10 Things to Do in Benque Viejo del Carmen That You Shouldn't Miss

November 21, 2017 Stefan Strunk

Benque Viejo del Carmen ("Benque") is the westernmost town in Belize, 130 km (81 mi) by road west and south of Belize City, at the Guatemalan border. San Ignacio lies 13 km to the east and Melchor de Mencos just across the border. The Mopan River runs along the town's north and west edges.
Restaurants in Benque Viejo del Carmen

1. La Capitana Pontoon Boat - Tours

Mile 8.5 Hydro Rd., Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize
Excellent
97%
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5 based on 32 reviews

La Capitana Pontoon Boat - Tours

La Capitana Pontoon Boat Tour:Spend a relaxing day on the lake with us and we'll take you to several swimming holes by picturesque Waterfalls. Early morning tours offer excellent birding and chances to see wildlife such as crocodiles, howler monkeys, turtles and much more. Belizeans, this is a great option for family outings! You can enjoy a picnic lunch or bring along something to throw on the grill. HideAway Camp Adventure Tours:La Capitana Pontoon Boat Tour is only one of the tours offered by HideAway Camp Adventure Tours. We'll give you the chance to visit a few hidden gems of Belize. Based on Martz Farm, an hour away from San Igancio, Belize, we also offer camping, hiking, caving and horseback riding.

Reviewed By KKMBZE - Belize City, Belize

From the beginning to the end we enjoyed every bit of the expedition. Exploring the untouch jungle was amazing Caption Lazaro along with his sideman Dave did a fantastic job, showing us wildlife such as spider Monkeys, white hawk, baby crocodiles and many more. Favorite part was the Waterfalls and my two boys enjoyed the tubing.Completely something they had never done and Lazaro helped them gain more confidence in the water. Like they say time flies when you are having fun. If you looking for a tour to unwind, be away from traffic and enjoy nature to its best.... This is the tour to do.

2. Kaatz Witz Maya Tours

San Jose Succotz 501, Belize
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5 based on 17 reviews

Kaatz Witz Maya Tours

Kaatz Witz Maya Tours is an eco-friendly small company located at San Jose Succotz Village, in the Cayo District Belize C.A. We are well equipped with well trained tour guides certified in Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, guides have completed the National Tour Guide Training and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) which is approved by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and Institute for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ITVET). Whether you are looking for fun, educational or adventurous tours we guarantee you a safe and most unique and memorable experience We are more than happy to make your plans and experience a fun-filled and trouble free vacation in our beautiful country Belize. You are just a phone call or email away, from us making Your Next Belize Vacation a memorable one with Kaatz Witz Maya Tours!

Reviewed By kazfamily2016 - Phoenix, Arizona

The ATM Cave holds such beauty of nature and history of the Mayan people, definitely a must see tour. The only way to get the full benefit of this tour is to have a great guide. Our guide was Orlando Puc, who is a wealth of knowledge and patience.
Orlando points out the purpose of different plants and explains the culture and history of the Mayans along the tour. Orlando ensures the safety of his visitors by providing the necessary equipment, showing the exact hand and foot holds to use, and offering an extra hand or push up when someone is tired. Don't miss the ATM Cave, but ensure that you are in good physical shape so you can enjoy it to the fullest.

Belize
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4.5 based on 1 reviews

