pupusas belize
Pupusas, the beloved Central American tortilla dish, at Pupuseria Damaris in San Ignacio.

In San Ignacio, Belize, The Art of Adventure (And Pupusas)

By: Alexander Britell - January 31, 2024

The sizzle is calling you. In the early morning, corn tortillas stuffed with cheese and beans and meat sing a particularly strong siren song. 

It could be that perfect blend of dough and heat, or the aroma. It might just be the sound. But there is nothing quite like a freshly-made pupusa. Or two. 

Early morning at the San Ignacio Market in Belize is a symphony for the senses. The stalls are vibrant with bright yellows, reds and greens, the latest harvest of this abundantly fertile place. The vendors shout of their latest produce. Others hawk “meat pie! meat pie!”

belize san ignacio
The market in the early morning.

In another corner, those fresh corn tortillas head to the griddle to become pupusas, that beloved Central American staple that’s as delicious (with or without pork and beans) at 7 AM as it is for dinner. 

A few steps away you’ll find the marvelous tacos cooked on a clay grill at El Fogon de Cayo, whose aroma will draw you in from anywhere else in the market. 

This is San Ignacio’s town square, trading in fresh fruit, meat pies and a healthy dose of local gossip, a window into this fascinating, lush, dynamic corner of the country about two hours from Belize City. 

a pupusa
There are few things more delicious than a freshly-made pupusa.

San Ignacio is increasingly finding itself on the radar of travelers, with its blend of authentic Belizean culture and unique position as a jumping-off point for some of the most exciting adventures in Belize’s hills, rainforests and rivers. 

Whether you’re making the journey to the see Belize’s towering Maya site called Caracol, exploring cliffside pools or waterfalls or journeying to the seemingly endless, winding rivers, San Ignacio is the perfect headquarters for your vacation. 

rio on pools belize
Rio on Pools.

Just about everything is within a reasonable journey (including the fantastic Cahal Pech site right in the heart of the town): the stunning Rio on Pools, a collection of stepped waterfalls and river pools; the ATM cave; the Belize Zoo; or the natural wonders of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. 

river in belize
Inside the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.

It’s an endlessly friendly place, with a remarkable number of small, delicious local eateries like Lola’s, The Running W, Crave and the lovely Obsidian at the Falling Leaves Lodge, to name just a few. 

caracol belize
The stunning Caracol site, the grandest Maya site in the country.

And the town’s location in forested foothills means there’s almost always a lovely little cloud canopy, ensuring cool afternoons and decidedly lovely evenings. 

belize kaana
The signature eatery at the Ka’ana hotel just outside of town.

Everywhere you look, you’re bound to find local flora and fauna — from the spirited agouti to Belize’s national bird, the toucan, which can often be found hopping around the trees above your head. 

Spying a toucan in San Ignacio.

Maybe you’ve been to the Caribbean. Maybe you’ve been to Belize. But San Ignacio is different. You know it the moment you arrive. 

This is a very special little corner of the Caribbean, a place that marvelously melds the adventurous and the authentic. 

But the pupusas alone are worth the trip.

For more, visit Belize.

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