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An update from Evaneos

Lívingston (Guatemala)

Practical information on Lívingston

  • Encounters with locals
  • Beach / Seaside Resort
4 / 5 - One review
How to get there
Between 7 to 10 hours in total from the capital (take a boat from Rio Dulce or Puerto Barrios)
When to go
From November to May
Minimum stay
2 to 3 days

Reviews of Lívingston

Seasoned Traveller
24 written opinions

A town set apart, in the heart of garifuna culture.

My suggestion:
Ideally, find a hotel with bungalows, along with beach, a bit set apart from the town itself and enjoy divine peacefulness.
My review

Its strong and not very Spanish name almost symbolically summarizes the "separate" character of this town in relation to the rest of Guatemala. Firstly, physically, as, cut off from the national road network, you can only get there in a lancha, notably from Puerto Barrios. Next ethnically, because whereas the rest of the country has a population mainly of indigenous, mixed race ( Ladinos ) and white people from the old colonial oligarchy or more recent waves of migration, the Guatemalan Caribbean has a significant black population. And finally culturally, although not exclusive to Lívingston, since the Caribbean coast of Guatemala is part of a transnational zone where there exists a culture of African ancestry (brought over, so they say, by black slaves who fled the concentration camp-styled islands of the Caribbean): the garifuna culture, which stretches from neighboring Belize to Nicaragua and passes through Honduras, basically a large fringe of the central-american Caribbean.

In Lívingston, a peaceful and ideal place to relax, the garifuna culture can be seen everywhere: when you go for a walk, the extremely beautiful garifuna misuc (which contrasts even more nicely with the horrible abominations of reggaeton or the evangelical kitsches) can be heard almost everywhere; the typical dishes, such as the inevitable tapado (shellfish soup, fish, in coconut milk or plantain banana), are clearly very characteristic of the coastal gastronomy. In the evening, dance festivals allow you to take in even more this culture and its music which became UNESCO world intangible heritage in 2008. It is difficult not to regard Lívingston as an unmissable place during a trip to Guatemala, so much does its bungalow hotels on the seafront, its peacefulness, its calm and its blue sea (as long as it's not too choppy) make it enchanting.

View over the jetty of the Salvador Gaviota hotel-restaurant
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