Xunantunich

Reviewed By TenaciousLD - Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

I've now had the good fortune of visiting five different Mayan sites. Although the total area of Xunantunich is small compared to Tikal or Chichen Itza, it has been one of my favorite ruins to visit. The buildings are majestic, the wildlife fascinating, and the views over the jungle from the top of El Castillo are unparalleled.
We were there in the early afternoon and ran into very few other people. The view of the Belizian and Guatemalan jungle truly are awe-inspiring from the top of El Castillo, which you climb directly on up to the very top. It is easy to imagine that these buildings have stood for thousands of years. Xunantunich is simple to navigate, (even if it's hard to pronounce)! fun to explore and doesn't take a lot of time.
We tried to take a bus from San Ignacio, but when we couldn't easily find it we got impatient and just took a cab to the site, which cost us $5 or $10 US each, I can't quite remember. We shared the free hand-cranked ferry on the way there with horses, which was kind of cool. We opted out of hiring a guide and walked up the drive to the site. The walking up to the ruins from the river might have been a mistake as it was easily the hottest part of the day. I will warn you, that walk is a little steeper than it looks! I think it only took around 20 minutes, so we just drank a lot of water. And once there, it was a beyond reasonable $5 US for entry into the park. We looked around the small museum, but then just took off for a self-guided tour. If you've never visited any Mayan ruins I recommend getting a guide as they were quite reasonable here, but we passed as we were using a guide for Tikal the next day and have been to a few sites with guides in the past. We had fun running around and trying to wrap our heads around the history of the spot. Climbing El Castillo and standing where ancient nobility stood was a highlight (look up to see the bats when going up the stairs in the back)! When we returned from the site and traveled back across the Mopan River, my friend asked if she could crank the wheel of government-run ferry for them; the government worker was happy to take a short break.
As a bonus, I saw two gray foxes at the entry gate, in the woods to the left of the bathroom. And Xunantunich was also my first experience with Howler monkeys! My friend and I actually thought there was a loudspeaker set up, and that a loud audio program we didn't know about was beginning. For the uninitiated this was the only reasonable answer, lol! I was told by someone standing under the trees with us as we listened to the monkeys that the only animal louder than the Howler Monkey is the African Lion; I'm unsure if that's true but holy cow I believe it!! IT WAS SO COOL! I was also told that they used Howler cries for the velociraptor screams in the movie Jurassic Park.
If you're on the fence, absolutely visit Xunantunich. The ruins and views are majestic, it's a very short bus or cab ride from San Ignacio, and the site is easy to navigate and super affordable. We almost didn't go- it was actually kind of an afterthought- and I'm so, so glad we went.

4. Poustinia Land Art Park

Mollejon Rd, Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize +501 637-0574
Excellent
58%
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4.5 based on 14 reviews

Poustinia Land Art Park

Reviewed By DiceyEye - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Poustinia is an environmental art park situated a few miles from the Belize-Guatemala border in Benque Viejo del Carman Belize. There are dozens of in situ ‘earthworks’ scattered over acres and acres of rough terrain and jungle.
Poustinia is art with an Indiana Jones Wilderness spin. It is about trekking through the bush, busting a gut trudging up steep hills and temple mounds, interacting up close and personal with the environment including all sorts of blood-sucking insects, venomous snakes and other indigenous critters and getting dirty, sweaty and smelly. Poustinia is not about powdered and dolled up rich dudes sipping white wine and oohing and ahhing over spruced up emotionalism. The Poustinia art experience is physical, visceral and exhausting.
Poustinia harks back to non-western ideas about the nature of art. The grueling physical aspect is similar to the “walk-about” rites of passage the Australian Aborigine youths go through to achieve their ‘stripes’ of adulthood. The non-discrete object aspect is similar to the in situ tribal art of Sub-Saharan Africa. The Wilderness, Mayan temple context imbues the place with a religiosity that also harks back to non-Euro, non-western ideas about what constitutes an art experience.
For those that want an entirely different art experience Poustinia is a must see.

5. Belizean Sun Day Tours

Mile 73 3/4 Western Highway | San Jose Succotz, San Jose Succotz, Belize
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5 based on 16 reviews

Belizean Sun Day Tours

Spend the day in the jungle and caves on this private caving adventure. Visit the caves of Actun Halal & Chapat seeing and visualizing the past when the Mayan's used these cave for their ceremonial rituals. Gaze at huge formations and rooms that were formed ions ago. Incredible/ mystical/ beautiful/ and mysterious. Located on my private property, you will ride in the Rover 6 miles over a track that once was used by chicleros. Not a “tour”, more of a trip with new friends. After walking through huge chambers and rooms you will reach the “skylight”. Here, with sunlight and fresh air streaming in you can satisfy your hunger with fresh-home made burritos, and take a well-deserved rest. After exploring and enjoying the environment further, head back to the rover to enjoy an ice cold beer, soft drink or water. I like to share this trip with the people that enjoy doing something different, getting off the beaten tourist trail. It is a special place, one that should be experienced. Please email for details as this trip is NOT for everyone. It requires a sense of adventure, love of nature, a level of endurance and physical coordination.

