San Ignacio, Belize

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San Ignacio, Belize: Laid-Back, Yet Bustling

Reviewed by Lief Simon

Lief Simon is the managing editor of Global Property Advisor, Simon Letter, and Offshore Living Letter. He has purchased more than 45 properties, investing in 23 different countries around the world.

Wooden bridge crossing Macal River, in San Ignacio, Belize.
iStock/loeskieboom

San Ignacio was originally El Cayo. It is located in the western part of the Cayo District of Belize. And, is the hub of the area and the second largest settlement in the country.

The town has an area of roughly 2.5 square miles. It is connected to its “sister city” Santa Elena by an elevated bridge

Although San Ignacio, Belize, is a popular destination for tourists with many sites to explore including the Mayan ruins, a Forest Reserve, caves, butterfly farms, botanical gardens etc., the town maintains its local island vibe surrounded by raw, natural beauty.

For example, there is a sizeable expat community that lives in San Ignacio and others who live on the coast often escape to San Ignacio during tourist season when the beaches become more crowded.

The San Ignacio, Belize, lifestyle caters to those looking for a life that is healthy, slow-paced, and relaxed.

As a result, weekly markets turn into social events where everyone comes to buy local, reasonably-priced produce, herbs and regional food.

San Ignacio is a backpacker’s dream with trails to hike and an eco-tourism haven with species of plants and animals on display in all their glory.

Most importantly, retirees welcome the change of pace in life from hustle and bustle to more laidback.

Map Of San Ignacio, Belize

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Life In San Ignacio

Cost Of Living In San Ignacio, Belize

Your cost of living in San Ignacio, Belize, depends entirely on your lifestyle choice.

If you opt to live more closely like a local and find alternatives to foods that you’re accustomed to buying back in the States, then your monthly budget will be brought down.

So, if you decide to buy a large amount of imported goods, you’ll quickly see your expenses go up.

Let’s take a closer look at what your monthly budget can look like living in San Ignacio, Belize.

Apartment Or House Ownership Budget (For A Couple) In San Ignacio

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
MortgageNot included here as too variable
HOA FeesUS$148Most properties in San Ignacio don’t have HOA fees, only in a handful of “gringo” developments.
Property TaxesUS$12.41US$12.41 in town, US$2 outside town.
TransportationUS$200You’ll need a car in San Ignacio; expect to spend this amount minimum per month on gas and maintenance, and more if you’re doing a lot of driving.
GasUS$25For cooking and hot water.
ElectricityUS$200Using air conditioning (cut this figure in half if you forego it).
WaterUS$25US$25 in town; if you have a pool or irrigate your garden from main water expect to pay more. US$8 outside town.
Cell PhoneUS$15Most basic plan.
InternetUS$64For 40 Mbps.
Cable TVBundled with internet or US$30 without.
Household HelpUS$158Two visits per week, US$19.85 per day.
EntertainmentUS$188Social outing: BZ$30 per person; Dinner and drinks for two: BZ$40-BZ$50; Drinks for two: BZ$10.
GroceriesUS$300Basic items for a couple.
Gym MembershipNo proper gyms available.
Medical AppointmentUS$20A basic doctor/clinic appointment, per visit.
TOTALUS$1,355.41Doesn’t include mortgage cost.

Apartment Or House Rental Budget (For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$745Unfurnished, two-bedroom, modern house in town. If you’re willing to live in a more local-standard home, you could cut this in half. If you’re renting within a gated community, you might need to spend more.
TransportationUS$200You’ll need a car in San Ignacio; expect to spend this much per month on gas and maintenance.
GasUS$25For cooking and hot water.
ElectricityUS$200Using air conditioning (cut this figure in half if you forego it).
WaterUS$25US$25 in town; if you have a pool or irrigate your garden from main water expect to pay more. US$8 outside town.
Cell PhoneUS$15Most basic plan.
InternetUS$64For 40 Mbps.
Cable TVBundled with internet or US$30 without.
Household HelpUS$158Two visits per week, US$19.85 per day.
EntertainmentUS$188Social outing: Dinner and drinks for two.
GroceriesUS$300Basic items.
Gym MembershipNo proper gyms available.
Medical AppointmentUS$20A basic doctor/clinic visit, per appointment.
TOTALUS$1,940

Penny-Pincher’s Budget (Bare Minimum Costs, For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$250Local-style bungalow in outlying village or basic apartment in town.
TransportationUS$25
GasUS$18For cooking and hot water.
ElectricityUS$42
WaterUS$15
Cell PhoneUS$15
InternetUS$50
Cable TVBundled with internet or US$30 without.
EntertainmentUS$1202 nights out a week, local food and drinks.
GroceriesUS$200Basic items for a couple.
TOTALUS$735

Click here for currency conversions at today’s exchange rates.

