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A Trip to Livingston, Guatemala

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Author Nick Runkle in front of Cafeteria Brisas del Mar in Livingston, Guatemala

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On a tiny section of Guatemalan land on the Caribbean coast between Belize and Honduras lies the small village of Livingston. Unlike any other place in Guatemala because of its island-like Garifuna culture, it's hard to believe that it is part of Guatemala at all. Much of its population is of West African descent, so along with Spanish, the language of Garifuna is spoken.

Coconut drink, Brisas del Mar, Livingston, Guatemala

The best two meals I ate in Guatemala were in Livingston; both being traditional seafood, Garifuna style. The first was the most traditional and famous dish, a coconut seafood stew with fish, crab, vegetables, and rice called "tapado". The second was the fresh lobster or "langosta" pulled out of the water that very day.

Livingston, Guatemala

The highlight of my time in Livingston (other than the food) was the hour-and-half-long scenic walk along a beach side trail to the "Siete Altares" waterfalls. The trail, which runs along the coastline between the water and many colorfully painted homes, allows one to really see and experience the Garifuna culture. There are many small restaurants to stop in for a cold coconut or a quick snack.

Approximately an hour into the walk, a friendly German couple sells their art and beautiful handicrafts out of their home, definitely worth stopping for. The waterfalls themselves are beautiful and depending on the season, there can be 1 or 7 deep blue pools to swim in.

After the pools, if you're lucky, there will be a boat heading farther north to Playa Blanca, a tranquil and picturesque white sand beach. In a country not known for its beaches, Playa Blanca is considered to be the most beautiful in Guatemala. If you're coming from Belize or Honduras, you may not be as impressed. At the beach, a family serves fresh fish, beans, and rice off of the barbecue and cold beers and soft drinks. The boat ride from Siete Altares to Playa Blanca and back to Livingston will cost you 100 quetzals.


A shop in Livingston, Guatemala

Getting there

A taxi in Livingston, Guatemala

The only way to get to Livingston is by boat from Rio Dulce, Puerto Barrio, or Punta Gorda, Belize. From Rio Dulce, take a scenic two-hour boat ride east down the Rio Dulce River (125 Quetzales). Boats from Puerto Barrios leave several times a day (10 Quetzales), and boats from Punta Gorda in Belize leave on Tuesdays and Fridays ($17).

Comments

travel to peru
March 2, 2012

Cheers from Montreal and thanks for this fresh and timely info, I really enjoyed reading.

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assignemnt help online uk
September 27, 2017

Livingston is a colorful and relaxed fishermen village. Livingston is the ideal place for your Caribbean experience, from here you can visit Playa Blanca, a white sand shoreline with clear water, palm trees and sun, situated at 40 minutes by watercraft; Siete Altares where you can appreciate nature and scrub down in one of the seven common lakes, at 15 minutes by pontoon; you can likewise visit Rio Dulce and wonder with its characteristic magnificence; San Felipe Castle; Belize cays; and different streams, beaches and natural reserves.

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