Homepage / Excursion Guides / Our Favorite Things to Do & See in Punta Gorda

Our Favorite Things to Do & See in Punta Gorda

Located at the southern tip of Belize, Punta Gorda, affectionately known as PG by those who have had the pleasure of visiting, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Unlike the more frequented tourist spots scattered across the Caribbean, Punta Gorda offers a unique blend of cultural richness, natural beauty, and an authentic sense of community that makes it a special place worth visiting.

In this post, we invite you to join us on a journey through the hidden nooks and cherished experiences that make Punta Gorda a treasure trove of memories waiting to be made. Let’s discover the best things to do in Punta Gorda, Belize.

Punta Gorda: What Makes It So Special

Tow woman are talking to each other Punta Gorda serves as a gateway to some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in Belize. It's the launching point for explorations into the Toledo District, where you can hike through rainforests to discover hidden waterfalls and ancient Maya ruins that few travelers get to see. The town itself, with its laid-back atmosphere, offers a unique opportunity to slow down and immerse yourself in the local way of life.

From the market days filled with fresh produce and handcrafted goods to the spontaneous musical gatherings that bring the streets to life, PG encapsulates the essence of a journey that’s as much about internal discovery as it is about external exploration.

Where Is Punta Gorda?

A beautiful view of the town Punta Gorda can be found in the southern reaches of Belize, Central America. This serene town marks the southernmost point of Belize, lying close to the Guatemala border, making it a fascinating blend of cultures and histories. It is perched on the shores of the Bay of Honduras, offering breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea that stretch endlessly into the horizon.

Geographically, Punta Gorda is situated within the Toledo District, known as the least developed and most sparsely populated region in Belize. This unique positioning lends Punta Gorda its untouched natural beauty and a sense of seclusion that is hard to find in more tourist-trodden areas. It's a world away from the hustle and bustle, where the verdant canopy of the rainforest meets the azure of the Caribbean waters, creating a landscape that is as breathtaking as it is serene.

The History of Punta Gorda

pelican bird The history of Punta Gorda is deeply intertwined with the ancient Maya civilization that flourished in the region thousands of years ago. The remnants of their presence, from nearby ruins to the continued practices of the Maya descendants, paint a picture of a rich pre-Columbian era that significantly influences PG's cultural landscape today.

A Melting Pot of Cultures

As a key port town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Punta Gorda became a beacon for diverse groups seeking opportunities in the burgeoning trade of bananas, cacao, and other tropical commodities. This era welcomed the Garifuna, East Indian, Creole, and Mestizo communities, whose cultures, music, and traditions have since become integral to PG's multicultural mosaic.

Harmony with Nature

The story of Punta Gorda is also a narrative of living in harmony with the natural environment. From ancient Maya agricultural techniques to modern conservation efforts, PG and its surroundings are a testament to the sustainable practices that have preserved the Toledo District's pristine beauty. This respect for nature has made PG a center for environmentalism and eco-tourism.

Evolution into a Vibrant Community

Throughout the 20th century, Punta Gorda transitioned from a tranquil port to a lively community. Developments in education, healthcare, and infrastructure supported its growing population while maintaining the town's unique charm and sense of togetherness. Traditions and customs are still a vibrant part of daily life, passed down through generations and celebrated in the town's festivals and daily interactions.

Visiting Punta Gorda Today

Monkey Thinking about paying Punta Gorda a visit? Here’s a look at what you can expect, some essential tips, and a look at some of the most fun things to do in Punta Gorda.

When to Visit Punta Gorda

Deciding when to visit Punta Gorda can enhance your experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty, cultural events, and pleasant weather that define this unique Belizean town. Here are some insights and tips to help you plan your trip:

Dry Season (November to April):

  • This period is considered the best time to visit Punta Gorda for outdoor activities and exploration. With minimal rainfall, the weather is perfect for hiking, bird watching, and visiting ancient Maya ruins.
  • Key Event: The Battle of the Drums in November, a celebration of Garifuna culture with music, dance, and traditional foods.

Wet Season (May to October):

  • While this season brings more rain, it also ushers in lush landscapes and vibrant ecosystems, ideal for nature lovers and photographers.
  • The rains are usually short and often come in the late afternoon or evening, leaving most of the day clear for adventures.
  • Consider visiting during the Chocolate Festival in May, a delightful experience for cacao enthusiasts and foodies.

