Ecotourism a natural for Belize
PUNTA GORDA, Belize — This place is hard to leave. It’s unvarnished and unhurried, where residents sell handmade goods, local organic produce, and experiences for visitors that exhibit the trophy natural wonders of Central America’s smallest country. It’s a new country, gaining independence from Britain only in 1981. So when it could do as it wished, Belize made a very forward-thinking decision: Lock down most natural resources and use these protected reefs, jungles, and mountains for responsible, sustainable tourism.
My wife, Lori, and I visited Punta Gorda in February. Our odyssey started on a brilliant day. We spent the next few days fly-fishing for permit, arguably the most coveted gamefish. We were guided through Garbutt’s Fishing Lodge, a down-to-earth business run by four brothers and a sister.