Cayo District, which spans the majority of Belize’s western border with Guatemala, is home to vast tracts of thick jungle, enormous ancient Maya cities, mysterious underground cave systems, majestic waterfalls, and luscious rainforests teeming with exotic plant, bird, and animal life. Cayo District spans more than 2,000 square miles (5,300 square kilometers), yet is home to fewer than 100,000 people.
The Belize rainforest in Cayo District is home to more than 600 species of birds as well as wildlife like black howler monkeys, giant iguanas, enormous tapirs, and five different big cat species, including the legendary jaguars that were worshipped by the ancient Maya people.
Cayo District is also home to San Ignacio, a bustling down of some 20,000 people situated on the banks of the Macal River. The open-air marketplace draws in farmers, ranchers, artisans, and healers from across the region, making it one of the best places for visitors to enjoy some truly authentic local color. Cayo District is also home to Belmopan, the national capital, which was founded in 1970 after a series of storms devastated Belize City.
The Belize jungle in Cayo District is a top eco-tourism destination thanks to all of the exciting activities that can be enjoyed in this region, including canoeing down pristine rivers, horseback riding, hiking. And all Belize jungle tours include the must-do activity of cave tubing, a combination sport and history lesson that involves floating down spooky underground rivers through miles of caves, many of which were once used by ancient Maya priests to conduct their most sacred ceremonies.
With so much nature to explore and see, the best way to appreciate Cayo District is by staying at a Belize jungle lodge. Situated in beautiful, natural settings surrounded by the wild majesty of the jungle, these lodges offer visitors an oasis of comfort and a great place to enjoy a home-cooked meal and a stiff drink after an exciting day of exploring all that the region has to offer.