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Punta Gorda

Travel Guide Central America Belize Punta Gorda

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Introduction

Punta Gorda is the main town of the Toledo District in the south of Belize. Though only having a population of around 5,000 people, it's inhabitants are from a rich and varied mix of cultures, most notably Kek'chi and Mopan Maya, Garinagu, Creole, Mestizo and East Indian. The town is a sea border crossing point to Guatemala via various size and speed boats.

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Sights and Activities

Via the Toledo Tour Guide Association, many activities are on offer in the local area ranging from sea kayaking to caving, wildlife identification to fly fishing.

There are several Mayan archeological sites in Toledo District including Lubaantun and Nim Li Punit, most of which are an easy day trip from the town.

The Toledo Ecotourism Association is run by an association of Maya and Garinagu villages, offering homestays and excursions with families within each community. A great opportunity to experience South Belizean life up-close.

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Events and Festivals

November 19th is Garifuna Settlement Day, a celebration of when in 1802, November 19th, the Garinagu people first arrived in Belize in the town of Dangriga. The celebration is held all over Belize where Garifuna communities are found, in Toledo District most notably in Punta Gorda and Barranco.

Being the heart of the region's cacao industry, Punta Gorda hosts an annual Cacao Festival, more geared towards national and international tourists, it is an opportunity to learn and taste your way through the regions rich history with cacao.

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Getting There

Punta Gorda is well connected by bus services to the north, by boat to Guatemala in the south and by air to Belize City via either Placencia or Dangriga.

By Plane

http://www.mayaislandair.com|Maya Island Air]] and Tropic Air both fly to/from Belize City-International, Belize City-Municipal, Dangriga and Placencia.

By Bus

There are several daily buses between Belize City and Punta Gorda, with James Bus Line offering the most frequent service. The express bus takes 5 1/4 hours, and the regular around 6 or 6 1/2 hours. This is certainly the cheapest option at US$12 each way.

By Boat

Guatemala
Requeña’s Charter Service & Watertaxi operates a watertaxi, “Mariestela”, between Punta Gorda and Puerto Barrios in Guatemala. It departs Punta Gorda daily at 9:00am from the Municipal pier near the Customs & Immigration Office. It departs Puerto Barrios daily at 2:00pm from the pier near the Shell gas station. It takes about 1 to 1.5 hours and costs BZ$40.00 each way (about US$20). Check the Belizenet Requena website.
Other options include the Pichilingo, departing Puerto Barrios daily at 10:00am and departing Punta Gorda daily at 2:00pm. Duration is about 1 hour and costs BZ$50.00 each way (about US$25). Or take the Marisol departing Puerto Barrios daily at 1:00pm and Punta Gorda daily at 4:00pm. Same duration and costs. For up to date information check the following website.
Another option is the ferry from Punta Gorda to Livingston on Tuesdays and Fridays for US$17.

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Getting Around

Punta Gorda is small, easily walkable, though if you wish to grab a taxt these can usually be found near the central park. Many villages in the region have bus links to Punta Gorda, though some are only once or twice a week. More info can be found here.

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Eat

Punta Gorda has a variety of eateries available for different budgets and tastes, with a good list being found here.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Cuxlin Ha Youth HostelToledo DistrictHostel-
Tranquility Lodge8 miles Southern Highway JacintovilleHOTEL-

There are a number of lodges and hotels in and around Punta Gorda, again catering from budget to luxurious. A good list can be found here. Just outside of Punta Gorda you will also find Cotton Tree Lodge. For longer stays and/or botanical research trips in the area there is the Maya Mountain Research Farm (note this is only accessible via an hours canoe trip or walk from the village of San Pedro, a true jungle experience!).

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are two internet cafes in Punta Gorda, both on Main Street: Carysha Services and V-Comp Technologies.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

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Contributors

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This is version 8. Last edited at 12:33 on Dec 13, 12 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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