Southern Belize is a land of contrasts. Emerald rainforests drape across high mountains just an hour from sparkling Caribbean waters. Ancient ruins border contemporary Mayan villages. World-class fly fishing, diving and snorkeling abound at the Belize Barrier Reef, a World Heritage site. A collection of distinct, vibrant cultures still live off the land and sea – people willing and eager to share their traditional lifestyles with you: Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, East Indian Kekchi and Mopan Mayas.Today the Toledo district is home to four Mayan ruin sites, Lubantuun, Num Li Punit, Uxbenka, and Pusilha, as well as over 40 current-day Mayan villages and one Garifuna village.
You can reach Punta Gorda by bus from Belize City or you can fly from Belize City with Tropic Air. Also if you will be coming from Guatemala you can take a water taxi from Puerto Barrios or Livingston. For more information about the times please call us
River tours, led by one of the local experience tour guides, wind upriver through mangrove channels and broadleaf forest. This gives you a chance to see beautiful riverine forests and wildlife in the comfort of a skiff. As you glide by, iguanas dive into the water, troops of howler monkeys race through the trees; birds dart from tree to tree; and crocodiles sun along the banks of the river.
Stop for a hike through the jungle. Your guide will point out herbal medicines, tarantulas, crocodiles, snakes, howler monkeys, and various birds including toucans and oropendulas. If lucky, you may spot a deer, tapir, or even a jaguar.
Port Honduras Marine Reserve, though only declared a reserve in 2000, has been under the watchful eye of the Toledo Institute of Development and Environment (TIDE) since its inception six years ago. The management system for PHMR has 5 primary goals: to protect the physical and biological resources of the reserve by creating a zoning plan for preservation, to provide educational and interpretive programs as well as developing appropriate protocols for researching and monitoring the resources, to preserve the value of the area for fisheries and genetic resources by protecting habitat through patrolling and surveillance, to develop recreational and tourism services that are sustainable, and to strive for sustainable financing through user fees and other strategies.
Visit: TIDE for more information
Within the park boundaries, archeologists have uncovered 4 ancient Mayan sites, now submerged under water in the Ycacos lagoon. These sites were recently excavated and evidence shows that some sites date back to 1300 B.C. The area is said to have been used by the Mayan’s to manufacture an important food preserve: salt. Tide has been working with Louisiana State University to ensure that the integrity of these sites remains protected.
The most threatened ecosystem within the park is the pine savannah. Due to the degradation of these forests from heavy logging, fires have become a major problem. Yearly fires impede young pine regeneration and destroy nesting sites of yellow headed parrots, sparrows and black throated bobwhites, and in turn destroyed their young hatchlings. Unfortunately, most of these fires are man made, set by hunters hoping to attract grazing deer later; the post-fire habitat provides an abundance of young shoots for the deer to feed on.
Visit: TIDE for more information