Peak Tourist Season (December to January):

  • These months see a surge in visitors, thanks to the pleasant weather and holiday season. It's a festive time in Punta Gorda, but expect higher prices and more crowded attractions.
  • Early booking is advised for accommodations and tours to ensure availability.

Off-Peak Season (June to August):

  • For those seeking a quieter visit, the off-peak months offer fewer crowds and the opportunity to engage more deeply with the local community.
  • Prices for accommodations and tours may be lower, providing a more budget-friendly option.

Travel Tips:

  • Weather Considerations: Always prepare for the possibility of rain, especially if you're visiting during the wet season. Lightweight, waterproof clothing and gear can be invaluable.
  • Cultural Events: If you're interested in experiencing Punta Gorda's unique cultural events, plan your visit around the festival dates for an unforgettable experience.
  • Nature's Calendar: For wildlife enthusiasts, certain times of the year offer unique opportunities, such as bird migrations or the blooming of certain plants. Researching these can add another layer to your trip.

What You'll See When You Arrive in Punta Gorda

A beautiful bird One of the first sights to capture your attention will likely be Punta Gorda's bustling market, especially lively on market days. Here, farmers and artisans from across the Toledo District come to sell their produce and crafts. The market isn’t just a place to shop; it's a sensory experience where the rich aromas of fresh spices, the vivid colors of tropical fruits, and the warm, inviting smiles of locals offer an authentic taste of Punta Gorda's community spirit.

The Serene Waterfront

Punta Gorda's waterfront is a serene reminder of the town's deep connection with the Caribbean Sea. The gentle lapping of waves against the shore and the occasional fisherman bringing in his catch are scenes that evoke a sense of peace and timeless continuity. The waterfront is a favorite spot for both locals and visitors to unwind, offering stunning sunrises and sunsets that paint the sky in brilliant hues.

Architectural Charm

Wandering through the streets of Punta Gorda, you'll notice the architectural charm that adorns the town. From colonial-era buildings to traditional wooden homes, the architecture here tells a story of the town's history and cultural influences. Each structure, whether old or new, contributes to the character of PG, making it a place where history and modernity coexist harmoniously.

Natural Surroundings

The nature that surrounds Punta Gorda is immediately striking. The town is enveloped by lush greenery, from the towering rainforests to the mangrove-lined shores. This backdrop of nature not only provides a breathtaking setting but also hints at the adventures that await in the nearby reserves and parks. It's a constant invitation to explore the wonders of Belize's diverse ecosystems.

Community Warmth

Above all, what truly stands out when you arrive in Punta Gorda is the warmth of its community. The genuine hospitality and friendliness of the locals make visitors feel truly welcome. It's common to be greeted with smiles and to find yourself engaged in friendly conversations, making you feel not just a visitor, but a part of the Punta Gorda family.

Staying Safe & Fitting in While in Punta Gorda

Punta Gorda is renowned for its welcoming community and tranquil atmosphere. However, like any travel destination, it's important to be mindful of safety and cultural norms to ensure a pleasant and respectful visit. Here are some tips to help you on your trip:

Staying Safe in Punta Gorda

  • Stay Informed: Before your trip, research local conditions and any travel advisories. Keep abreast of news during your stay for any developments.
  • Respect Nature: The natural beauty of Punta Gorda is one of its biggest attractions. Always follow guidelines when hiking, swimming, or exploring to protect yourself and the environment.
  • Secure Valuables: Use hotel safes or keep valuables securely on you. While Punta Gorda is generally safe, it's wise to take precautions against petty theft.
  • Travel Insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and theft.

Fitting in With the Local Community:

  • Learn a Few Words: While English is widely spoken, learning a few phrases in Spanish or Garifuna can go a long way in showing respect and building rapport with locals.
  • Dress Appropriately: Respect local customs by dressing modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or participating in local ceremonies.
  • Support Local Businesses: Whenever possible, eat at local restaurants, shop at local markets, and use local guides. It contributes to the economy and offers a more authentic experience.
  • Be Eco-conscious: Use water sparingly, avoid single-use plastics, and respect wildlife and natural habitats. Your actions can help preserve the beauty of Punta Gorda for future visitors.

