Toledo, the southernmost district of Belize, is the least populated and most unspoilt. Mayan culture in Belize is strongest in the south where there are around sixty Mayan villages. Guests can visit a Mayan home where they learn to hand grind corn, make tortillas over an open fire and share a drink of cacao (cocoa) prepared in the traditional way.
An increasing number of farmers are planting organic cacao for export to the UK where it is made into Mayan Gold chocolate by Green and Black an organic and Fairtrade producer. Visit an organic cacao plantation and see how the cacao is cared for, harvested and dried and fermented before shipment. Hear how this revival of cacao growing is affecting the lives of local farmers and their families and how inter-planting with trees such as allspice and coffee can provide a second cash crop.
The two major Mayan sites in Toledo are Lubaantun and Nim Li Punit. Lubaantun, near the Mayan village of San Pedro Colombia, is a Late Classic ceremonial center where the famous (or infamous!) crystal skull was found by the daughter of archaeologist F.A. Mitchell-Hedges in 1926. Nim Li Punit, a few miles north of Big Falls, is most famous for its collection of sculpted stelae. Both sites have been partially excavated but much remains to be discovered and both locations are within eight miles of The Lodge at Big Falls. Other minor sites in the area include Uxbenka and Pusilha, where research and excavation continues each year during the dry season.
There are also Mayan sites along the coast and on several offshore cayes, where the ground is strewn with pottery chards and obsidian blades. The importance of this region to the ancient Mayans is very much in evidence. All these sites can be visited by boat from Punta Gorda.
Toledo is the home to great Maya Mountains and this is where the Rainforest of Belize and lush jungle of Belize are awaiting for you to discover.
Feature Toledo Resort
The Lodge At Big Falls
Big Falls Village, Toledo
Hopkins Bay is a luxury Belize beach resort ideally situated on the Caribbean Sea near the Garifuna village of Hopkins in the Stann Creek District.
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