The Southern Highway comes to an end in PUNTA GORDA (commonly known as "PG"), the heart of still-isolated Toledo District – until recently, a hard-to-reach area largely overlooked by planners and developers. Access is much easier now that the majority of the Southern Highway is paved, and visitors who make it out here can reward themselves by spending a few days at the inland Maya villages, with a way of life far removed from that of greater Belize. Punta Gorda's position on low cliffs means that cooling sea breezes reduce the worst of the heat and, though this is undeniably the wettest part of Belize, with trees heavy with mosses and bromeliads, most of the extra rain falls at night, leaving the daytime no wetter than, say, Cayo District.
The town has a population of around six thousand, including Garifuna, Maya, East Indians, Creoles and some Lebanese and Chinese, and is the business centre for a large number of nearby villages and farming settlements. The busiest day is Saturday, when people from the surrounding villages come into town to trade. Despite a recent minor building boom, Punta Gorda remains a small, unhurried and hassle-free town.