Cayo District

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This district is often called the Wild West of Belize. It is covered with jungle, woven with rivers and dotted with Maya sites. It’s quite literally a magnet for hikers, bikers, birders, canoeists, kayakers, cavers and archaeologists.

The lush area of San Ignacio is peppered with Maya ruins, ranging from small, tree-covered hills to massive, magnificent temples. Connoisseurs of the pre-Columbian era will have a field day, roaming around unexcavated mounds, crawling into empty tombs and ascending the heights at Cahal Pech, Xunantunich and El Pilar.

The mother of all Belizean Maya sites is Caracol, the mighty empire that is believed to have defeated Tikal. Caracol towers atop the Pine Mountain Ridge, a dense forest that blankets the mountains in southern Cayo. Please beware that getting to this remote site is an adventure in itself as you travel on miles of dirt roads, often lined with ruts from recent rainfall.

The Maya also left traces of their age-old rituals in caves all around the region. There is no adventure more thrilling than climbing, crawling, canoeing, tubing, swimming or scrambling through a dark cavern, only to come across artifacts and skeletons from rituals over 1,000 years old.

Besides its ancient history, Cayo District is teeming with life in the here and now. Wander around the Belize Botanic Gardens or a butterfly house to see it up close and personal, or take your binoculars out into the wild to be amazed by the flora and fauna that flourish there.