Picture Courtesy of Warasa Drum School: http://www.warasadrumschool.com/
There is something for everyone in Toledo, but it is commonly known as the forgotten district!! Tourists that make it down to Toledo are often more of an adventurous, eco traveller type, preferring “off the beaten track” travel and an authentic travel experience! It is a low key easy going place with nature on your doorstep, friendly people and a laid back life style!
With so much on offer it’s hard to choose, however here are 10 fabulous reasons to visit Toledo:
1. Nature Nurtures! Kick back and relax at one of the many unspoilt beautiful natural attractions Toledo has to offer; such as Blue Creek Cave, the waterfalls at Rio Blanco and San Antonio.
2. Toledo is known as a cultural melting pot, where else can you wander round the market and hear English, Spanish, Kriol, Mopan and Q’uechi?
3. The ocean is on your doorstep! Enjoy the cool fresh breeze or take a boat out and fish, swim or snorkel around some of the smaller coral cayes!
4. Chill out! You can’t help but slow down and go with the flow of “Belizean time!” Nothing is rushed, no one hurries and not much happens on time! So, the quicker you embrace the new slower pace of life, the better!
5. Toledo is known as the friendliest district in Belize! People are always willing to shoot the breeze and share some stories with a smile on their face! Preferably over a local Belikin beer, or rum!!
6. The Belizean Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world and is a World Heritage site. Punta Gorda is a jumping off site for the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, based right on the continental shelf!! Check out ReefCI, a Marine Conservation SCUBA company who are the only divers in the area!!
7. Wherever you head in the region you will be welcomed by loud vibrant music!! Be it energetic Garifuna drumming, smooth reggae sounds, playful Mayan Harp and marimba or some good old country tracks, you will never be far away from the Belizean beat!
8. The food!! Fresh, local, traditional, and plentiful!!!! You will never go hungry in Toledo!! You can spend days sampling the variety of dishes each culture has to offer. The colourful market sells fresh fish and seafood, a wide variety of colourful fruits and vegetables and exotic spices!
9. Chocolate!! The regions links to chocolate goes back to Ancient Maya days. But in present day too there are a number of chocolate factories where you can experience how chocolate is made (and taste it of course!) Toledo hosts the annual Chocolate Festival of Belize, a unique 3-day event celebrating chocolate and culture!! Its a “must see” festival starting with wine and chocolate night, showcasing some of the areas finest chocolatiers! Saturday is an all day street festival in PG and Sunday is the closing ceremony at one of the beautiful Mayan sites, Lubantuun. This festival is held on Commonwealth weekend every year!
10. Visit in November and you will get to experience Garifuna settlement day, a truly authentic travel experience. Garifuna Settlement Day is on 19th November and marks the arrival of the first Garinagu to Belize, but is celebrated for a whole week! Festivities include parades, live music, drumming and street parties and the re-enactment of the first arrival by dory of the Garinagu. PG has its very own Garifuna Drum school where you can learn to play the drums, the turtle shells, dance and make drums; Warasa Garifuna Drum school