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About Belize - Part 2 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

Belmopan, Belize''s capital city, is a unique town in the Cayo District about an hour''s drive west of Belize City on the Western Highway. In addition to its government offices, Belmopan has a thriving Market Square where one can buy anything from fruits and vegetables to western hats and souvenirs. There are banks, restaurants and hotel accommodations.

The Bull Frog Inn has been the premier hotel in Belmopan for the past decade, offering spacious rooms with private baths and American television. The inn'''' s restaurant features native Belizean cuisine at very reasonable prices and a Salvadoran string band plays on some days /evenings.

One of the most interesting lodges in Belize is Banana Bank, a 4, 000-acre ranch. The lodge is accessible via a road off the Western Highway opposite Belmopan. It terminates at the Belize River, where John will pick you up in a small boat. Banana Bank is home to an orphaned jaguar, scarlet macaws, and a female howler monkey whose wild suitors call to her from the surrounding jungle. There is a guided Belize River trip conducted by John, horseback riding at all skill levels, and plenty of room to roam around the ranch.

If you continue on the Western Highway from Belmopan, you pass one village after another with names like Roaring Creek, Tea Kettle Village, and Black Man Eddy. Finally you arrivie after 45 minutes at San Ignacio, the commercial centre of the Cayo District, on the banks of the Macal River. If you plan to stay in the area, San Ignacio Hotel sits high above the surrounding terrain, providing scenic views of the tropical vegetation below. Rooms start at $90 per night. If you'''' re not spending the night, lunch on the balcony provides an opportunity to take in the view while enjoying a leisurely meal. Lunch will cost you about $5 to $6 per person, and dinner about $12.

Benque Viejo is the terminus of Belize'''' s Western Highway, about 15 miles beyond San Ignacio at the Guatemalan border. Benque, like San Ignacio, is built into the ancient hills where the Mayans once lived. Xunantunich, a Mayan temple, is one of several Mayan ruins in Belize which are open to the public. Spanish architecture is prevalent in Benque and the Catholic church there is particularly picturesque.

About two hours beyond the border in the Peten Province of Guatemala stands Tikal, perhaps the largest of the ancient Mayan cities which spreads across what are now Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize on the '''' Ruta Maya. ''''

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