Founded in 1976 by Mr. Escandar Bedran, San Ignacio Resort Hotel opened its doors under the slogan "A Getaway to Tikal"-- a slogan that portrayed minimal tourism in the area during the time and the popularity of neighbouring archaeological Maya sites during the 70s.
To achieve his vision to make Cayo a travel destination, Mr. Bedran confirmed a partnership with the Ministry of Tourism. With this partnership, he committed to build a ferry in exchange of opening Xunantunich Maya site for tourism endeavors—an event that highlighted the potential of the hometown as a place to visit. As the years progressed and local tourism began to develop in the Cayo District, the Hotel became much more than just a getaway to Tikal-- it developed into the getaway to tours and adventures in the beautiful Jewel, primarily the Cayo District.
Now, under the ownership & management of the Bedran Sisters and daughters of the founder, Mrs. Mariam B. Roberson, Mrs. Paulita B Figueroa, Mrs. Terry B. Carter, and Mrs. Nazle B. Kuylen, San Ignacio Resort Hotel now features a collection of over 25 tours within the area under Cayo Gial Tours!
In celebration of our 43rd anniversary of being a local, family-owned establishment, we decided to hear it from the locals. Born and raised in San Ignacio, we wanted to delve deeper the Bedran Sister's favourite spots in Belize and most importantly, the Cayo District. Here's what they had to say!
Terry B. Carter
Favourite spot in the Cayo District: "One of my favorite past times in Cayo is canoeing down the Macal river. It is peaceful and there is flora and flora abundant. It varies species and colour depending on the time of year. A swim is refreshing. It is also an easy paddle."
Favourite spot in Belize: "One of my day trip is a picnic and hiking at Mayflower National Park, Southern Highway near Silk Grass. The trails vary in kilometers and the waterfalls at the end of the hike is well worth the walk. Swimming is a big treat. Restrooms and picnic areas are well maintained and clean. The tropical forest is calming and offers a shade for easy access. Take a lunch or buy one along the way. Lots of options! Hummingbird Highway is truly of my favorites."
Mariam B. Roberson
Favourite spot in the Cayo District: "I truly enjoy visiting the Mountain Pine Ridge and Chiquibul area in Western Belize, especially around Cooma Cairn whereabouts. I love the temperature, the beautiful forest views overlooking the mountains, and the sense of adventure when I am there. I have been going there for over 20 years, especially during the first quarter of the year because of the cooler weather; initially, I would go there with Dada [her father] and later on with my husband when he used to operate a sawmill. I actually saw my first Jaguar in the wild here! This area surely holds a special part in my heart."
Favourite spot Belize: "I cannot think of any other place than Pine Ridge and Chiquibul! I love the feeling of exploration and peacefulness. However, if I have to choose another place outside the woods and jungle...then I would say our old capital, St. George's Caye."
Nazle B. Kuylen
Favourite spot in Belize: "Certainly, St. George's Caye. It is nice, quiet, its got beautiful blue water, and the perfect place to avoid the crowds. I used to go there when I was a teenager with Dada so there's a lot of memories in that caye but I love it so much more now that I am older."
Favourite spot in the Cayo District: "It was the Cool Shade farm my dad used to have—I remember laying down on the grass and looking up to the sky for hours and seeing all the birds flying by. It was also nice to take a day to go horseback riding. I also loved hanging down by the Macal River—right by where the Hotel is now built. I used to go swimming during hot days with my friends and jump off the rocks…we had good times."
Paulita B. Figueroa
Favourite spot in Belize: "This is an easy one...Chiquibul! It is so incredibly beautiful, it gives me peace of mind to be surrounded by nature. It makes you appreciate how wonderful Belize is even more so with the conservation efforts that happen around that area, such as the birding endeavours that are happening now."
Favourite spot in the Cayo District: "My verandah! I am able to relax and see the hills from Cayo and hear the variety of birds...I even know the sounds now! Although I am always arguing with the chachalacas (laughs). Sitting at my own home makes me grateful that I have the blessing of doing so, in the middle of nowhere. I can also see from my house my childhood home far away, Dada would always say we could do smoke signals to communicate with each other (laughs). I grew up here in San Ignacio-- I find comfort in knowing that this is my hometown"