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The Cayo's main connection to the coast is the Western Highway, a paved two-lane road running 78 mi (128 km) between Belize City and the Guatemala border. The highway is in generally good condition, but shoulders are narrow, and parts of the highway can be slick after rains. Secondary roads, mostly unpaved and sometimes difficult to drive on, branch off the Western Highway, leading to small villages and to the Mountain Pine Ridge, the Spanish Lookout Mennonite area, and various jungle lodges. The Mountain Pine Ridge is crisscrossed by an extensive network of gravel and dirt roads, some formerly logging trails.
At Belmopan, the paved Hummingbird Highway is Belize's most scenic road, cutting 54 mi (90 km) southeast through the Maya Mountains to Dangriga, passing Five Blues Lake and Blue Hole national parks. Mile markers on the Hummingbird start in Dangriga.
Belmopan City. While hardly a tourism hotspot, Belmopan is Belize's newest city (in Belize the government designates urban areas as cities, towns, or villages) with a growing number of restaurants and hotels. The U.S. Embassy has a new US$50 million compound here, and around Belmopan are several excellent jungle lodges.
San Ignacio. The hub of western Belize, San Ignacio is a bustling little town. Here you can arrange tours (often at lower prices than from jungle lodges), shop at the local market, and get a good meal, whether you're hungry for Indian, Italian, French, Chinese, or even Sri Lankan or Belizean.
Mountain Pine Ridge. The largest forest reserve in Belize, the Mountain Pine Ridge covers almost 300 square mi (777 square km). Crisscrossed by old logging roads and small rivers, and dotted with waterfalls, the Mountain Pine Ridge—at elevations up to 3,000 feet and higher, and noticeably cooler than other parts of Cayo—is the gateway to the Chiquibul wilderness and to Caracol.
Caracol. The largest and most important Mayan site in Belize, Caracol rivals Tikal in Guatemala in historical importance and archaeological interest.
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