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Health Care In San Ignacio, Belize

Belize isn’t known for having high quality health care or being a medical tourism site. However, there are health care facilities here both private and public available to residents and travelers.

San Ignacio has health care facilities such as clinics, hospitals, and medical centers.

The San Ignacio Community Hospital is the main facility here. At this hospital you have emergency care, diagnostic services, outpatient care, and general medical and surgical services.

General medical care is available at San Ignacio. However specialized care may prove more difficult to find.

Most importantly, if you need more advanced or specialized treatment, you’ll need to travel to Belize City, neighboring Mexico, or back home to the United States.

There are pharmacies in San Ignacio where you can buy over-the-counter meds and some prescriptions. You may sometimes meet trained pharmacists who can give advice on common ailments and recommend proper meds.

Infrastructure In San Ignacio

Crossing The Path Of Progress in San Ignacio, Belize

Above all, San Ignacio serves as an important hub for tourism, commerce, and transportation in western Belize.

Though Belize is not highly regarded as having topnotch infrastructure, it is getting better and better as this little country becomes popular among travelers and expats and retirees.

San Ignacio is connected to Belmopan and the rest of Belize by a highway. The road in San Ignacio is developed with paved roads and sidewalks. However, more remote areas outside of the town center may have dirt roads and be less developed.

San Ignacio counts with fairly reliable basic utilities such as water and electricity. Also, you can get pretty decent Wi-Fi. However, depending on where you’re located, you may get a fluctuation in speed.

Climate In San Ignacio, Belize

Ruins of Cahal Pech in San Ignacio, Belize.
iStock/loeskieboom

San Ignacio has tropical climate characterized by higher temperatures, humidity, and wet and dry seasons rather than your better-known winter, spring, summer, and fall. Above all, temperatures tend to stay pretty similar year-round.

The dry season in San Ignacio runs from November to May. Warm and relatively dry weather is the norm during this time and there are lesser chances of seeing rain.

Temperatures during this season typically range from 68°F to 86°F. So, evenings tend to get a bit cooler, though.

The rainy season in San Ignacio runs from June to October. Temperatures range from 75°F to 90°F, not a huge difference to the dry season.

You’re likely to experience heavy showers and thunderstorms during this time. Most importantly, keep a raincoat and umbrella on you when out and about.

Now, Belize does have a hurricane season. As a result, San Ignacio (being part of the coastal area of Belize), is vulnerable during this season. This season runs from June to November.

The most active time for hurricanes in Belize is typically during August, September, and October.

To sum up. keep up to date on weather updates and follow the guidance of local authorities.

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Visa And Residency Information

Move To San Ignacio

Belizeallows U.S. citizens to enter the country without a visa and remain there as a tourist for a maximum of 30 days per trip.

However, Belize’s Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) residency program isn’t, strictly speaking, for retireesonly.

The only requirements to qualify are that you or your spouse be 45 years of age or older, that you consider yourself to be retired, and that you show that you have a minimum monthly income of at least US$2,000 per month to support yourself in Belize.

So, make sure to stay up to date on any changes made to visa and residency requirement by getting in touch with the Belize Embassy or Consulate in your hometown before booking your ticket and leaving for your new destination.

San Ignacio, Belize - FAQs

Is San Ignacio, Belize, Worth Visiting?

If you love spending time outdoors, San Ignacio, Belize, can become your playground. For example, visitors can go ziplining through the jungle, go horseback riding through the forest, go caving, and more.

Is It Safe To Walk Around San Ignacio, Belize?

San Ignacio, Belize, is considered safe. However, there are pickpockets so make sure to follow standard safety guidelines and you should be fine.

Avoid flashing your cash and your expensive jewelry, keep your belongings on you and in sight always, remember to lock your house’s front door, back door, and windows, and lock your car. And, if you keep things in your cars, tuck them away and out of sight of whoever may wander by. Lastly, avoid wandering around alone at night and especially in dark streets.

Can You Drink Tap Water In San Ignacio, Belize?

You can drink tap water in San Ignacio, Belize. However, we recommend you boil your water or buy large water jugs at home and buy bottled water when you’re out and about.

What Is San Ignacio, Belize, Known For?

San Ignacio, Belize, is known to be a nature lover’s paradise and an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. Also. history buffs also look to San Ignacio due to the presence of ancient Maya ruins such as the ATM Cave and Cahal Pech.

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