Xunantunich Maya Ruins (spend 1½ hours)
Go west along the Western Highway through San Ignacio and onward toward the Guatemalan Border. About 8 miles out of San Ignacio you meet the river on your right hand side in the village of San Jose Succotz. Take the hand-crank ferry across the river by the Maya gift stalls, and follow the road up the hill to the car park. There’s quite a steep climb to the entrance, but you can ask for the barrier to be lifted so you can drop passengers at the top of the hill if necessary. Entrance is around $15BZ
Botanical Gardens (spend 1 to 2 hours)
Once you’re back on the highway, retrace your route toward San Ignacio for about 3 miles. Look for a sign that says Belize Botanic Gardens (next to a huge white house) Turn right onto a dirt road for around 5 miles following signs for duPlooy's and/or Belize Botanic Gardens. The gardens are open 7am to 5pm. Guided tours are available 7:30am to 3:00pm at $7.50US per person or self-guided entrance is $5.00US.
Green Iguana Project (spend 1½ hours with drinks)
Located within the San Ignacio Hotel. Once back on the highway, retrace your route to San Ignacio. Stay on the ‘top road’ (i.e. do not take any left hand turns) and you will eventually reach the San Ignacio Hotel on your right, just before the road takes a very steep drop into town. Order a beer and get your tickets at the front desk at least 10 minutes before the tour starts: a species-conservation project for the San Ignacio river area. The tours run every hour on the hour, approx. $10US per person.
Orange Gifts (spend 30 minutes)
Of course you will want souvenirs. Orange have a lot of unusual wood crafts many of which are made on the premises, plus jewellery, paintings and pottery. There’s a bar and restaurant attached. They are on the Highway close to Hot Mamas (below). It’s well signed and painted bright orange - you can’t miss it.
The Botanical Gardens has a restaurant at the duPlooys Resort. The San Ignacio Hotel has an excellent restaurant, and San Ignacio Town has many good restaurants, especially Guava Limb and Hanna’s San Jose Succotz has several bars and hole-in-the-wall eateries if you are on a budget. There are only soft drinks available at the ruins. Orange Gift’s outdoor restaurant is very pleasant and the food is great.
8:30 leave Roaring Creek 9:35 Arrive Xunantunich
11:15 Leave Xunantunich 11:45 Arrive Botanical Gardens
11:45 to 2:30pm tour of botanical gardens and lunch at duPlooys
2:30pm leave Duploys. 2:50pm Arrive San Ignacio Hotel
3:00 to 4:00pm Iguana Tour & refreshments
4:30 Leave San Ignacio 4:50 Arrive Orange Gifts
5:20 Head back to Roaring Creek - back by around 5:45 in plenty of time for dinner
Hot Mama’s Pepper Sauce Tour at Pepperland. About 20 minutes from Rock Farm along the highway, just after Orange Gallery (see above). This tours only run at 10am and 4pm so it rather breaks up the morning. We haven’t done it ourselves, and none of our guests so far have been as it doesn’t fit with the itinerary. Let us know if you try it!
Cahal Pech Maya Site is at the top of the hill above the San Ignacio Hotel. It’s less structured than Xuantunich, but the views of the town from the hill are fabulous.
El Pilar Maya Site In the picturesque village of Bullet Tree Falls, to the west of San Ignacio. El Pilar was declared an official archeological site in 1997, covering 9 square kilometers (3 and 1/4 square miles) of rainforest with five trail systems, It’s a fabulous nature reserve with riverside walks and first-class bird watching.