Reviewed By BENQUE R - Benque

This is one of the highlight trips that we have ever taken. The experience was totally awesome. the cave is impressive and much larger than what we had expected. We discovered numerous underground lakes that were pristine blue and Emerald colors. Ken let us take an amazing tour further than anyone else had ever gone before inside. So we really appreciated having bragging rights for the adventure.!!! Really enjoyed the lunch in the cave, and the very informative tour was great. Will for sure repeat and is highly recommended.
If you want a real authentic and incredible nature and cave trip, then this is it.!!!!!
We have sent many friends to this attraction and everyone was blown away with it and could not stop talking about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6. Green Iguana Conservation Project

San Ignacio Resort Hotel | #18 Buena Vista Street, San Ignacio, Belize +501 824-2034
Excellent
72%
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4.5 based on 1 reviews

Green Iguana Conservation Project

Located at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, the Project is a continuous effort that aims to conserve and look after the endangered Green Iguana species in Belize. The hatchery uses interactive exhibits and programs to help educate and create awareness among international and local visitors. Here, you are given the opportunity mingle with these wonderful reptiles and also, learn the about the incubation, hatching, rearing, and releasing process

Reviewed By Scott D - Austin, Texas

This iguana sanctuary is attached to the San Ignacio Hotel and is $9 US per person for a 45 min visit with the conservator. You get to hold the iguanas which are all rescue animals. They do outreach to local schools and communities to encourage protection of their native Green Iguanas.

7. House of Culture

St Joseph St, Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize +501 823-2697
Excellent
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4.5 based on 8 reviews

House of Culture

Reviewed By LanSluderBelize - Asheville, North Carolina

I stopped in again at the little -- and I do mean little -- Benque House of Culture on a recent visit to Cayo. Currently, there's a wonderful rosewood and mahogany marimba (sort of like a big xylophone) on display. The curator is very knowledgeable and helpful. The museum is free but donations are welcome.

8. Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve

Xunantunich Road, San Jose Succotz, Belize +501 822-2106
Excellent
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4.5 based on 9 reviews

Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve

Reviewed By jaysolutions - Seminole, Florida

Once again, RCL mismanaged the dispatch of the tour groups & our driver was passive, which cost us a lot of time. Great site, guides are local to the site and government sponsored (he was a Maya and spoke English, Maya, & Spanish, & an expert concerning the site, nicknamed "Junior"). No matter how I berate RCL for getting us off late, having a timid driver, or anything else, it is the best Maya site we have seen in Belize so far (but we have yet to find our way to Caracol). If you are on a cruise to Belize City, are interested in things Maya, this is the excursion on which you should go. Cahal Pech is just back up the road towards San Ignacio, but it is our #2 choice for a stop in Belize. Do NOT BOTHER with Altun Ha, But Nim Li Punit (accessible from Mahogany Cay further south of Belize City) is worth the ride as well.
The main temple, El Castillo, is tall, wide, easy to climb, with places to walk to the next access upwards so you do not have to do it one go. The view from the top shows you the whole site and it has some of the stucco masks visible from an earlier incarnation of the temple (truly well preserved). Lots of edifices to examine, religious, administrative, residential (royal & commoners), neat and clean site. It is the best so far in Belize and well worth the effort.

9. Belize Botanic Gardens

Big Eddy, Chial Road, San Ignacio, Belize +501 824-3101
Excellent
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4.5 based on 171 reviews

Belize Botanic Gardens

Belize Botanic Gardens is a great place to spend from a few hours to the whole day! Come and take one of our guided tours through the Gardens and discover some of the secrets within the plants and trees. Do you know what perfumes Chanel No5? or what tree can colour your clothes? come and find the answers. Visit our Orchid house with over 120 orchids species of Belize.

Reviewed By Samantha V

We stayed at duPlooy’s so we had access to the Gardens. The orchids weren’t in bloom at the time, but everything else was. We spent a late afternoon wandering around and enjoying the grounds. We also did a night tour, sadly didn’t see many animals, but enjoyed it nontheless.

10. Belize Jungle Paintball

Mile 92 Western Highway, San Jose Succotz, Belize +501 622-6130
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5 based on 4 reviews

Belize Jungle Paintball

We are a large outdoor paintball field located mile 92 off western highway in beautiful san jose succotz cayo district. Less than 1 mile from xunatinich ruins, 8 miles from san ignacio town and down the road from Trek stop. We offer top of the line equipment rentals, shuttle service, ATV Tours and exhilarating jungle paintball fields. Come join us for a day you will never forget.

Reviewed By Sureddymd

I went with my teenage son and nephews to paintball with BJP and it was an amazing experience. The owners were friendly and helpful and the fields/equipment were of incredibly high quality. Would definitely recommend to anyone coming to Belize looking for a fun and active activity (and it doesn’t hurt that much!).

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