Additional Travelers Tips:

  • Stay Hydrated: The tropical climate can be dehydrating, especially if you're not used to it. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Use Bug Repellent: Protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects, especially in the evenings and when exploring natural areas.
  • Be Open and Friendly: Engage with locals and other travelers with an open heart and mind. Your experiences in Punta Gorda will be enriched by the connections you make.

Punta Gorda’s Weather & Climate

A woman is relaxing Punta Gorda enjoys a tropical climate, characterized by a distinct wet and dry season, each bringing its own unique set of experiences and activities for visitors. Understanding the weather patterns can help you plan your visit to make the most of Punta Gorda's natural and cultural offerings.

Dry Season (November to April)

  • Weather: This period sees less rainfall and more sunny days, with temperatures averaging between 75°F (24°C) and 85°F (29°C).
  • Activities: It's the perfect time for outdoor adventures such as hiking in the nearby rainforests, visiting ancient Maya ruins, and enjoying water activities like kayaking and snorkeling. The clear skies and cooler evenings are ideal for stargazing and evening cultural events.

Wet Season (May to October)

  • Weather: The wet season brings more rainfall, especially in the afternoons and evenings, with temperatures a bit warmer, averaging between 80°F (27°C) and 90°F (32°C).
  • Activities: The lush landscapes and vibrant ecosystems are at their peak, making it a great time for eco-tourism and photography. Bird watching is particularly rewarding as many species are active. The rain usually doesn't last all day, so mornings can be perfect for exploring, while the afternoons offer a refreshing break.

Year-Round Climate Features

  • Humidity: High humidity is a constant throughout the year, which can make the temperatures feel warmer. Dressing in light, breathable clothing can help keep you comfortable.
  • Tropical Storms: While Punta Gorda is generally sheltered from direct hits, the hurricane season (June to November) can bring heavier rains and storms. It's always wise to check the forecast and have a flexible travel plan during these months.

Getting To & Around Punta Gorda

A beautiful view of the beach Traveling to Punta Gorda offers an adventure in itself, with various options to suit different preferences and budgets. Once there, navigating the town and its surrounding attractions is an integral part of the experience, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the local culture and natural beauty. Here's your guide to getting to and around Punta Gorda:

Getting to Punta Gorda

  • By Air: The quickest way to reach Punta Gorda is by flying into Belize City's Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) and then taking a domestic flight to Punta Gorda Airport (PND). Several local airlines offer daily flights, providing stunning aerial views of Belize's landscapes.
  • By Bus: For those seeking a more budget-friendly option, buses from Belize City to Punta Gorda run regularly. The journey offers a unique opportunity to see the countryside and small villages of Belize, though it's a longer route, taking about 6-7 hours.
  • By Car: Renting a car in Belize City and driving to Punta Gorda is an option for those who prefer flexibility. The journey takes approximately 4-5 hours, traveling along the Southern Highway, and offers the freedom to stop at various points of interest.

Getting Around Punta Gorda

  • On Foot: Punta Gorda is a small, walkable town. Many of its attractions, restaurants, and accommodations are within easy walking distance of each other. Walking is not only a great way to explore at your own pace but also allows for spontaneous interactions with residents.
  • Bicycles: Renting a bicycle is a popular and eco-friendly way to get around Punta Gorda and its immediate surroundings. It's perfect for short trips to nearby beaches, rivers, and local communities.
  • Motorbike Rentals: To cover more ground, you can rent motorbikes in Punta Gorda. They offer flexibility and the ability to explore more remote areas, though it's important to be cautious on less maintained roads.
  • Taxis: Taxis are available and can be a convenient option for longer distances or when carrying luggage. Agreeing on a fare before starting your journey is advisable, as not all taxis use meters.
  • Public Buses: For day trips to nearby villages or attractions, public buses are an affordable option. They run on a set schedule, providing a glimpse into the local way of life.
  • Plan Ahead: Check schedules and availability for flights, buses, and rentals ahead of time, especially during peak travel seasons.
  • Stay Informed: Upon arrival, it's helpful to ask your accommodation for the latest tips on getting around, as they may have recommendations or contacts for local transport providers.
  • Respect Local Guidelines: Whether you're biking, driving, or walking, always follow local traffic laws and respect guidelines to ensure safety and a positive experience.

