This friendly Q’eqchi’ Maya village has a village guesthouse, a nearby river, thatched houses, traditional dress, and children carrying dishes and clothes in buckets on their heads from the swiftly flowing river. San Miguel is also experiencing intense change with recent access to electricity, water, better roads, and increased educational opportunities.
During times when the villagers are harvesting coffee, you can witness the process of picking, shelling, drying, and grinding organic coffee. Tours of the village, cave, and milpa are also available. All activities are US$3.50 per hour. The Mayan site of Lubaantun, famous for the discovery of the Crystal Skull and unique architectural features, is about three miles from San Miguel. You can either walk to the site or charter a vehicle (US$7.50). The village does not have a restaurant, but meals are cooked and served at local homes (US$3.25 breakfast or supper, US$4 for lunch).
San Miguel is home to one guesthouse, run by Maria Ack and her family, who live across the street from the accommodations. The guesthouse is a traditional thatch structure comprising a bedroom, which may be shared among multiple travelers (although it is likely you will be the only one there); a main living area with a desk, chair, and hammock; and a covered outdoor veranda with hammocks.
They also provide electricity, linens, and mosquito nets, and a shower and toilet are on the premises. Rates are under US$10 for a dorm bed. The family offers cooking lessons where you can learn to make corn tortillas (xoroc li cua in Q’eqchi’), along with caldo and other traditional dishes. They also offer handicraft lessons on calabash carving and traditional embroidery.
San Miguel buses leave from Punta Gorda two times a day Monday–Saturday. You can catch the village bus on Jose Maria Nunez Street. The first bus leaves at 11:30 a.m. and is marked “Silver Creek.” The bus has a 30-minute layover in Silver Creek before heading on to San Miguel. The second is marked “San Miguel” and leaves the park at 4:30 p.m. The bus ride is about an hour and 15 minutes (the 11:30 bus ride is half an hour longer due to the layover). Buses leave San Miguel for Punta Gorda at 5:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition