Belize as a whole offers lots of water-based activities, and that applies even when you head inland to San Ignacio! While there aren’t any beaches in the mountainous Cayo District, there are lots of sources of fresh water, making its two major rivers: the Macal River and the Mopan River. Both can be used for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and even cave tubing.
This river rises in a rugged part of the Maya Mountains and flows north where it joins the Mopan River to form the Belize River. The Macal River basin is 1490 square kilometers. To its east is the Cockscomb Basic Wildlife Sanctuary, which is dedicated the conserving jaguars. The lower part of the Macal river offers access to river banks. This is ideal for water activities such as canoeing and kayaking. Half of the year, the Macal can be paddled upstream, except during the peak flow months of June to October.
The Mopan begins in Guatemala and flows through the Cayo District of Belize. It eventually merging with the Mopan River to form the Belize River, which runs into the Caribbean Sea. This is the river that visitors to Xunantunich Mayan ruins are ferried across by the hand-cranked ferry. The Mopan river is also popular for kayaking and canoeing due to its gentle currents.
Book a Tour
There are several tour companies in San Ignacio that lead guided river kayaking and canoeing trips. They also lend out kayaks and canoes for day usage. Seeing the area by a kayak or canoe is great for spotting wildlife including monkeys, bats, birds, and iguanas. We recommend booking with Pacz Tours. We also include kayaking and canoeing as one of many on-site activities we offer as a part of our all inclusive vacation packages.