Welcome to Toledo District (Deep South)

Toledo's attractions – jungle trails, lagoons, wetlands, rivers, caves, waterfalls, villages, countless birds – and its Maya archaeological and cultural heritage are much less trumpeted than those of Belize's other districts, which makes them all the more magnetic to those looking to get off the beaten path.

The sealing of the Southern Hwy through to Guatemala has made this area much more accessible and numerous Maya villages can be visited without leaving the main road, but you'll need to delve a little further to experience the best of the Deep South.

Top experiences in Toledo District (Deep South)

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Starting at $28.59

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Toledo District (Deep South) activities

$12.50 Cultural & Theme Tours

Family Fun Indigenous Garifuna Drumming Lesson

Situated on the edge of Punta Gorda town in picturesque surroundings under our traditional thatch palapa with parrots, toucans, howler monkeys, iguanas and hummingbirds all living nearby, from the time you arrive to the time you leave you will never forget your experience.When you arrive you will be greeted by your host, Ronald Raymond McDonald (yes, his real name), an ambassador for the Garifuna culture. As you walk under our thatch you will immediately feel relief from the hot tropical sun and enjoy the feel of the cool sand floor under your feet. You can then admire the thatch while Ray guides you to your drums. Both the thatch and drums are constructed entirely from jungle trees, leaves and vines without a single nail or screw. Ray will give you an overview of the Garifuna people, history and culture, a fascinating mixture of African and Amerindian heritage and culture, and then teach you a simple rhythm on your bass drum.Once you can keep a steady beat, which most people catch on within a minute or two, Ray will then join in on his faster, higher pitched drum, also singing cultural Garifuna songs while you play. Depending how fast a learner you are, Ray will teach you up to five different rhythms during an hour-long lesson, or simply let you enjoy the sound of the simpler songs.After your lesson, Ray can also show you other crafts and plants, such as the seeds of the canna plant which he grows next to the thatch, which are used inside the traditional maracas.Throughout your lesson, Ray is willing to answer any questions and share more about this unique culture.

$16.50 Cultural & Theme Tours

Drumming Dancing and Dinner Indigenous Garifuna Style

When you arrive at our beautiful peaceful location on the edge of Punta Gorda town, there is a good chance you will see the local fireflies, hear howler monkeys, or the local frogs as the sun sets. We will make sure you are comfortable under our beautiful traditional Thatch Palapa, made entirely from natural jungle leaves, trees and vines. Once every body has settled, our chief instructor will welcome you and give you a brief history and introduction to the unique and fascinating Garifuna culture of southern Belize. You will have a chance to look at the traditional drums that are hollowed from solid trees, covered with deer skin and then secured and tightened with jungle vines and sticks. You will then get to sit back and enjoy a professional group performance by our family band, who will introduce you to several traditional rhythms and songs. The rhythms are infectious and you may well find yourself tapping your foot or simply mesmerized by the speed of the drummers' hands. After playing a few songs, you will all be invited to stand up for a group drumming lesson, or if you prefer, you can just stay seated and watch the rest of your group join in. After shaking your hips for a song or two, it's time to sit down and relax again and enjoy a delicious plate of "hudut" - a traditional Garifuna dish of fresh fish sautéed in coconut milk mildly spiced with cilantro and other local herbs, served with mashed plantain. For vegetarians or non-fish eaters, we can arrange an alternative meal.

$105 Cultural & Theme Tours

Full Day Garifuna Cultural Experience

Explore the Garifuna culture on this full-day tour from Punta Gorda.  At 9am, meet your English-speaking guide at a designated place in Punta Gorda. After you travel to the edge of the Belizean jungle with your small group, you'll be met by your local host at an open-air thatched palapa. Step inside and learn about the materials and techniques used to create the various handmade drums and shakas (maracas) you'll see. After taking a break for some fresh fruit and a traditional treat of Garifuna pudding, you can try your hand at instrument making. Make a drum by hollowing out a solid hardwood log, planing it, and sanding it smooth. Or make less labor-intensive maracas by fitting a hollowed gourd with drum skin to create the shakas. Make either traditional instrument completely by hand, as is customary in this culture. Following the morning's manual work, you'll sit back and savor a traditional Garifuna lunch of hudut, a fresh fish fillet sautéed in handmade coconut milk and lightly seasoned with cilantro and other herbs. Enjoy mashed plantain and fresh vegetables with your hudut. (A vegetarian option can also be selected at the time of booking.)After lunch is a 90-minute drumming lesson. Learn six different Garifuna rhythms as you master the basic beat on the segunda drum. Play alongside your host, who will introduce you to the faster-paced primero drum. Drum lessons are followed by an hourlong performance by professional musicians, and then a dance lesson. As you spend the day delving into the history, people, music, and food of the Garifuna culture you'll meet your host's family members and hear firsthand accounts of daily life in the Belizean jungle. At the end of this magical, musical day you'll be driven back to Punta Gorda.

$75 Outdoor Activities

Hokeb Ha cave in Blue Creek

We will collect you from your hotel at 9am and head out for our cave adventure. Set in the beautiful village of Blue Creek about 45 minutes from town, the scenery is stunning and you will really feel as if you are in the middle of nowhere! To get to the entrance of the cave you will walk around 30 minutes up a rocky trail through beautiful wildlife, surrounded by nature. Hokeb Ha is a wet cave, with unique rock formations. The water is cool and clear, and the inside is stunning with crystal clear mineral pools! A licensed qualified tour guide is essential and life vests, helmet and torches are provided! All guests must be able to swim.We spend around an hour inside the cave swimming back to the waterfalls inside! After all that excitement you will enjoy a traditional Belizean lunch with the tour guide and his family.  

Toledo District (Deep South) in detail