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Feedback on San Ignacio Itinerary

Orange County...
Level Contributor
36 posts
10 reviews
Feedback on San Ignacio Itinerary

My partner and I are planning to visit the San Ignacio area for a week in early-to-mid-May 2019, and I've been reading a lot of reviews and forum posts on Tripadvisor. I have now sketched out our itinerary based on what I've read, and I would love to get some feedback from the knowledgeable experts on Tripadvisor. :)

For lodging, we are planning to stay at San Ignacio Resort Hotel because we want to have air-conditioning and to be within walking distance into town so we can try all the different restaurants. (I haven't started planning each meal yet, so any suggestions are welcome!)

For tours/activities, we'd like to do all of the following:

-A day trip to Tikal (preferably with Elias/K'atun Ajaw or K'atun Ahaw);

-A combined tour of Xunantunich and Jaguar Paw Cave Tubing;

-A day at ATM;

-A daytrip to Caracol and the Mountain Pine region, preferably including Rio Frio Cave, Rio on Pools, Big Rock Falls, and Hidden Valley/1000-Foot Falls; and

-A combined tour of Cahal Pech and Barton Creek Cave Canoeing.

Here are some specific questions I'd like feedback on:

1. Am I missing anything spectacular in this region? For example, I've also seen tours to Yaxha, Saint Herman's Cave/Inland Blue Hole, and Black Hole Drop. We do enjoy rappelling down waterfalls, water activities generally, and hiking, but we're not interested in ziplining or riding horses.

2. Is it likely to rain in early-to-mid-May, such that I should plan a "down" day during the week so that we have a free day on which we can reschedule a tour in case we get rained out for an activity?

Thanks in advance for any help/replies!

8 replies to this topic
The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
Level Contributor
13,838 posts
331 reviews
1. Re: Feedback on San Ignacio Itinerary

You might want to play with the order - after Tikal the Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Maya sites won't seem as impressive, although we've enjoyed both. If you don't have lodging booked (or could change it), consider an overnight instead of a day trip to Tikal. It's so amazing to explore the site and the jungle during the cooler evening and early morning hours when wildlife is active and you practically have the place to yourselves. It would very likely be the best wildlife viewing of your trip. That would also give you the opportunity to visit Yaxhá, another amazing site, either going or coming back. I'd consider that combination instead of Caracol, frankly, if you want to balance Maya sites with other things. If you stick with day trips, I wouldn't put Tikal and Caracol one after the other or you'll feel like you're spending the majority of your trip sitting on your back sides - the Caracol day, especially in my experience.

Barton Creek Cave is nice but not thrilling in my opinion, and will likely pale compared to ATM. Cave tubing might, too, though I can't personally compare as we've never chosen to do that. The Black Hole Drop is a fantastic adventure as is the Waterfall Caves Trip at Caves Branch; you'd be able to visit the Inland Blue Hole the same day if you do one of those but probably not have time for St. Herman's Cave, too. The other stops that spring to mind are hiking and exploring in the Botanical Garden at Sweet Songs Lodge (formerly duPlooy's), the Green Iguana Project, and the Belize Zoo. Are you spending time on the water this trip, too?

Re: rain, it's likely to be really hot and humid but May is one of the drier months generally. Climates are changing, so who knows? I generally stay at a jungly place and schedule in a 'down' day for hiking and exploring. I don't think you need to leave a day open in case of rain, but you might want a day when you aren't driving all over the place - that gets old for me.

My photos with blog links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - everything on your list but caving tubing is in there somewhere.

Have a great trip, whatever you decide!

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Yucatan Peninsula...
Destination Expert
for Yucatan Peninsula
Level Contributor
9,600 posts
2. Re: Feedback on San Ignacio Itinerary

Great advice above. Everything mentioned is on my list, and I can add a chocolate tour. Some people recommend the Saturday market, but that isn't an interest for me. If you're looking for more ideas, visit the Cayo Welcome Centre at San Ignacio.

I wouldn't schedule a "down" day because May is typically dry, and when it does rain, we seldom get all-day rain. And you would probably be bored in San Ignacio for a day -- it's not a big town, and not much in the way of indoors activitie (museums, etc.).

