Punta Gorda (Belize)

Aerial view of Belize Barrier Reef, looking north from near Punta Gorda

Punta Gorda is the southermost town in Belize, and the capital of the Toledo District. Originally founded as Peini by the Garifuna it is today home to over 5,000 people from the many different ethnic groups found in Toledo. While it remains a fairly sleepy little town except for market days, it gives travellers a genuine taste of the 'real' Belize.

Once viewed by all but the most adventurous travellers only as a gateway to Guatemala, Punta Gorda is now increasingly used as a base for the inland and marine activities in Toledo.

Get in

Punta Gorda is on the Southern Highway. Four hours by car from Belize City (via Western and Hummingbird Highways); 3.5 hours from San Ignacio (via Western and Hummingbird Highways); 2.5 hours from Hopkins; and 2 hours from Placencia.

There are several daily buses between Belize City and P.G, 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.

Maya and Tropic have flights to P.G. Tropic flight is US$120.75 each way from the international airport (as of 26 Feb 2009), or US$102 from the Belize Municipal Airstrip (cab fares from the international airport to the Municipal airstrip are set at US$25).

PG is also served by 3 daily water taxis from Puerto Barrios in Guatemala (around 1 1/4 hours, US$20 - US$25), or direct from Livingston, Guatemala, on Tuesdays or Fridays in 45 minutes. The boats will not run if the weather is too bad. These routes represent a southerly route from Guatemala until about 2015 when southern land route should be finished (currently only for the adventurous). You can use this route from Tikal by taking the bus to Rio Dulce, town, and then boat along the awe inspriring Rio Dulce, river which ends in Livingston.

Get around

Punta Gorda Clocktower

P.G. is small and walkable. The town has 5 main streets running north to south (Front, Main, Jose Maria Nunez, West, and Far West), and several cross streets. Day-time activity tends to centre around Central Park and its clocktower on Main Street, and the market area on Front Street. Some hotels offer free bikes for guests to use, and bike hire may be available through 'Mr Pops' near the University of Belize.

PG has recently introduced a new one-way system (head south on Front Street, and head north on Main Street) - watch out for the signs!

See

Do

Blue Creek

Buy

There is a Belize Bank with an ATM that accepts most foreign cards, and also a branch of Scotia Bank. The bank will only let you buy US$50 and charge a US$2.50 service fee. You can change your Belize Dollars for Guatemala Quetzales with moneychangers infront of the immigration office and at some hotels at a rate of Q3.5 for BLZ 1(a 10% loss).

Eat

Punta Gorda Market

Drink

Sleep

Street scene

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.