Toledo – Ecotourism at its Best, Belize’s Best Kept Secret…. Shhhhhhhhh!
Toledo District is one of Belize’s top ecotourism destinations, and for good reason. Often described as the “last frontier,” it comprises a half-dozen rivers, rainforests (it’s the wettest part of Belize), parks, and reserves. Mopan and Q’eqchi’ Mayas make up more than half of the district’s population, with Creoles, East Indians, and Garifunas making up the rest. The two latter groups have a strong presence in Punta Gorda (often called PG), the southern-most town in Belize and the region’s administrative center. Although travelers rarely stay in PG Town, a few well-appointed eco-lodges just outside of town will connect you with intriguing land and sea excursions.
Located in southern Belize, Toledo is one of the country’s top ecotourism destinations. Often described as the “last frontier,”
Head to indigenous towns like San Pedro Columbia or San Antonio to learn about present-day Maya traditions, music, and textiles. Discover the Maya past in Lubaantun, the largest ancient Mayan ceremonial center in Southern Belize, and Nim Li Punit, where you’ll find the tallest stelae (carved monument) in Belize, or explore some of the regions’ numerous unexcavated archaeological sites.
Chocolate is a delicious natural gift to this region. Cacao has always been an important part of the Maya culture, and today’s farmers in the district grow cacao beans for small- and large-scale chocolate production, even supplying UK-based chocolate company Green & Black’s. To satisfy your chocolate cravings, tour a cacao farm, learn how to make chocolate from scratch, or plan a trip during Toledo’s Chocolate Festival of Belize in May.
Punta Gorda – Gateway to Natural Wonders on Land and Sea
Punta Gorda (known as PG), the southern-most town in Belize, is home to about 5,500 people of eclectic backgrounds and languages, and serves as a gateway between Belize and Guatemala. Tranquil, eco-friendly lodges just outside of PG make it the ideal home base for nearby land and sea excursions. Plan day trips to archaeological sites like Lubaantun and Nim Li Punit, or head to nature’s playgrounds, such as Mayflower Bocawina National Park, the waterfalls of Rio Blanco, the caves of Yok’ Balum, and the Barrier Reef’s Sapodilla Cayes. And if you love sport fishing, PG is your fly-fishing heaven for tagging permit, bonefish, and tarpon.