Benque road. Whilst the site is far smaller in comparison, the complex of temples and plazas are no less impressive, with the dominant El Castillo central shrine rising to 130ft.

Belize-cayo-district-Barton-Creek-CavesCayo boasts the largest cave network in all of Central America. A popular way to explore is by gently floating down the current on inner tubes, admiring the mineral deposits, stalactites and ancient Mayan inscriptions as you go. For a more enduring but breathtaking experience, visit the ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal) Caves, where you swim, crawl and scramble through multiple dark caverns, discovering Mayan artifacts, drawings and even skeletons from rituals over 1,000 years old.

Over sixty per cent of the Cayo district is national park, the largest being Mountian Pine Ridge Reserve, at around 130,000 acres. Based on the lower slopes of the Maya Mountains, the transition from tropical rain forest to pine forest is dramatic. With plenty of waterfalls, caves, rivers and pools, there is certainly more than a day’s worth of terrain to explore.

Some of the finest and most famous jungle lodges are in Cayo – sip on a cocktail after a day trip around Mountain Pine Ride at Blancaneaux,Francis Ford Coppolla’s resort, canoe in the morning and indulge in ‘the body coma’ massage in the afternoon at The Lodge at Chaa Creek, or enjoy some of the finest dining in all of Belize at award winning Ka’ana boutique resort.

Belize-cayo-district-Local-fruit-stallThe hub of the district is San Ignacio town, which is an excellent base for exploring Cayo. With a true Belizean vibe, colorful wooden buildings, fun local eateries and the largest weekly market in all of Belize, it is well worth a visit.