Livingston occupies a tiny slither of Caribbean coast in the south of Guatemala. It’s the only enclave of the Garifuna people in the country, as well as being the extremely picturesque end to a fantastic boat cruise from nearby Rio Dulce.
Aside from its colourful streets and varied birdlife, this town is the perfect place to be among the Garifuna people and their rich culture. The descendants of African slaves who were exiled by the British following revolts several centuries ago, the Garifuna are lasting evidence of the hardiness of a population who were subjected to centuries of mistreatment by various groups of colonists.
The boat trip from the town of Rio Dulce to Livingston is beautiful. Miguel, my pilot, took me past islands of nesting birds, underneath overhangs of limestone cliffs where iguanas warmed themselves in the midday sun and finally, through a steep jungle gorge. Once in Livingston itself, I indulged in the local crab soup and tasty pan de coco while people watching from my prime position in main street.
I planned my visit to Livingston as part of a day trip from Rio Dulce. However, in order to learn more about the Garifuna culture I should have spent at least a few days exploring the town and chatting with the locals who congregated around the main jetty. This alternative plan would have also allowed more time to visit the nearby beaches, which are meant to be fantastic. A good excuse to visit again one day!