Livingston on the Caribbean coast
The city of Livingston is tucked away along the Caribbean coast, and you can only get there by boat. There are two ferries that head there every day, so you should have no trouble actually getting there. At one time, Livingston was Guatemala’s main port along the Caribbean Sea, but that was before Puerto Barrios was built. Today it is simply a popular destination for travelers in search of that Caribbean mood and rhythm, great seafood and spirited music. But, be prepared: Livingston is NOT a resort town. It’s a chance to see a local culture up close and personal. But, if the weather is nice, the people are around, and the music and history are unfolding before you – right there on the beach, you might begin to feel as if it was a resort after all.
Dining and Dancing
While you’re in Livingston, get ready for some delicious food and dynamic music. You can start out your day with some scrumptious banana pancakes and jam to a little reggae and venture out later for some of their spicy and saucy local seafood dishes while listening to local bands play primitive instruments like turtle shells or conch shells. It’s all a real treat. At night, be prepared to join in on the pulse of the Punta, a regional dance with a fast beat. The moves are a series of rhythmic shaking similar to meringue but about five times as fast. You’ll have a great chance to meet lots of other free spirited people, and with small diners, Internet cafes and plenty of scheduled cultural events there’s plenty to do.
Garifuna Independence Day
One of the most intriguing cultural events you can experience in Livingston falls on the evening prior to November 26th. On this date, the Garifuna people celebrate their freedom and reconciliation. Throughout the area, celebrations and contests are all around. And the contests are something you don’t want to miss! Teams from Honduras, Guatemala and Belize are all competing in a synchronized drill in drumming, dancing and singing where the musicians are producing beats to match the gyrations of the dancers and the singers are forced to follow suit. It’s wild and intense. Elsewhere across the region you’ll find Mayans, Latinos, Guatemalans, and Garifuna’s celebrating folkloric dances, music and stories. It’s fascinating!
The Local Spirit
Livingston is a great way to break up some of the uniformity of the other Guatemalan towns. When the names of the local tribes, and the craftsmanship you find in the markets all begins to run together, it’s time to head over to the Caribbean jewel of Livingston to shake things up a bit. You can find an inexpensive hotel, plenty for your palate and an irresistible beat. And when you set out anew, your eyes can once again anticipate and appreciate the wonders of native Guatemala.