Blogs from Toledo District, Belize, Central America Caribbean


So, welcome to the Deep South of Belize. Punta Gorda is a small town on the east coast of Belize. It has a large Mayan population and acted as our base to explore the deep south for a few days. The town itself is small and friendly and has a fruit and vegetable market running almost every day. It also bases its trade on fishing and acts as a portal to get to Livingstone in Guatemala. on our first day we travelled to a Mayan village called Santa Cruz and went to see some very dilapidated Mayan Ruins called Uxbencia. These were so dilapidated that we couldnt actually find them and had to search through the village to find someone to tell us where they were. They were a little disapointing as it looked like a ... read more

About the only thing we were really interested in seeing in Punta Gorda was the chocolate factory. We actually drove right by it when we first got to Punta Gorda but the waiter at the cantina where we stopped for a drink gave us better directions so we headed back and found it right away. It was smaller than I thought it would be. They ask us if we want a tour and of course we do! It's a small plant, just a few ladies running the whole show. They have a cocoa plant growing out the back door to show us what the bush looks like. They get their cocoa beans from the neighbouring Mayan villages. Each batch of choloate starts with cocoa beans from a singe day's harvest from a single farmer. The cocoa ... read more
Grinding Cocoa Beans
Buying Chocolate Bars
Cocoa Bean Shells

We keep trying and finally find a car for rent at Placencia Car Rentals near the neighbouring town of Siene Bight about 5 miles North. Interesting place, a car rental and animal shelter all in one, cats and dogs running around all over the place. Ian calls our rental car 'the Banana' it's a Nissan Extera painted very bright yellow, this one won't be hard to spot. We start it up and it sounds like a bit of a clunker but the a/c works, at least intermittently. Our internet had been down for the past day so, we didn't get to google as much as we wanted to plan our drive but we decline on purchasing the map of Belize for $25 and head out towards our destination of Punta Gorda, the most southern city in ... read more
Punta Gorda

Oh hey there, fancy seeing you here! We´ve rather a lot to catch up on. Our final few days in Belize passed far too quickly for our liking. We had an amazing taxi drive up to the junction after deciding against the relaxing hitch-hiking experience that we had to get into Hopkins. Our driver was the coolest reggae-playing rasta ever, named Shaka after his instrument (Maracas). After catching the bus with the Brizzle and German girlies and meeting our friend Shakil (another band member who taught us the art of Garifuna dance) we arrived in a boiling Placencia. We had a slight miscommunication with the bus-conductor and ended up being dropped at the wrong hostel in the midday heat with our bags, nightmare situation. After a mini-breakdown on the side of the road (which lasted until ... read more

Well, I am finally home sweet home but thought I'd share one more post of my last week in Belize-mostly to share my last round of pictures. I was very sad to say good bye, but I plan on going back sooner rather than later and will forever be grateful for the opportunity. If I took nothing else from my trip, I have realized that I have much more to learn about medicine and how a person's culture impacts their health and well-being. I can't wait to have another chance to immerse myself in another equally unique environment. I was lucky to be able to spend a morning in the prenatal clinic this week. I haven’t had much prenatal experience at home so it was really helpful. The nurses here do the routine prenatal visits and ... read more

Hello from Belize! I am one week away from coming home-it has gone so fast! Last weekend we stayed at Moho Caye-a private island 15 minutes off the coast of Punta Gorda, Belize. The island is tiny, with 8 or so cabanas and a lodge each with their own beachfront and the only land between them a small path. The resort was once an up and running 5 star resort. Our guide, Roberto, said that it was the sort of place that if you had to ask the price you couldn’t afford it. $15,000 for one week! Everything is made out of Rosewood and the long dining hall in the lodge seats 30 people. We had our guide Roberto, his sidekick, Andy and three 18 year old boys that now work for the manager of the ... read more

It's our last night in Punta Gorda and I have to admit I'm kind of sad. I really like this town. It's quiet, it's quaint, and it hasn't been reached by western style tourism but liked the rest of Belize, it's coming. We have met some super people and have enjoyed the layed back relaxation we'd hoped for. We didn't have any plans yesterday so we grabbed the courtesy bikes and toured around the town. like I said, PG is not very developed and is probably the last frontier of old Belize. There are some interesting places to visit downtown. We stopped at the Cottontree Chocolate shop and factory and had a tour and demonstration of how they make chocolate. And of course the were samples :). Then we found a nice little art gallery on ... read more

We left Caye Caulker yesterday and flew to Punta Gorda. We ended up on the milk run which involved a total of 7 landings and take offs. I'm prone to motion sickness and am surprised I didn't spend most ot the rest of the day throwing up. It was definitely a great way to see Belize. Lots of great areal views. We arrived in Punta Gorda, or PG as it is locally referred to, around 2:00 pm. When you get off the plane you immediately notice the lushness and the gorgeous mountain scapes to the west. PG is the largest most southern centre in Belize. You can see Guatemala to the south and you are very close to Honduras to the east. There is lots to do around here but be sure to do your research ... read more

Yet almost another week was a busy one! Last weekend, we chartered a boat to Livingston, Guatemala. It's about an hour boat ride from Punta Gorda. When we got to Guatemala, our guide, Ishmael, was waiting for our arrival. We got on another boat and took a two hour ride up the Rio Dulce. The coast of Guatemala was so different than Belize and was super neat to see. We passed many small fishing villages and stopped in a yacht marina-two very different worlds. When we got to land, we took a tractor ride up into the mountains to Finca El Paraiso, the hot springs waterfall. The water was steaming, as Gretchen would say. We stayed at a place called Casa Rosada, which was a bunch of small bungalows right on the coast. We had ... read more

This week was a whirlwind. So many new things! We have kind of settled into a routine by now. We are separated into two teams that consist of PA students, Pharm students, Doctors, Pharmacists and local Belizean employees of Hillside. Each day, we rotate working at the local clinic (which is two feet from our dorm) or traveling in a mobile clinic to different villages of Belize. Hillside Health Clinic covers much more of Belize than I had realized and is an integral component of the Ministry of Healthcare of Belize. Mobile clinics have been such a neat experience. We pack as many medications as we have available and pile into the back of the van. The roads we mostly travel are gravel and VERY bumpy. Luckily, I have my dramamine :) When we get into ... read more

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