You cannot exit the water taxi and enter Punta Gorda without walking right through the Immigration Building. They stamped our passports and never even checked our bags. Quick and simple. You exit the front of the building to Front Street. There is a sliding chain link fence that the guard will open for you. If you need directions anywhere, ask him.
When it was time to exit Belize, we entered the grounds off Front Street, through the chain link fence, into the building. They stamped our passports and we had to pay an exit fee of $30 BZ plus a $7 BZ tax each. It equaled $18.50 US each. We then hung out on the pier until the water taxi was ready to take us to Guatemala.
Money Exchanges and Banks
There is a guy in the Immigration Building who will exchange 2 BZ for 1 US, which is the favorable rate. If you go to a bank, it will be 1.95 BZ for 1 US. This guy is either in the building or outside the chain link fence. Belize Bank and Scotia Bank each have 24 hour ATM’s. I made the mistake of having too many Belize dollars that I had to exchanged back into US. The guy at Immigration would only exchange Belize dollars for Guatemalan Quetzales - not US. We were only transiting through Guatemala so I didn’t need any quetzales. If we had, his exchange rate was very favorable. I then went to Belize Bank and they would only exchange a maximum of 100 BZ back into US at a less than favorable rate and it also came with a 10% charge. There were forms to fill out, signatures, identification and it took forever. So... only exchange enough US or Euro so that you aren’t left with a lot of Belize dollars to exchange back.
police in PUNTA GORDA ARE HORRIBLE
Was traveling through Punta Gorda. I'm out of state. Got caught in the wrong lane and had to move ove so I step on the gas. Sure I was speeding but I got stop by officer Gari or Prez badge 410 not sure of his name his writing is so bad that I doubt he could even spell anyway. Be carefull in Punta Gorda for this guy is a jerk. I was nice to him and he wrote me 3 tickets speeding and 2 other crazy charges for failing to signal in a pass which i did signal and not turning in a turn lane. We are all human but i guess this ahole is perfect becaue obvious he does nto make any mistakes said I was driving reckless yet he drove even more reckless than I did getting into traffic and tailgating me over a bridge. Talking about a pot calling the kettle black. Watch out for Punta Gorda because thye are out to slam all travelers from out of state.
Located in the Toledo District, Punta Gorda is the largest town in southern Belize. It was once only accessible by boat but now can be reached by the Southern Highway from Belize City, commuter flights from Belize City or by water taxi from Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. It is not a big town and walking from one end to the other takes all of 10 minutes.
Front Street is the street which parallels the coastline and the Immigration Building, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) Information Center, Requena’s Water Taxi office and the open-air market are all here within a stone’s throw of each other. The bus stops are one and two blocks to the west of Front Street.
Two banks - the Belize Bank and Scotia Bank - are each one block off of Front Street. There are many little shops and eateries all around the town. Punta Gorda is also the base for many tour companies which handle diving, eco-tours, Maya ruins, boating excursions, fishing, etc.
For additional photos of Punta Gorda, see Belize 2010