San Ig­na­cio, Belize

DRIFT Travel magazine - - Inside This Issue - BY: JULIE LEVENTHAL

Sa­vory bites and neon lights.

Belize, for­merly Bri­tish Hon­duras, gained its in­de­pen­dence from the United King­dom in 1981 and boasts a small pop­u­la­tion of ap­prox­i­mately 350,000. Vis­it­ing Belize is eas­ier than ever now, with more air­lines from Los An­ge­les, Den­ver, At­lanta, Hous­ton and Ne­wark, of­fer­ing di­rect flights to Belize City. As you drive west from Belize City air­port you will see cat­tle ranches, or­ange or­chards lin­ing the roads, fields of sug­ar­cane and pa­paya and av­o­cado trees. The cap­i­tal city, Bel­mopan is about one hour from Belize City air­port but many trav­el­ers con­tinue straight to San Ig­na­cio.


The San Ig­na­cio Re­sort Ho­tel is a premier desti­na­tion to ex­pe­ri­ence all of Belize’s ac­tiv­i­ties on your fam­ily bucket list and just steps away from San Ig­na­cio Town. The prop­erty is cen­trally lo­cated for ad­ven­ture tours to nearby ar­chae­o­log­i­cal parks, caves and na­ture re­serves. The ho­tel boasts views of the rain for­est and wildlife from each of its 26 rooms. The Re­gal Rooms, Fam­ily Room and Royal Suite of­fer enough space for a fam­ily of three to six and kids un­der 11 are al­ways free.

Fam­ily es­tab­lished and owned, San Ig­na­cio Re­sort Ho­tel goes the ex­tra mile for its guests and pro­vides a has­sle-free va­ca­tion for fam­i­lies by or­ga­niz­ing an ar­ray of ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren of all ages. Kids love the large swim­ming pool and the whole fam­ily can en­joy the Medic­i­nal Trails and its award-win­ning Green Iguana Con­ser­va­tion Project. Lo­cated on-site, the Green Iguana Con­ser­va­tion Project, is an in­ter­ac­tive ex­hibit that ed­u­cates guests on the life of Green Igua­nas and al­lows for an up close and per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with the rep­tile. We met Os­car and Stargazer, along with other igua­nas, some as large as six feet and got to see the way Nigel has taken care of them in the sanc­tu­ary. This self-sus­tained project, which be­gan in 1996, al­lows guests to par­tic­i­pate in their “Adopt an Iguana Pro­gram” and the “Iguana Kids Club”, two pro­grams aimed at fos­ter­ing re­la­tion­ships be­tween the species and vis­i­tors.

Guests look­ing to learn more about Belize’s fo­liage and how it plays a role in the ecosys­tem, can do so on the tour of medic­i­nal plants and herbs found within the re­sort’s 17-acre pri­vate es­tate. The guided tour took us on hik­ing trails through the lush trop­i­cal rain for­est for a hands-on ed­u­ca­tional

tour of nat­u­ral reme­dies that were used by the Mayan com­mu­nity to heal nu­mer­ous ill­nesses. We learned how oregano can cure an earache and the plants and tree bark that you can use in your tea to pre­vent nau­sea and men­strual cramps or im­prove male im­po­tency.

On site bird watch­ing was an­other one of our fa­vorite ameni­ties of­fered by San Ig­na­cio Re­sort Ho­tel. It in­cluded an ex­pe­ri­enced guided walk that took us through the jun­gle in the early morn­ing to en­joy the sights and sounds of San Ig­na­cio’s feath­ery friends. But watch out for tou­cans and other ex­otic birds that soar through the jun­gle spread­ing their color­ful wings. Some got close enough to snap a photo while other would just join you on a nearby branch as you sit and en­joy your morn­ing cof­fee on the pa­tio over­look­ing the jun­gle.


Lunch at Benny’s with spe­cial­ties such as Cow Foot Soup and Pi­bil (pork meat cooked un­der­ground served with vegetable sauce and corn tor­tillas).

Run­ning W Steak­house & Res­tau­rant in­side the San Ig­na­cio Re­sort Ho­tel in­cludes great cuts such as the black An­gus rib eye or the 21-day aged NY strip. You can also try the Le­banese sam­ple plat­ter of lamb ke­bab, veg­eta­bles, pita bread and the fam­i­lies own hum­mus recipe. If you are lucky enough to be there on a Wed­nes­day when Trey is host­ing Steak Your Claim Night, he will grill ev­ery­thing right on the deck in front of you us­ing his own sauces and tech­niques.

At Ko-ox Han-nah the lamb chops with co­conut rice and the cur­ries are high­lights! Make sure to fin­ish with ice cream from Molly’s Ice Cream Shoppe next door to Crave.

Live mu­sic can be en­joyed on the pa­tio of Run­ning W Steak House. Lo­cal singers and bands will ser­e­nade you as you en­joy a rain for­est cock­tail (se­cret recipe) or pur­ple par­rot (Blue Cu­ra­cao, vodka, pineap­ple and grena­dine) poured by Keith at the bar.


Hike up to Xu­nan­tinich Mayan Ru­ins imag­in­ing what life was like in Mayan Times or lis­ten to San Ig­na­cio Re­sort Ho­tel’s ex­pert tour guide Cruz as he ed­u­cates you on Mayan cul­tures and tra­di­tions. From the top of the tallest ruin you can see all the way to Gu­atemala. On a hot day re­mem­ber to wear a hat and bring wa­ter, this is a steep one.

The name Xu­nan­tu­nich de­rives from the Yu­catec Maya lan­guage and means “Stone Woman.”

Xu­nan­tu­nich was first ex­plored in the 1800’s by Dr. Thomas Gann a Bri­tish med­i­cal of­fi­cer. The first recorded pho­to­graph of the site was taken in 1904 and dis­played in the Pe­abody Mu­seum of Ar­chae­ol­ogy, in Cam­bridge, Massachusetts, for many years.


Head over to Hanna Sta­bles for a horse­back ride with San­ti­ago and his team along the Mopan River Val­ley. Ex­plore the jun­gle on horse­back pass­ing through cat­tle farms and wide open trails along the river. You may

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