The Cincinnati...
Level Contributor
41 posts
26 reviews
3. Re: Feedback on San Ignacio Itinerary

Agree that you could skip Barton Creek Cave if you do ATM. We did both with 3 pre-teens, and they really enjoyed it, but I wouldn't do BCC with just adults.

We also enjoyed the Saturday market, good combo of produce, prepared foods, and crafts.

Orange County...
Level Contributor
36 posts
10 reviews
4. Re: Feedback on San Ignacio Itinerary

Thanks for the helpful feedback! We have since reached out to a few different tour companies and gotten additional information, and our updated draft itinerary is as follows--any additional feedback/tips would still be appreciated:

[To answer hopefulist's question, we are spending our first week scuba diving at Turneffe Island Resort.]

Day 1:

Transfer from BZE

Add-on: Cave tubing at Jaguar Paw

Overnight at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge (IACB)

Day 2:

AM - Black Hole Drop

PM - Walk to Blue Hole/St. Herman's Cave on our own

Overnight at IACB

Day 3:

AM - Waterfall Caves Expedition

PM - Massage

Overnight at IACB

Day 4:

AM - Yaxha

PM - Tikal in evening

Overnight somewhere near Tikal (recommendations would be appreciated)

Day 5:

AM - Tikal at sunrise

PM - Travel to San Ignacio

Overnight at San Ignacio Resort Hotel (SIRH)

Day 6:

AM/PM - ATM

Overnight at SIRH

Day 7:

AM/PM - Caracol, Rio Frio Cave, Rio (H)on Pools, & Big Rock Falls

Overnight at SIRH

Day 8:

One of three options:

-Go back home via BZE

-Spend one more day in San Ignacio either (a) going to Xunantunich and Cahal Pech (maybe add chocolate making) or (b) going to Xunantunich and doing Barton Creek Cave Canoeing

Since we have the flexibility of staying an extra day, I think we will regret going home as opposed to staying to visit Xunantunich and either Cahal Pech or Barton Creek Cave, even though these ruins will be less impressive than Tikal, and Barton Creek Cave is not as exciting as ATM or the adventure tours we're doing at IACB.

Again, any additional feedback would be much appreciated. We haven't booked anything yet, so we can still revise the itinerary, but we're getting close to finalizing a schedule for this land portion of our trip to Belize...

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
Level Contributor
13,838 posts
331 reviews
5. Re: Feedback on San Ignacio Itinerary

Sounds like a great trip - lots of adventure! A few notes:

When we did the Black Hole Drop it was pretty much a full day trip. The walk to the Inland Blue Hole is about a mile each way, I think a bit longer to St. Herman's Cave, not nothing in what is likely to be high heat and humidity in May. The pool would feel great but the walks might be a bit daunting after the BHD. They might be willing to drop you off on the way back to save you one way? Also remember it gets dark by around 6pm.

There are 3 hotels in the park at Tikal; I'd choose between Jungle Lodge and the Tikal Inn (where I stay) since they both have pools. Adding the day is a great idea imho and you could leave it open for now and decide later what sounds like fun. We prefer to do the mainland parts first and end on the water, for what that's worth, but then you have a down day before flying, maybe what you're thinking. Happy trails!

Yucatan Peninsula...
Destination Expert
for Yucatan Peninsula
Level Contributor
9,600 posts
6. Re: Feedback on San Ignacio Itinerary

If you think you would regret not staying the extra day, it sounds like you've just made your decision.

Cahal Pech is easy to get to (we walked from town, and you'll be even closer at SIRH), so you could fit that in whenever you have a spare couple of hours.

Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
269 posts
6 reviews
7. Re: Feedback on San Ignacio Itinerary

Of all the cool stuff we did while in the SI area, canoeing in Barton Creek Cave was at the bottom of the list. It is an OK activity but hardy exciting. Do it if you want but you are not missing much if you do decide to give it a pass

Mogadore, Ohio
Level Contributor
133 posts
46 reviews
8. Re: Feedback on San Ignacio Itinerary

You might consider booking with Hanna Stables to ride horseback along the river and up to Xunatunich. The guide will take you on a guided tour of the ruins before riding back. We had a great time.

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