330km (205 miles) S of Belize City; 161km (100 miles) S of Dangriga
Punta Gorda, or simply "P.G.," is Belize's southernmost town. This is the end of the road, and feels a bit like the end of the world. P.G. is a quiet place with clean, paved streets, few cars, lush vegetation, and a very slow pace. Although it is right on the Caribbean, there is no beach to speak of, and the water just off town is rather uninviting. However, there are several wonderful offshore cayes within easy reach that have excellent beaches and serve as bases for equally excellent snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing. Inland from P.G., the surrounding scenery is as verdant as you'll find anywhere in Belize (due to nearly 508cm/200 in. of rain a year). The surrounding Toledo District is home to various Mayan ruins and numerous villages that are still peopled by Kekchi and Mopan Maya Indians, who have been migrating here from Guatemala over the last century.
Settled by Garífunas in 1823, Punta Gorda was only accessible by boat for decades, and even though the Southern Highway is now paved and easily connects the town with points north, there's still a sense of this being a distant frontier. As the administrative center for the Toledo District, Punta Gorda has an active market and bus services to the many surrounding Mayan and Garífuna villages, although connections are not very frequent. Most travelers do little more than pass through Punta Gorda on their way to or from Guatemala by way of the Puerto Barrios ferry. However, there is plenty to keep the adventurous traveler busy for several days, including fishing, scuba diving, rainforest hiking, and bird-watching.