San Ignacio, the bigger one of the Twin Towns

The twin towns San Ignacio and Santa Elena, in the Cayo District of Belize, are together the second rural area of Belize with approximately 20,000 people. These twin towns are also the biggest population center of the Cayo District. San Ignacio is situated on the west bank of the Macal River. The area of San Ignacio consists of approximately 2.5 square miles or 6.5 square kilometers.

The Western Highway is going through San Ignacio. From San Ignacio it is about 63 miles or 101 kilometers to Belize City and about 22 miles or 35 kilometers to Belmopan. Belize City and Belmopan are both located at the east of San Ignacio. San Ignacio and Santa Elena, which is located at the east bank of the Macal River, are connected by two bridges, the Low Lying Bridge (from Santa Elena to San Ignacio) and the Hawksworth Bridge (from San Ignacio to Santa Elena), which are both one way. The Hawksworth Bridge is the only suspension bridge in Belize, which was built in 1949. 
 
San Ignacio is the cultural-economic hub of the Cayo District with a daily market and a even busier saturday market. San Ignacio originated from mahogany and chicle production during the British colonialism. San Ignacio was named El Cayo by the Spanish. The government of British Honduras declared El Cayo a town on October 19, 1904. The name El Cayo was while there was a creek running between the Macal River and the Mopan River one mile outside of San Ignacio to Benque Viejo del Carmen. Through this creek, which is nowadays gone, San Ignacio was an island, so El Cayo.


Residents are mostly Mestizos and Kriol, accompanied by some Lebanese and Mopan, but it is also a popular spot with expatriates from North America and Europe. The Chinese in San Ignacio emigrated from Guangzhou in waves in the middle of the 20th century. San Ignacio had a total of 9,925 inhabitants in the census of 2010. 
 
For a visit to the many tourist activities and spots in the Cayo District San Ignacio is a good central hub. There are lots of accommodations in San Ignacio and the direct neighborhood, but also a lot of tour operators are operating from this location.