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While driving from the airport to San Ignacio, we passed by many local residents of Belize and instantly realized how different life was in Belize. It is much poorer than the US. But upon arriving to the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, the look and feel of the entrance immediately reminded me a lot of US qualities. The hotel building is clean, the interior is shiny, and there are hotel staff ready to help with your bags. The hotel (as of Dec 2014) was undergoing some construction of new rooms, as well as renovating existing rooms. We got two rooms, one of which was upgraded and the other was not. Both look fair decent, but the upgraded room was definitely better. The older room had plumbing issues which cause the toilet water to have a light brown hue. The pressure in the faucet was less than acceptable, and the shower had an inconsistent spray (pressure problem). The odd thing was none of these issues happened down the hall in one of the renovated rooms. On a more positive note, the private patio had a hammock for relaxing after dinner in the warm evenings. The rooms are also stocked with complimentary bottles of water, which were great for taking on tours. Additionally, each day, the hotel also dropped by a small snack, which was a nice touch. I admit that this review contains quite a few complains, but I admit they are situational (and the hotel did a great job at resolving the problems). Anything negative should not sway you away from the hotel. In fact, our overall experience was positive. One area for improvement for the hotel would be expand WiFi coverage (signal and strength) in the hotel rooms. There is an effort for coverage, as there is an available WiFi spot, but I am unable to connect to it the whole trip. The best connection was at the hotel lobby and restaurant. But, even if the internet didn't work, there was plenty of TV channels to watch. The hotel comes with a generously large pool and an in-house restaurant for those looking to relax.
What makes San Ignacio Resort unique compared to other hotels in the area is their Iguana Project. The hotel has a staff who care for iguanas that have been injured and cannot return to the natural habitat. What the project needs is donations, and your visit ($9 USD per person) goes directly to feeding and caring for their iguanas. As a visitor, you get a quick introduction to the project, then you get to touch the iguanas. If you’re courageous enough, you can even put multiple iguanas on your body (and even one on top of your head). Note that you can only do this with ‘domesticated’ iguanas. Wild iguanas are dangerous and should not be approached. All in all, the money goes to a good cause and you get the chance to play with iguanas.
The hotel is a short walk away from downtown, and since we were hear during the Christmas holiday, many of the shops were unfortunately closed. We were able to dine downtown on the night we arrived and experience life in San Ignacio. This includes kids playing in the town center without a care in the world with their families at 8pm. That includes lots of activity in the pedestrian only route. But even though there was a lot going on, I get the feeling a lot of it focused on tourism.