Belize Information

San Ignacio Farmer's Market - Market Day!

By Angela Wu 5/18/2018 3 minutes

Market Day at the San Ignacio Farmer’s Market is one of the most anticipated days of the week for local farmers, vendors and visitors. Although the market in San Ignacio is open every day of the week, Saturdays are the locally designated day as “market day.” In just one location, all walks of Belizean life come together to trade and sell their fresh produce or goods.


Considering the variety of faces seen at the San Ignacio market, it is the epitome of the melting pot – a true exhibition of many different cultures residing in Belize. Through this, a variety of fruits, vegetables, snacks and pastries, foods and drinks, and other crafts, household and thrift items are made available to the public.

The location of the market square is quite small; and, on a regular day, the place can be seen barren. On Saturdays, however, stalls and tents are set up at every corner of the space and the walkways are littered with people running their weekly market errands or witnessing our special market for the first time.


What is most astonishing about San Ignacio’s farmer’s market is the array of fresh produce and spices. Ranging from exotic and seasonal Belizean fruits, such as dragon fruit and mango – FYI the 2018 Mango Fest is happening this weekend (May 2-3) – to healthy greens and veggies and locally produced spices. Farmers and vendors take pride in the produce that they are selling; and, each stall is guaranteed to have the freshest fruit or vegetable that you can find.


While many visit the market for the weekly harvests, it is hard to resist some of the mouthwatering foods that are being made at the spot. Pupusas, burritos, tacos, barbeque, panades…boy oh boy, I’m getting hungry already! I can go on and on! And, let’s not forget all the natural juices that you can get too! A favorite is the standard orange juice, but there is also watermelon, horchata, pineapple, coconut water, papaya and soursop.  After shopping around the market, if you’re hungry, you can grab a bite right at the market – how convenient!

Apart from getting your naturally grown, fresh produce and local dishes, you can also find affordable deals on electronics, household items, thrift pieces, and handcrafted art pieces from local Maya artisans and talented painters. Each piece of art is either woven, stitched or painted by hand. You will be guaranteed to get authentic crafts and souvenirs from the market.


For many of us, going to the San Ignacio market is a weekly routine; but, for a lot others, each visit is a new experience that the Belizing Team recommends to undergo. Seeing the melting pot of cultures coming together along with all the fresh fruits and vegetables and other amenities is an adventure in itself. So let’s go Belizing at the San Ignacio Farmer’s Market!

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Destinations
Events
Hopkins Mangu (Mango) Fest In Garifuna, "mango" is known as "mangu." In the village of Hopkins, the soil of the area is rich in nutrients and allows for local farmers to grow a variety ... moreof different mangos. Started in 2013, the Hopkins BTIA Chapter hosts the Hopkins Mangu Fest with the goal of promoting Hopkins Village as an attractive tourist destination that displays a unique and enjoyable cultural and culinary experience. In addition to this, the festival also contributes to an economic boost for local businesses in the area as slow season, or "maga" season, is in effect.

The Hopkins Mangu Fest is an exciting, family-friendly, two day event that celebrates everything mango, ranging from mango-inspired dishes, jams and jellies, candies, and drinks. Usually, there are plenty of competitions and games by the different booths. Although this festival is surrounded on the delicious mango fruits, the Garifuna culture is also greatly promoted through clothing, music, dance and food.
2019 Hopkins Mango Festival The 2019 Hopkins Mango Fest will be a fun festival for the entire family. There will be lots of musical performances, games and prizes! The theme is, of course, mangoes, in which all stalls will feature mango in their food, drinks and arts. Come out and celebrate!
Why you should attend the 2019 Hopkins Mango Festival Not only would you get to taste the sweet nectar of ripe, mature mangoes, you will be able to experience the Garifuna Culture and enjoy quality family time with all the exciting games and activities. Attending this festival will be feasible if you are staying in nearby villages and town. Hopkins is just a short thirty-minute drive from Dangriga and an hour away from Placencia.
Entrance Fee:
Free
Venue:
Holy Family Catholic Church Beach and Grounds
Address:
South Road, Hopkins Village, Stann Creek, Belize
Start Date:
Monday, 8 Jun, 2020Annually
District:
Stann Creek
Tours/Activities
$
97
-
$
115
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Xunantunich: Getting There: The adventure begins at 8:00 AM on a mere 10 – 15 minutes’ drive onto the village of San Jose Succotz. Here you will cross the Mopan River via an old-fashioned ... morehand-cranked ferry and onto the site's parking lot.

