Toledo is an agricultural
and fishing district and the majority of its inhabitants live in small villages ....
of just under twenty-three thousand, Toledo is Belize's least
populated district. In the recent past, the Toledo District and its principle town Punta Gorda were considered almost an edge-of-the-world experience. This is no longer the case and with improved infrastructure in place, the area has shed its outpost reputation and offers a rich cultural experience and high adventure.
Punta Gorda is the largest town in Southern Belize and gateway to lush rainforest, waterfalls and rivers, extensive cave systems and numerous national parks and protected areas teeming with wildlife. Known
locally as PG, the
inhabitants are typically English speaking Garifuna and
East Indian who speak a creole dialect.
The Public Dock, off Front Street, marks the center
of town. Immigration & Customs, along
with the post office are nearby.
The Market is one block up the street. Wednesdays and Saturdays are the big market days and when people from the surrounding villages come into town to trade. l
Here local hand-crafted items from resident
Mayan artists can be purchased.
Maya Villages - Of the thirty-five Maya villages in Toledo, San Antonio has the largest community of Mopan Maya in the region. The residents of this traditional village, as well as other villages, welcome tourists and offer home stays where visitors can actively participate in everyday life.
Things to Do ...
Maya Experience - For an authentic cultural experience, spend time in a Maya Village and sample
"Caldo", a tasty Maya-made lunch of hearty chicken soup made with homemade corn tortillas. Here visitors can actively participate in everyday Maya activities such as cooking and farming;
Listen to Storytelling by the villagers.
Chocolate - Walk the chocolate trail to
Cyrila's Chocolate Factory and tour the organic cacao orchards to learn more about their historic and modern day connections with chocolate -- the food of the Gods! Experience 2 cultures in a single day with an afternoon visit to Belize's southernmost coastal village, Barranco, a traditional Garifuna community.
Maya Sites - Toledo is dotted with ancient Maya sites. Lubaantun, the largest Maya ruin in the Toledo District is know for its unique construction, being built without mortar. Nearby Nim-li Punit is notable for the number of stelae found at the site, including the largest carved stela found in Belize.
Kayak - Experience the beauty and tranquility of the Moho or Rio Grande Rivers. Wind your way through tropical forests, mangroves and savanna until you reach the sea. Be on the look out for howler monkeys and iguanas in the trees and gibnut, coatimundi and tapirs on the ground. A great opportunity for birdwatchers to see many of the 500 species recorded in Toleldo.
Caves - Many of Toledo's caves are thought to have been used for ceremonial purposes. These limestone caves are full of crystal clear mineral pools. At Blue Creek Cave you can swim, with life jacket and headlight, into the cave to visit one or more waterfalls and take in the impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations. A hike to Tiger Cave offers an opportunity to learn about the diversity of the Toledo rainforest and a firsthand view of Maya farming practices.
Rio Blanco Falls - Falling 15 feet into a deep pool, the falls make an excellent recreational spot for nature lovers. Managed by residents of Santa Cruz and Santa Elena Villages, the park covers 500 acres and makes for a great location for spotting wildlife.
In addition to the usual offerings of excellent diving, snorkeling and fishing, from PG, you can hop over to Guatemala and visit Livingston, another Garifuna Community. From there, board a "Launcha" for a trip up the beautiful Rio Dulce.
areas of Toledo District receive up to 170 inches of rain
annually. Abundant rainfall makes much of the Toledo District area a true rainforest! Best time to visit is during the dry season (February
Catch a glimpse of Maya village life - Witness jungle survival techniques -
Visit several choice accommodations.
HOW TO CONTACT US
P. O Box 180 - Cayo District, Belize - CA
International Calls to Belize -
Dial - 011 (501) 824-3101
8am-6pm Central Standard Time
From the USA Dial (512) 243-5285
9am-5pm Central Standard Time
Let one of one of our reservation specialists know when and for how many nights you or your group would like to stay in the Toledo District and the types of accommodations and activities you are interested in.
For study abroad options in Belize, see Travel Learning.
You can also add Toledo District as a part of a Southern Birding Itinerary. See Birding for options.