Toledo District is the southernmost district in Belize, and Punta
Gorda the District capital. It is the least developed region in the
country, and it features some of the most pristine rainforests,
extensive cave networks, coastal lowland plains, and offshore cays.
Toledo is home to a wide range of cultures—from Mopan and Kekchi
Maya, to Creole, the Garifuna, East Indians, Mennonites, Mestizos, and
descendants of US Confederate settlers.
6 Indian Reservations
7 Notable architecture
8 Notable people
9 See also
11 External links
The District has many villages, including
Monkey River Town
Monkey River Town and the
Toledo Settlement, the Maya villages of San Pedro Columbia, Blue
Creek, Indian Creek, Santa Cruz, San Antonio, San Jose, San Felipe,
and the Garifuna village of Barranco. It also has a number of Maya
ruins, including Lubaantun, Nim Li Punit, Uxbenka, and Pusilha.
According to the 2010 census,
Toledo District had a population of
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The economy of Toledo relies heavily upon agriculture: crops grown
include beans and corn, as well as rice which is sold to the Big Falls
Rice Mill. Cacao is grown organically and sold via the Toledo Cacao
Growers Association to Green & Black’s for their renowned Maya
Gold chocolate, as well as to chocolatiers within Belize. The
District’s ancient and modern-day links with chocolate are
celebrated annually in May (
Commonwealth Day Holiday weekend) at the
Toledo Cacao Festival. Farmers grow additional crops such as coffee,
yams, sweet potato, chili, hot peppers, avocado, oranges and plantain
for sale at the market in Punta Gorda, held each Monday, Wednesday,
Friday, and Saturday.
Fishermen practice small-scale fishing from their dug-out canoes, as
well as diving for lobster and conch during open season. The Port
Honduras Marine Reserve just north of Punta Gorda Town is a protected
area, and Toledo’s waters are regarded as the permit capital of
Belize. Many traditional fishermen have now trained as fly-fishing
guides through the alternative livelihood projects offered by local
Tourism is an important, and relatively new, industry for Toledo. Once
regarded as an area only for the hardy and adventurous, the opening of
new tourist accommodation and the development of tours, as well as a
growing awareness of the district’s high proportion of protected
areas, wildlife, excellent birding and the offshore cayes, have
resulted in Toledo being recognized as an important ‘emerging
Blue Creek River, Belize
Monkey River Village
San Miguel Branch
Bladen Reserve looking towards the Maya Mountains
Toledo District is served by the newly paved Southern Highway, as
well as several bush roads to the many rural villages in the District.
A regular bus service is provided by Punta Gorda-based James Bus Line,
shuttling passengers between the other districts, also Punta Gorda
Town is served by several daily commuter flights on Tropic Air and
Maya Island Air and small, family run bus services that transport
passengers to and from the rural villages.
Dump-Jalacte Road looking East just East of Santa Cruz Village
Each year, during the
Commonwealth Day weekend, Toledo hosts the
Chocolate Festival of Belize. The festival features chocolatiers from
across the country as well as chocolate-related arts and crafts.
According to the project coordinator for the Toledo Cacao Growers
Association Thomas Tillett, the Association currently has a membership
of about 1,100 cacao farmers.
Aguacate Indian Reservation, Toledo
Black Creek Indian Reservation, Toledo
Blue Creek Indian Reservation, Toledo
Crique Sarco Indian Reservation, Toledo
Graham Creek Indian Reservation, Toledo
Hinchasones Indian Reservation, Toledo
Machaca Indian Reservation, Toledo
Xpicilha Indian Reservation, Toledo
Several significant ancient Mayan sites are extant in ruined form in
the Toledo District.
Nim Li Punit
Nim Li Punit is a Classic Period Mayan site
with ballcourts and carved stelae.
Lubaantun is a drystone constructed
site with ruined pyramids and stone tombs.
Froyla Tzalam, Executive Director Sarstoon Temash Institute for
Indigenous Management, Maya activist
Gregory Choc, former Executive Director, SATIIM
Cordelia Tzalam Foreman, Rural Community Development Officer
Francisca Tzalam Choc, Accident and Emergency Nurse, Punta Gorda
Christina Coc was born in Laguna in this district in 1981.
Wil Maheia, Leader, People's National Party
Pulcheria Teul, Government Senator, United Democratic Party
Mike Espat, Deputy Leader, People's United Party
Kenny Jacobs, Executive Director, Teens
Shari Williams, Queen of the Bay 1998
Jahrine Avila, Queen of the Bay 2013
Fern Gutierrez, Punta Gorda Mayor, United Democratic Party
Hon. Eden Martinez, former Area Rep. Minister of Social Transformation
Hon. Juan Coy, former Minister of State
The Forgotten District, a documentary film about ecotourism in Toledo
^ "Preliminary Findings of 2010 Census" (PDF). Statistical Institute
Chocolate Festival of Belize". The Toledo Howler. 6 (2): 1.
2013. access-date= requires url= (help)
^ Jones, Patrick.Toledo Celebrates Cacoa Festival. "Breaking Belize
Belize Media Group News)." 25 May 2014 (retrieved 25 May 2014)
^ Nim Li Punit, published by the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan,
Belize, Project ACP-RPR 544, Cubola Productions, March, 1999
^ C.Michael Hogan, Lubaantun, 2007, The Megalithic Portal, editor: A.
Belize Community—Cristina Coc". San Pedro Town, Belize: The
San Pedro Sun. 10 January 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March
2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
Official website - with maps and area attractions
Toledo District at belize.fm
The Toledo Howler - quarterly newspaper published by the BTIA Toledo
How to Cook a Tapir - a
Belize memoir, documenting the author's
year-long working honeymoon in the Toledo District
Treehouse Perspectives - Living High on Little - the story of the
Salisbury family's move and new life in Punta Gorda
Governmental influence on ecotourism in Toledo - Influence or
Districts of Belize
Coordinates: 16°20′N 88°45′W / 16.333°N 88.750°W /