Our room at Martha's Guesthouse in Cayo.
San Ignacio, in Belize's western Cayo
District, is a the place to stay for your land-based activities. The town, referred to by locals only as Cayo, is built along the shore of the Macal River. Directly across the Macal, on the opposite shore, is the town of Santa Elena. There are many nice guest houses, motels, and hostels located throughout town, as well as restaurants, internet cafes, souvenire shops, and tour guide offices. It is from Cayo that one can explore several of the nearby Maya ruins such as Xunantunich, Caracol, El Pilar, and Cahal Pech. Along that same line, there are caves which house many Maya ceremonial sites, vessels, and skeletal remains. I highly recommend visiting Aktun Tunichil Muknal, commonly referred to as the ATM cave.
Martha always hooked us up when I was Peace Corps. Each of the 3 times my parents visited me in Belize, we came to Cayo and stayed here.
In Maya this translates to Cave of the Stone Sepulchur and it has been featured in National Geographic Adventure magazine. ATM is a no-brainer must see attraction near Cayo. Hike through the jungle to the mouth of the cave, swim through the creek to gain entrance, hike in ankle to waist deep water for .3 miles into the cave and climb onto a ledge where you will behold a huge cavern fully adorned with active flowstone, and alters, vessels, and 14 Maya skeletons. No doubt the history of this place will give you a chill.
Martha's Guesthouse in Cayo is where I've traditionally stayed every time my parents came to visit me in Belize, so we stayed there again for old time's sake, and because it's a great place. Martha always hooked us up anyway. The Guesthouse features private or shared bathrooms, balconies, fans or aircon, tv, a small library, and a restaurant. You can book activities through Martha as well.
I recommend though, to walk down the street to Eva's Restaurant & Bar where you can find good food, cheap beer, other travelers, internet services, and a great place to book tours. Activities besides those already mentioned include canoeing the Mopan River, tubing or canoeing other Maya caves, butterfly farms, and medicinal trails.
We used Cayo as our base as we visited Caracol again, as well as a side trip to Mountain Pine Ridge
and the Rio On.