At Xunantunich: Upon arrival at the site, you’ll be amazed at how impressive the Temple of El Castillo (the main temple) actually is at a remarkable 120 feet in height. Pay close attention to the history of this once royal center of ancient civilization as your guide walks you through the site. Feel free to climb to the top of El Castillo if you’re not afraid of heights. There you’ll have a jaw-dropping panoramic view of the surroundings which encompasses part of Guatemala, Benque Viejo Town, and San Jose Succotz among other areas.

Be careful coming down from the pyramid as you make your way over to the ancient ball court. Imagine the excitement happening in real time as your guide paints a vivid picture of how the popular Mayan game of Pokatok was played. On-site you may get to see spider monkeys and, depending on the time of the year, even howler monkeys. An on-site museum will give you an overall idea of this ancient city’s actual size.

Big Rock Falls:

Starts: 1:00PM Ends: 5:00PM 

Getting There: After Xunantunich, you'll make your way onto the Mountain Pine Ridge road en route to Big Rock Falls. The drive is about 45 minutes on a partially paved road, the farther section of which is dirt.

Along the way, you’ll pass the villages of Cristo Rey and San Antonio. These are small settlements of mostly farmers along the Macal River. Along the way, your guide would normally point out to local flora and fauna such as Toucans, Roadside Hawks, Iguanas, and Medicinal Plants and trees.

At the site: The parking lot approximately 5 to 8 minutes’ walk from the waterfall so you'll want to take everything you’ll need with you for an enjoyable time at the waterfall. From the parking lot, you’ll be walking through a little trail which leads to quite a steep climb down to the river valley. Flip flops are not advisable for this part of the trek. Once you’ve made your way carefully down that cliff, the delightful view of water rushing over the huge 150-ft rock formations and plummeting into the deep rounded pool at its base provides a rush of excitement. 

You won’t regret visiting this site for a nice cold swim amidst the scorching Belizean heat. You may choose to swim all the way up to the waterfall but try to contain the temptation to climb up any of the wet rocks, or do so at your own risk, they tend to get very slippery. Your guide will allow you ample time to swim or bask at your own leisure until you're ready to head back to San Ignacio Town.
$
83
-
$
95
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Getting There:  Tour departs San Ignacio Town at 8:00 AM. You'll embark on our journey out of San Ignacio on a 1 hour & 15 minutes’ drive along the George Price Highway (paved ... moreroad) until arriving at the junction of the Jaguar Paw Cave Tubing outpost. The site’s parking lot is another 10 minutes or so on from the paved road.

At the site: 
Make use of the expansive restroom complex to change into your swimwear. Your guide then walks you over to the tube racks where you’ll pick a tube of your choice. You will be provided with life jackets, helmets, and headlamps.

Geared up, you will embark on a 45 minutes’ hike across the clear green Caves Branch River. A rope at the crossing keeps you from straying. The water is waist-deep, normally. After the river crossing, you'll hike a jungle trail heading upstream. Your guide will point out interesting aspects of the local flora & fauna as you trek through – a perfect time to take out your cameras (preferably waterproof).

After a briefing on the proper safety techniques, you'll set afloat through a series of caverns which periodically open up to the sunshine & jungle. Your guide will occasionally point out various Maya artifacts within the crevices of the caves. Depending on time availability, he may allow you to disembark your tube & walk up for a closer look into hidden chambers of the cave which are normally not explored by many other companies or cruise ship passengers due to time constraints. 

Departure: 
After Lunch, you'll walk back to the parking lot where you'll board the vehicle and head back to San Ignacio via the George Price Highway, arriving around 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
$
121
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Provider:
Actun Tunichil Muknal or simple ATM is one of the most popular Mayan burial sites in Belize. The cave contains four skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware left by the Maya. The most famous ... moreskeleton is that of a young girl, the bones of which have been completely covered by the natural processes of the cave, leaving them with a sparkling appearance. The cave itself is several kilometers long with several chambers. Once inside the cave, you will spend several hours swimming, climbing, and be exploring. 

The hike from the starting point to the cave entrance includes three stream crossings and passes through the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. The hike through the lower portion of the cave is approximately 45 minutes in duration. Once through the inner chambers, you will ascend to the upper chambers, and to do this you will be required to take off your shoes and explore in only your socks to prevent damage to the artifacts. This adventure is challenging and a good level of physical fitness is required. The ability to swim is a plus as you will need to cross deep water to enter the cave and will be wading through water several times both inside and outside the caves. 

At the furthest end of the upper chambers, you will encounter the “crystal maiden”. Cameras are not allowed in the cave for conservation purposes.
$
93
50
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Provider:
20 minutes drive from San Ignacio Town will take you to Xunantunich Mayan Ruins Meaning “Maiden of the Rock” which is located on the Western Highway across the river. The ceremonial ... morecenter is only 1 mile away after crossing the ferry on the Mopan River at San Jose Succutz. 

