The lively town of Punta Gorda lies in the Toledo District in southern Belize. Belize is a small country in South America with access to the Caribbean Sea. For that reason, it’s considered a Caribbean country.
Punta Gorda is the capital of Toledo District, and it’s also the district’s largest city. About 5,000 people live there. Don’t be fooled by the town’s Spanish name (it means “fat port”), the majority of its inhabitants don’t actually speak Spanish. They are primarily of Garifuna, East Indian, Kriol, and Mayan descent, and speak mainly a mixture of Kriol and English.
Although it had humble beginnings, this quaint fishing town settled by Honduran immigrants in 1823 is now a tourist hot-spot. However, that isn’t to say that you’ll find an exaggerated amount of tourists there. In truth, Punta Gorda is more of a “road less traveled” when it comes to Caribbean travel.
So, why not take the “road less traveled” for a change? Punta Gorda is definitely worth your while. Here are some of the activities you can enjoy while there:
The Toledo Cacao Festival
The Toledo District has long had ties to the cacao and chocolate industry, since cacao grows abundantly in Belize. Visit Punta Gorda in May to catch the festivities and try some great-tasting South American chocolate!
Maya House of Cacao
Luckily, even if you can’t make it to Belize in May, you can visit this lovely little chocolate museum in Punta Gorda any time of the year. You’ll get to experience cacao growing, harvesting, and production first-hand. Learn about Mayan history and the story of how modern chocolate bars came to be.
Punta Gorda Nature Park
This beautiful nature reserve is a bird watcher’s paradise. Bring your camera and a pair of binoculars, because you may also catch sight of a monkey or two, and a few other animals as you traverse the river.
Test your skills at a drum school
Since Garifuna culture is alive and well in Punta Gorda, you can take classes at a drum school to experience it for yourself. Visit Warasa Garifuna Drum School to learn about the food, dance, and drumming songs of the Garifuna. The teachers are friendly and incredibly talented. They’re ready to give you an authentic experience in Belize culture that you won’t soon forget.
In addition, Maroon Creole Drum School offers classes in Creole and West African drumming. You can also opt for fire hearth cooking classes with traditional recipes. On your way out, grab some handmade arts and crafts to take home as souvenirs.
Stay in a private tree lodge
There’s nothing like finding the perfect shady spot to relax during your Caribbean vacation. Skip the crowded resorts and high-rise hotels and bring your friends and family to a private villa where they can truly kick back and relax.
With three bedrooms, Copal Tree Lodge has space for the whole family. You’ll experience all the comforts of home, but with a fabulous jungle view.
Ready to vacation in Punta Gorda, Belize? See details about Copal Tree Lodge and other luxury villas in Toledo District here.
Main image source: belizehub.com