As a Scot by birth who came to Punta Gorda for 3 months, and is still here almost 4 years later, I think it's worth giving a brief history of the town I now call home and why I stayed. Punta Gorda is a coastal town in the deep south Toledo district of Belize With a population of around 5000, the town is small, safe and very friendly. While it doesn't get as much attention from tourists as other areas of Belize, PG (as everyone in Belize knows it!) has a lot to offer, and those that stay a few days, nights or longer often grow to love it. PG was originally a Garifuna town, and Garinagu people still make up the majority of the inhabitants, but there are also large East Indian, Mopan Maya and Kekchi Maya and Mestizo citizens, as well as at least one Scottish one (that would be me, Ruth McDonald!). The surrounding Toledo district is very rural, dotted with over 50 villages (mostly Mayan, but some mixed, East Indian and one Garifuna village). The landscape is stunning, with mountains, rivers, caves, jungles and sea all in one beautiful district. The main town itself can easily be explored walking or on bike, and has a number of essential services such as banks, hospital, court, police station, bus station, immigration dock and office. As well as Warasa Garifuna Drum School, other tourist activities in town and the area include kayaking, diving, snorkelling, fishing, cave tours, cacao (chocolate) tours, swimming, Kriol drumming, hiking, and just chilling out Belizean style. Personally, as an avid backpacker traveller, it makes me sad how many backpacker tourists I see that get off the boat/bus , and take the first bus/boat out of PG - at least stay one night, take a drum lesson or just chill out in a local bar and get to know the locals, and give PG a chance. See the links page for further information on various tourist activities available in Punta Gorda and Toledo district.
The things I love about PG: waking up to the sound of howler monkeys in the morning, even though I live just one block away from the main street; hearing the sound of drumming in the distance on any given night for the latest wake, party or general 'bashment'; eating cohune cabbage (delicious!); feeling 99% safe walking home alone at 1am in the morning (disclaimer: of course bad things happen everywhere, even in PG, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend this!); seeing the sunrise over the Caribbean sea and the sunset over the Mayan mountains; watching the toucan and green parrots fly around our future house on the outskirts of town; the way everyone says good morning/afternoon/night to you even if you've never met them before.
And a million other little things!
Please find below a wonderful song and slideshow all about PG!