This Classic Period site provides an impressive view of the entire river valley. The site core occupies only 300 square meters but the periphery covers several square kilometers. El Castillo, the partially excavated and largest pyramid rises 130 feet above the main plaza and offers an impressive view of the Cayo District and nearby Guatemala.
$
5
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
The Tropical Wings Center Offers An eco-center featuring interactive exhibits about ecology, biodiversity, birds, bats, ants, plants, the Ancient Maya, and more. Fun and educational, ... moreit’s not just for kids!

A screened and landscaped 42’x60’x21’ butterfly house, spotlighting a wide variety of free-flying butterflies native to Belize.

An outdoor rearing area where butterflies are raised from eggs to pupae.

Landscaped gardens with flowers, feeders, and birdbaths to attract hummingbirds and other birds of Belize.

A medicinal plant garden featuring natural remedies used by the villagers. Nature trails for leisurely hikes. Videos about butterflies and other insects, birds, the Maya, and Belize.

A restaurant serving refreshments, meals and sandwiches or snacks. A gift shop featuring Belizean hand-crafted items, books on tropical nature and nature-related toys for kids.

Ecologically – sound lodging — The Trek Stop — with budget-priced cabins, tent rentals, and tent sites for camping.

We’re open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $10.00Bz for adults & $6.00Bz for children 12 & under
$
8
50
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Provider:
Sak-Tunich Maya site was constructed by a family of Yucatec descent. It includes Plaza A & B, a ceremonial room, a collection of artifacts, and underground entrance. ... more

At the site, you will also learn about the Safe the Royal Project.

This is a breeding program for the "Royal Rat" or Gibnut. The name "Royal Rat" was given to it after Queen Elizabeth II was served Gibnut meat during her 1985 visit. Gibnut meat is a local delicacy in Belize. 

We also have the 100ft tower at the site. At the top of the tower, you are greeted by panoramic views of mountains, jungle and small towns in every direction. The view is truly breathtaking especially for watching sunsets or stargazing.
$
120
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
This is a waterfall lover's dream! There are 3 waterfalls on this trip: The unnamed waterfalls, Rio Frio waterfall and the Twin waterfalls. These beautiful waterfalls are located up ... morein the Vaca Reserve which is about 8.5 miles on the Hydro Road which is about one hour drive from downtown San Ignacio. This is my favorite place in Belize!!

From the time you get on the pontoon boat on your way to the waterfalls, you will be engulfed by the beautiful scenery of the river gorge. While enjoying the scenery we travel slowly on the river bank trying to find some wildlife. Some days we see a lot, some days we don’t see anything. Hence the reason I do not guarantee wildlife but the great adventure, scenery and the waterfalls will always be there. However, you will see images of the wildlife we encounter on the trip many times, however, the wildlife is not guaranteed as it is not a zoo.

You can get to the location where the pontoon boat is waiting for us in two ways. One, you drive all the way down to the river bank. Two, you can hike the recently built trails that pass through the jungle while learning about some the traditional edible and healing plants that were used and still used by the Mayas.
$
150
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
ATM Cave was first explored in 1989 and National Geographic produced a documentary about ATM Cave in 1992 called Journey Through the Underworld. ... more

Actun Tunichil Muknal is one of the most impressive Maya ceremonial caves containing bloodletting altars used in sacrifices and over 1400 artifacts as well as human skeletal remains.
$
265
-
$
295
/ Person
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Belize Black Hole Drop is an adrenaline-filled adventure, where you rappel from over 300 feet high above at the edge of Actun Loch Tunich Cave. The roof claps thousands of years ago ... morecreating a sinkhole that overlooks the jungle canopy deep in the Belize rainforest.

Trek through lush jungle trails to the top of the sinkhole overlooking the rainforest canopy. After gearing up in your harness and attached to ropes and pulleys, you rappel down from the edge of the sinkhole over 300 high. Go only 100 feet and you will be above the forest canopy growing up from the inside. Another 200 feet takes you down deeper into the darkness of the cave. Make it to the very bottom and feel a sense of relief when you look up to see how high you were.

Belize Black Hole Drop is among the best extreme cave tours in Belize. It is designed for the adventure spirit at heart.
$
225
-
$
265
/ Person
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Take a Day Trip from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to ride ATVs through winding muddy trails in the jungle. Then paddle through the Mayan Underworld exploring Sacred Caves.

Angela Wu

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