Modern-day Belize is divided into six districts, and Toledo is the southernmost district. Located in the southeast of the country along its border with Guatemala, Toledo District is home to some of the most pristine sections of rainforest, a bevy of offshore islands that few tourists visit, and several traditional Maya villages which have changed little over the past 2,000 years.
The capital of Toledo District is Punta Gorda, often abbreviated simply as PG by locals. Despite it’s Spanish-language name, Punta Gorda is now primarily inhabited by the Garifuna people, a unique Afro-Caribbean culture that was recognized by the United Nations in 2001 for their music, language, food, and dance.
Located so far south of Belize City, the main entry port for most visitors to Belize, Toledo District is still treated as being far off the modern path. But the recent upgrade to the Southern Highway now makes it quite simple to drive entirely along modern, paved roadways from Dangriga. Punta Gorda is home to both an annual chocolate festival where chocolatiers and cocoa farmers from around Toledo come to show off their wares and the Battle of the Drums that sees Garifuna and Creole drum corps face off during a grueling and yet exhilarating all-night competition.
Outside of Punta Gorda, attractions include some of the finest ancient Maya sites in the country, Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun. Nim Li Punit means “Big Hat” in the local Mayan dialect because the site has several large engravings of ancient Maya rulers, including one chieftain shown in a large headdress or hat. Lubaantun is another ancient Maya site but one that has puzzled archeologists because it was constructed in a far different style than other Maya cities in the region. Instead of mortar, all of the buildings in Lubaantun are made of perfectly sized stone blocks made from slate rather than the more typical limestone.
Besides cultural visits to local villages, other exciting things to do in Toledo District include visiting one of the many waterfalls that dot the landscape. Several of the rivers in Toledo District are also eminently suitable for activities like canoeing and rafting.
Travelers interested in exploring the beauty and wonders of Toledo District can stay at the award-winning Chabil Mar Resort. Located just steps from the beach on the Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize, Chabil Mar is a full-service luxury resort with elegant villas, a lush tropical garden, and two freshwater infinity pools.
For more information about Belize and the Toledo District, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our Reservations Manager at: email@example.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.