Lost in Belize V: Catching Dinner in Punta GordaAdventure Travel, Backpacking & Trekking, Belize, Cabins & Camping, Dispatches from the Road, Restaurant Reviews, Volunteering & Giving Back, Wildlife & Animals — By Holly C on March 12, 2010 at 6:00 am
I admit it: the biggest reason I visited Punta Gorda, Belize’s smallest and southernmost town, was because I was following my stomach. Well, I was actually following the cacao trail to see how chocolate is made from bean to bar, and there’s a place in town that calls itself ”the chocolate center of the universe.” But more on that later.
P.G. is part of the rustic Toledo district and is an adventure traveler’s dream. You won’t find big tour operators here, so adrenaline-charged activities such as caving, diving, and trekking to Mayan ruins will take more planning than it would in more highly-trafficked tourist areas such as Ambergris Caye. But the bustling village markets, lush rainforests, and rushing waterfalls all make it worth the effort.
We made Hickatee Cottages our base for exploring Toledo, and highly recommend staying in one of the four cottages set in the jungle. (Random bit of trivia: A hickatee is a Central American river turtle).
The value can’t be beat: Cottages start at just US $55 a night! The rooms are simple and quiet, and the British owners Kate and Ian are charming and welcoming. You can use their bikes to ride to town, and they’ll deliver coffee or tea to your room in the morning as a wake up call (though the singing toucans will probably wake you first). Kate and Ian are passionate about the area-full of advice on what to do in the nearby village and full of knowledge on the wildlife. And they’ll even give you something to study: A sheet of paper for recording any howler monkeys you encounter. Besides helping to track nature, the couple also helps channel donations to a local school.
And you know I wouldn’t rave about a place unless the food was delicious. Cooking is also another one of the couple’s passions: They use fruits and vegetables from their own organic garden in the dishes, and grill up seafood caught that day. Here’s a video of us unexpectedly running into Ian while he was buying our dinner. Yeah, I’d never heard of a fish called Jack. Hence, the communication breakdown.
Photo and video credit: Mike Bristol
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