• Kumquat Cottage couldn't be more perfectly located (see MAP); close to all town amenities yet isolated near a quiet neighborhood road. The yellow spot on the photo above shows how close it is to the pure waters of the Macal River where you can canoe or swim to your heart's delight. It is nestled halfway up a decent-sized walkable hill so you earn a good view from the house but it is not so far as to prevent you from doing it several times a day. It is about midway between the Police Station and the San Ignacio Resort Hotel and nowhere near as far as, say, Cahal Pech Resort.
The street address is:
3 Melhado Street, San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize.
• Minnesota musicians Philip Blackburn and Preston Wright fell in love with Belize in 2003. We bought some jungle acreage to make into a sculpture park and ecological paradise but later realized it would be so much easier to have a pied a terre in town and commute to the bush for fun; hence the cottage. We are far from early retirement but are moving ahead on all fronts until such time as we quit snow country.
• The cayes are sublime but we get bored of beaches after a couple of days; we find the Cayo region an incredibly rich place to spend a lot of time. San Ignacio is a center for all kinds of tours, a haven for archaeologists, and a diverse, friendly place to hang out in away from the typical tourist meccas. Don't let its shabbiness fool you.
We enjoy spending time with the locals, eating at the amazing Flayva's, Serendib, Elvira's and Erva's, exploring the ruins at Cahal Pech, Xunantunich, Tikal, Pacbitun, and Caracol; walking around Poustinia Land Art Park; spelunking any number of caves; visiting the butterfly farms; and doing the idyllic and almost-mythic waterfall thing.
See the links page for some more area info.
• San Ignacio is in the foothills of the Maya Mountains, about 70 miles inland and about 12 miles from the border with Guatemala. It is surrounded by hills and is near the confluence of the Macal, Mopan, and Belize rivers. With Santa Elena next door, it boasts a population of about 25,000 and is the fastest growing town in Belize. Its population is wonderfully diverse: Creole, Mestizo, Maya, Mennonite, Garifuna, Chinese, Middle Eastern, East Indian, some European and North Americans. English is the official language of the former British Honduras (thanks to the British Empire's appetite for logwood, mahogany and chicle).
Bugs are less prevalent than in other lower-lying areas of Belize (or indeed Minnesota). And we don't get any of those pesky coastal sandflies.
If you are arriving at the Belize City Airport we suggest you make the trip hassle free by booking the private Belize Shuttle service right to the door of Kumquat.
• Bring a sense of adventure, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, a hat, fresh batteries, light washable clothing (including long sleeve shirts), water bottle (though the tap water is fine to drink, always carry more with you), US and Belizean dollars. If you have a lot of US cash to change ask about getting a better exchange rate than the official 2:1. There are a few ATM machines on Burns Avenue (not to be confused with ATM for Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, an essential tour).
• The house is built on a moderate slope; there is gravel on the staircase and several steps inside the house. People on crutches would be OK but wheelchairs are not recommended; there is a reason the ancient Maya did not use wheels in this climate...
• Kumquat Cottage, like everything in tropical climates, is a work in progress; we always have plans to tweak, trim and maintain. We will try and keep any construction interference to a minimum during your stay.
• We just love them; pop a kumquat into your mouth and savor the citrus explosion that follows. We have two kumquat trees growing on the property; when they mature in a couple of years there will be enough for everybody, including the toucans and parrots.
• How can a 1 bedroom house accommodate more than 2 people? It all depends on your familiarity with each other. There are basically three zones around the house that can be used as sleeping areas with varying degrees of privacy: The bedroom (king size bed), the living room (queen size sofa bed), and the dining room (foldout beanbag king size mattress). Thus up to 3 couples can coexist peacefully. There are even 2 extra (single) camp cots if you need more. The price for the house is the same no matter how many people, so there is a direct proportion between savings and crowdedness.