San Ignacio Market
San Ignacio Market - A Multicultural Experience
Can visiting the San Ignacio Market be one of the highlights of an already exciting vacation?
Definitely… if you happen to be vacationing in multicultural Belize.
Many people enjoy market days just for the local flavour, interesting food, arts and crafts, and the occasional bargain. You get all that at San Ignacio’s Saturday markets and a lot more – especially if you’re interested in experiencing true multiculturalism.
Where else can you enjoy a fresh squeezed fruit juice and snack amid a hubbub of different languages that would put a UN general assembly meeting to shame?
English, Creole, Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna, Mennonite German, some Chinese and other languages fill the air along with the aroma of barbecue, burritos, burgers, fresh corn tortillas, tacos, and other savoury snacks and meals as people buy, sell, barter, eat and generally congregate.
Chaa Creek as a working farm
Back in the early days when Chaa Creek was a working farm, and Mick and Lucy would load their big dugout canoe at dawn for the trip downriver into town to sell their produce and Lucy’s homemade yogurt, market day was the highlight of the week. It was a time to catch up with neighbours, exchange news and gossip, do the weekly shopping, refresh at the Western Bar, reload the canoe with provisions and the odd neighbour, and navigate the river – upstream and in the dark.
Ah, if only the Macal River could talk…
Fast forward some thirty-odd years and market days have lost none of their lustre. In fact, they’re bigger and better, with more food, more variety and a more eclectic array of goods on offer, with more arts and crafts added to the mix.
In addition to giving visitors a chance to see the “real” Cayo and participate in an activity that everyone – from locals, Guatemalans visiting from across the nearby border, and travellers from all over the world – seem to enjoy, the San Ignacio Saturday market provides a laboratory for studying the workings of harmonious multiculturalism.
San Ignacio Market Tour
There are produce markets most days on Burns Avenue in San Ignacio, but Saturday is still the big one. And the best way to experience the San Ignacio Market is to…
Take the Chaa Creek Market Tour!
A leisurely canoe paddle downstream to San Ignacio in the company of our naturalist guides will familiarise you with this vibrant riverine habitat where colourful birds, big iguanas and other wildlife come to drink, bathe and sun themselves along the banks.
Then, passing under the historic Hawkesworth Bridge and tying up at the canoe landing, the familiarisation exercise continues with tips on where to go and what to do at the market and other points of interest before you head off exploring on your own.
And, instead of having to work your way back up the river, you leave the canoes to Chaa Creek’s staff and enjoy a ride back to your casita and another one of Francelia’s delicious home cooked meals.
Mick, Lucy, Bryony, Piers and their neighbours never had it so good!