The Cayo District is, by far, the most diverse and interesting place in Belize to live – whether you are a retiree, an adventure junkie, an amateur hobbyist, a rootless world traveler, an avid parent, or a kid with energy to burn, there really is “something for everyone” in Cayo. It’s a fun, engaging and interesting place to hang one’s hat. There are no major industries that pollute here, no skyscrapers, no “big box stores.” Traffic can get a little congested on market day around the San Ignacio Farmers’ Market, but a traffic jam in Cayo usually consists of a cow blocking the road.
With a combined population of about 25,000 people, Santa Elena/San Ignacio are large towns by Belize standards. As Belize’s second largest city, San Ignacio is always bustling with activity, as it is a center for commerce and eco-tourism in Belize. Many businesses and banks are based here. Atlantic Bank is located on Burns Avenue along with its international banking arm, Atlantic International Bank Limited; Belize Bank, Heritage Bank Belize, Scotiabank Belize and St. Martin’s Credit Union also form a banking presence in San Ignacio. Convenient ATM machines can be found throughout the town.
San Ignacio has a very buoyant nightlife including the Princess Casino at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. There’s plenty of adventure and attractions in Cayo – outstanding jungle spas, Shaman healers, soccer matches, funky festivals, archeological digs, marching bands, and more. Cayo residents love to march to the beat of a different drummer! It’s also the place that people flock to if there is a hurricane evacuation alert on the coast!
For those with school-age children, there is a good selection of primary and secondary schools in Cayo. Galen University is also located in San Ignacio.
Remember the movie “Curse of the Ixtabi”? No? Well, it was filmed here. There are so many incredible attractions within Cayo’s 2,000 square-mile breadth. 1,000’ Falls that are actually 1600’ Falls. Botanical gardens. Butterfly farms. Cave tubing. Cooking lessons. Farm tours. Horseback riding. Jungle Tours. Mayan midwives and medicine healers. Mayan pyramids. Outdoor art parks. Pottery making. Rainforest ecovillages. Sacred grottoes. Spelunking. Volcanic therapy rocks. World-renowned slate carvers. Yoga ashrams. Ziplining.
Cayo is a great place to raise a family. People are friendly here. You’ll find certain courtesies in place that don’t exist back home – wherever that may be. There are a lot of smiling faces here. And there’s laughter in the air underscoring Belize’s ranking as The 4th Happiest Country on the Planet.
(Bananas on display at the farmer's market in the Cayo District, Belize, pictured.)