TIDE Tours was established in 1999 with an office in Punta Gorda. It was created to promote ecotourism in Toledo, provide employment and training opportunities locally and help provide finance for TIDE’s Education and Outreach program.
TIDE Tours is the leading provider of ecotourism services in Toledo. It is also the leading provider of training in ecotourism services, having trained and certified over 60 tour guides. Former fishermen, several of these guides have switched completely to tour guiding and some now run successful businesses of their own.
The Toledo District is the most pristine of all Belize’s six districts. Until a few years ago, there were no paved highways in Toledo and still few tourists venture this far south. The completion of the Southern Highway in 2010 and the paving of the road to Guatemala as far as Santa Elena means that Toledo now actually has the best roads in the country. Numerous caves, waterfalls, hot springs, Mayan ruins, pristine jungle trails, scenic views of the Maya Mountains, traditional thatch villages, cacao farms, small-scale chocolate makers and more are now easily accessible from Punta Gorda. If Belize is “nature’s best kept secret” then Toledo is Belize’s best kept secret.
Likewise, few tourists are aware of the marine treasures of Toledo. For instance, that one of the best places to see whale sharks in Belize is at the Sapodilla Cayes. In fact, the local name for the world’s largest fish is the “Sapodilla Tom”, named after the fisherman whom, for many years, was believed to be embelishing his tales of the enormous fish. Or that the Port Honduras Marine Reserve contains one of the healthiest reefs in the entire Mesoamerican Reef Complex at East Snake Caye.
Fly-fishers are aware that the Punta Y'cacos lagoon in Payne’s Creek National Park contains some of the best fly-fishing in the world, where it is still possible to do the “grand slam” – to catch permit, tarpon and bonefish in the same day. The local guides trained by TIDE Tours know the area better than anyone and include some of best fly-fishing guides in Belize, such as Thomas “Scully” Garbutt, who was recently featured in Simms Magazine.
TIDE Tours continues to innovate in developing ecotourism in Toledo and will soon announce the arrival an exciting new program – keep watching this space and TIDE Tours website!