Day trips and scenic picsGoing on tours of ruins, caving, tubing, can all be exhausting. Here are some great things to do that are much more relaxed. You can stroll though one of the greatest botanical gardens anywhere, or play some disk golf. Most things are pretty easy to get to, the ones that aren't rides can be arranged, so they still wind up being easy to get to.
Jump To Botanic Gardens, Horse Back Riding, Disk Golf & Butterflies, or Camping
The mission of Belize Botanic Gardens is to protect the floral biodiversity of Belize by existing as an information resource for the community, government, industry and science and to be a place of beauty for all visitors to enjoy.
Belize Botanic Gardens is 10 miles from San Ignacio in the Cayo District of Western Belize. To drive there, go west from San Ignacio (towards the Guatemala border). Five miles from San Ignacio, look for a sign that says Belize Botanic Gardens (opposite a giant white house). Turn left at the sign onto a dirt road. After you get on the dirt road, just follow any signs for duPlooy's and Belize Botanic Gardens for about five miles. There aren't many turn offs, so you shouldn't have any trouble. You can also get a taxi from San Ignacio for between $40-80bz, depending on the driver. Set the fare before you go. Or call to book their daily shuttle. The shuttle is $38bz per person and includes the self-guided tour booklet and entrance. The shuttle should leave San Ignacio Monday to Saturday at 8am. Call to confirm times and rates. (501) 824-3101
Mountain Equestrian Trails is a Jungle Lodge in Pine Ridge that specializes in horseback riding around the area. They have been touted as some of the best horseback riding in the country. They offer a wide variety of rides, ranging from half-day to full-day. Some of the trips include swimming, others include a variety of Maya ruins. You'll see amazing wild life and Pine ridge in and of itself is spectacularly beautiful. Horseback riding really is one of the best ways to see the country.
Some of Mountain Equestrian Trails' rides are...
River Cave Ride (Full day)You will ride to the underground river cave, passing through open farmlands and viewing primitive farming techniques of indigenous people, learning much about their culture. You will travel into a beautiful river valley lost in time, chalked full of huge mango, avocado, and citrus trees where you'll then board small canoes and venture about a mile into the cave.
Waterfalls Ride (Full Day)This full day ride will take you to the Big Rock Waterfalls. A leisurely picnic lunch and swimming are on the agenda for a couple of hours. You'll ride through vibrantly rich tropical forests. Some areas of the trail are better suited for walking, and others perfect for an exhilarating canter through the woods. Return via a different route.
Pacbitun (Half-Day)Located very close to Mountain Equestrian Trails are the ruins of the ancient city centre of Pacbitun. At one time, the grounds of Mountain Equestrian Trails were a part of this city which also extended into the village of San Antonio about 5 miles away. This is a half-day ride or can be combined with exploration of a pottery-strewn underground Mayan ceremonial cavern for a full day horseback ride.
Xunantunich in the distance. Relax in the dining area with a cold drink or a meal.
When one comes to Central America, it's doubtful they are searching for disk golf, but you never know. This course is just great. It's nine holes that take you through the jungle and over Mayan temples. It's a hike, a game and a tour all at once. They have the disks, proper disk golf disks. It's also at the same place as the butterfly farm, so if someone doesn't want to play, let them look at the butterflies. It cost about 6bz per person, and you can play all day.
Getting ThereTake the bus to Benque from the bus station and tell the driver to let you off at Trek Stop. It should be 1-1.5bz for the ride.
Barton Creek is an interesting little spot. It used to be a big tourist destination because of Barton Creek Cave, but over the past several years tour guides and companies have been sending people else where. This has more or less left the Barton Creek area something of a lost treasure. It's a magical place where, if they existed, unicorns would roam. It's full of lush jungle, rivers, monkeys, and Mennonites.
The best way to see the area is spending a few days there. The best place to sleep during those few days is the Barton Creek Outpost. The Barton Creek Outpost has free camping if you have your own gear and they rent it if you don't. If you are interested in something a little less outdoorsy send them a message and something can usually be worked out.
In addition to offering a place to stay, the folks at the Outpost can help you book trips and tours to explore the area. You can do anything from horseback riding to canoeing, to exploring caves to wandering around Maya ruins. It really is a neat place.
There's one last thing to keep in mind when you are heading out to Barton Creek, and that's the fact that there are no stores or anything of the sort. Everything is brought in from in town, which is around 10 miles away. The Barton Creek Outpost doesn't let guests use their kitchen, so you either bring in food and BBQ, or you eat at with them. But don't worry there really are worse things that could happen. The lady making the food is an amazing cook. Never has a single word of unhappiness be uttered about the delights that she prepares. It's good stuff.
It's located in town along the dirt road out towards the Hammock Bridge. Here, you'll enjoy river access, Internet, and showers. Cabins are $40bz/per night and camping is $10bz/per person. RV hook-ups available as well. Call 824-2116 or 669-0153 for more information.
If you're looking for something a little more off the path you'll definitely want to check out this place. It's a little outside San Ignacio Belize on the Hummingbird Highway (about 90min from San Ignacio). It's got hiking, camping, swimming holes and oh so much more.
The place is a total of 100 acres, 90 of which has been kept untouched. The folks running Hummingbird Haven are all about being Eco-friendly, and not in the fake way that has become all too common place as of late. They have bio-digesting toilets, solar power, an organic garden, compost pile and any thing else that they have thought of to keep their place as close to natural as possible.
Your options are dorms for 20bz a night, camping for 10bz a night (they also rent gear), or you can stay in a semi-private family (one double and two single beds) room for 60bz a night. All guests have access to the kitchen and there's even hot water in the bath house.