Our Favorite Tours Near Punta Gorda


Silk Caye Snorkel with Turtles, Rays and Sharks

This excursion takes you to one of Belize's most pristine marine reserves, offering a unique opportunity to snorkel alongside an incredible diversity of marine life in their natural habitat. Glide over vibrant coral gardens, swim with graceful sea turtles, witness the gentle glide of stingrays, and encounter the awe-inspiring sight of nurse sharks. Silk Caye's untouched beauty provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable snorkeling adventure, making it a must-visit for marine enthusiasts and anyone looking to experience the best of Belize's underwater world.

Monkey River Wildlife Encounters & Manatee Watch

This immersive journey takes you through the mangrove estuaries of the Monkey River, where you'll have the chance to spot howler monkeys in their natural habitat, along with a myriad of bird species, iguanas, and crocodiles basking along the riverbanks. The adventure continues as we venture into the serene waters known for manatee sightings, offering a rare opportunity to observe these gentle giants in their natural environment. Accompanied by expert guides, you'll learn about the fascinating ecosystems of Belize and the conservation efforts to protect its wildlife.

Snorkeling at Silk Caye & Moho Caye

This unforgettable journey from Placencia offers you the chance to explore vibrant coral reefs, teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and an array of exotic marine life. Silk Caye, with its crystal-clear waters, is a snorkeler's paradise, offering close encounters with the underwater world in a serene, untouched setting. The adventure continues at Moho Caye, where the natural beauty of the island complements the rich biodiversity beneath the waves.

FAQs for Traveling to Punta Gorda

Do I need a visa to visit Punta Gorda, Belize?

Visitors from many countries do not need a visa for short stays (up to 30 days) in Belize. However, it's essential to check the latest visa requirements based on your nationality before planning your trip. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay.

What currency is used in Punta Gorda?

The Belize Dollar (BZD) is the official currency. US dollars are widely accepted throughout Belize, including Punta Gorda, at most establishments. The exchange rate is roughly 2 BZD for 1 USD. ATMs are available in Punta Gorda for withdrawing local currency.

Is Punta Gorda safe for tourists?

Punta Gorda is generally considered safe for tourists. Like any travel destination, exercising common sense and staying informed about the local area is recommended. Avoid walking alone at night in less populated areas and keep valuables secure.

What language is spoken in Punta Gorda?

English is the official language of Belize and is widely spoken in Punta Gorda, making it easy for English-speaking tourists to communicate. You'll also hear Spanish, Creole, Maya, and Garifuna, reflecting the town's diverse cultural heritage.

Can I drink the tap water in Punta Gorda?

The tap water in Punta Gorda is generally considered safe to drink. However, if you have a sensitive stomach or prefer to be cautious, bottled water or water purification methods are recommended.

What should I pack for a trip to Punta Gorda?

Pack light, breathable clothing suitable for a tropical climate, including a hat and sunglasses for sun protection. Bring eco-friendly insect repellent, sunscreen, and a reusable water bottle. Don't forget your swimwear for water activities and sturdy shoes if you plan on hiking or exploring nature reserves.

Are there health facilities in Punta Gorda?

Punta Gorda has basic health facilities capable of handling minor medical issues. For more serious concerns, patients may need to be transported to larger hospitals in Belize City. It's advised to have comprehensive travel health insurance when visiting.

What's the best way to experience local culture in Punta Gorda?

Engage with the local community by visiting the market, trying local cuisine, participating in cultural events, and using local guides for tours. Respecting local customs and showing interest in learning about the town's heritage will enrich your experience.

How can I respect the environment while visiting Punta Gorda?

Practice responsible tourism by minimizing your environmental impact. This includes disposing of waste properly, using eco-friendly products, respecting wildlife and natural habitats, and supporting conservation efforts and eco-friendly businesses.

Julia A
Local Writer, Global Traveler
Julia is the Content Marketing Manager at Tourbase. With a passion for wandering the world, she is especially drawn to the paths less traveled. On two wheels or two feet, she loves biking and exploring locales both near and distant.

Related Tours