When you see the Hawksworth Bridge, built in 1949 and the only public suspension bridge in Belize, you'll know you've arrived at San Ignacio, the hub of the Cayo district. San Ignacio, with its twin town Santa Elena just to the east, is an excellent base for exploring western Belize. Nearby are three Mayan ruins, as well as national parks and a cluster of butterfly farms.
With its well-preserved wooden structures, San Ignacio is a Belizean town where you might want to linger. Evenings are comfortable and usually mosquito-free, and the colonial-era streets are lined with funky bars and restaurants. It's worth coming at sunset to listen to the eerily beautiful sounds of the grackles, the iridescent black birds that seem to like the town.