The Southern Highway comes to an end in Punta Gorda, the heart of the still isolated Toledo District. The town is populated by a mixture of eight thousand Creoles, Garífuna and Maya – who make up more than half the population of the district – and is the focal point for a large number of villages and farming settlements. In recent years, the town has placed increasing emphasis on its burgeoning trade in cocoa production. Though there are few other attractions in Punta Gorda itself, it makes an excellent base from which to explore the nearby Maya villages and ruins. Accommodation in Punta Gorda is generally inexpensive. For an alternative to staying in town, contact Nature’s Way Guest House (65 Front St), which operates a programme of guesthouse accommodation in surrounding villages in conjunction with the Toledo Ecotourism Association (TEA).

As the only transport hub in the far south, Punta Gorda serves as an important base for all of the region’s sights, including the beautiful and tranquil islands of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, the Mayan ruins of Labaantun and Uxbenka, and traditional Mayan villages such as San Antonio.

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