OUR VILLAGE & TOWN
Located on a high bank above the Macal River and with a population of less than 1,000, Cristo Rey is the closest village to Table Rock and the home of most of our staff and their families. The Belizeans living in Cristo Rey are almost exclusively Mestizo (Spanish-Mayan heritage) and grow up speaking Spanish in the home. English is learned a little while later when mandatory attendance at the village’s only school begins at age four or five. Most villagers also speak Kriol, a Caribbean mix of English, Spanish, Mayan, and Garifuna languages.
The majority of villagers from Cristo Rey are employed in one way or another by the tourism industry, with the remaining population working for the government, for private individuals, or in agriculture. Most villagers own their own homes and land in the village, and frequently own additional large plots outside of the village which are used for farming and livestock.
The people of Cristo Rey are warm and genuine, and respect hard work and family loyalty highly. Laughter and camaraderie are commonplace throughout the village, and a general air of happiness and contentment cannot be missed as you pass through. We welcome all our guests to interact and get to know the members of our staff and to visit their charming village.
San Ignacio, originally dubbed El Cayo (“The Caye”) by the Spanish for its island-like position between the Macal and Mopan Rivers, has been the cultural and economic center of the Cayo District in Western Belize since 1904. Only 5 miles from Table Rock, San Ignacio is home to Belize’s only drivable suspension bridge, The Hawksworh, which connects San Ignacio with Santa Elena. Collectively referred to as the Twin Towns, San Ignacio-Santa Elena is the second largest municipality in Belize. With around 18,000 inhabitants, San Ignacio-Santa Elena is home to a largely Mestizo and Kriol population sprinkled in with Lebanese, Mayan, and Chinese cultures. The large Mennonite community of Spanish Lookout is located just a few miles outside of the Twin Towns, so it’s fairly commonplace to see a colorful interaction of all of these ethnic groups mingling and doing business together.
Every Saturday, the San Ignacio Market comes alive with farmers selling local fruits and vegetables. Vendors also hawk crafts, clothing, and household goods. Some vendors show up on other days as well, but Saturday has by far the largest market. Town is also home to other fun cultural activities such as the Green Iguana Conservation Project, Ajaw Mayan Chocolate Demonstration Center, and the Marie Sharp’s Tourist Center & Culinary Class.