John Richards may hail from Cape Cod, but the San Ignacio Resort Hotel still feels like home. That’s understandable when you take into consideration that he’s been coming here for nearly half a century, and he knows the story of this town better than anyone. As John remembers it, the diversion to Belize wasn’t fate so much as an impulsive decision. “I came in 1976 traveling to Tikal with my mother. We wanted to visit the Maya Ruins and we were looking at a map and said where is Belize? Where is that.” So John Richards flew in to Belize City with nothing but a rental car and a suggestion to venture into San Ignacio Town. Even then, the town was a diverse and eclectic blend of personalities, though it was still a long way from being as developed as it is in the 21st century. That’s as true of the San Ignacio Resort Hotel as it is of the rest of the town. When Richards and his mother arrived, the hotel was simply seven rooms side by side on street level. And while it may have been a humble enough experience, it was charming enough for Mr. Richards to keep coming back. He marvels over how both the town and the resort have changed, and discusses how the space has transformed from just a few rooms into a 27-suite hotel with a full restaurant — The Running W. If you’re looking for recommendations, there’s perhaps no one who knows the menu better. For the record, he suggests the sirloin steak. And while Richards may have not stayed that first time, he found plenty of reasons to keep returning. “You just can’t really say in a few sentences how it’s evolved in the last 45 years… I kept coming back it was continuing to evolve and change and getting even more and more glorious,” he said of the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. And while some things may change, others stay the same. His passion is diving, and he’s continued to snorkel and make use of the resort’s pool when he’s in town. Another thing that won’t change is the hospitality at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. Mister Richards is currently on a five month trip where he’s splitting his time between the resort and his home in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Both are in Belize, but each offers a different little slice of paradise. And no matter what changes occur, he can count on a warm smile and greeting from the people behind the counter. It’s the same for everyone who steps through those doors, and that won’t change any time soon.