Touring Garifuna Communities

There is no doubt that the Garifuna culture is one of the highlights of any trip to Atlantida. This unique and friendly culture, which has been awarded the status of World Heritage by UNESCO is certainly worth getting to know better during your vacations within this lovely destination.

There are many different Garifuna communities in Atlantida, both around Tela as in La Ceiba. You can actually go exploring them on your own, and if you are driving your own car, we encourage you to do so!

The Garifuna are happy, friendly people, and they will not feel you are being invasive by visiting their communities. If you are in Tela, and with your own transportation, take a tour along the coast, visiting the communities of San Juan and Tornabe. There is a dirt road that runs parallel to the beach that will take you to both communities. Take note that if you do this, Tornabe is just on the opposite side of a sand bar, which is usually closed, so you can actually drive through it. Do not do so unless you are driving a four wheel drive vehicle as you may get stuck and spend the rest of the day trying to get your car out of the sand. If you do get stuck, be careful and don’t spin your wheels till the car is resting in the sand, get some help, Tornabe is just on the other side! Both of these communities have some restaurants, bars and even small hotels where you can stay in. Prices are very reasonable.   Other Garifuna communities near Tela include Miami, Triunfo de La Cruz and La Ensenada.

Places to Eat
In the vicinity of La Ceiba you can visit Corozal and Sambo Creek. Both are easily accessible by both car and bus, and there are several different restaurants that have been awarded the Atlantida Turistica seal which means that they comply with a series of sanitary and service standards, especially in Corozal.
Guided Tour
If you prefer a guided tour, Tourist Options, out of La Ceiba offers a tour to visit both, Corozal and Sambo Creek. This tour will allow you time to walk throughout the villages and see what daily life is for the Garifuna people, a seafaring culture whose livelihood is traditionally tied to the sea and its products. The tour will include a visit to see a Garifuna artisan elaborating drums, the chance to taste guifity, a rather bitter concoction made of roots and herbs and sweetened with rum that is reputed to be miraculous cure for all sorts of ailments. It is also reported to be aphrodisiac, so don’t over indulge in it! You will also have a chance to taste some traditional Garifuna foods, in typical restaurants, such as Chamorros or Kays Place in Corozal.

Since the life of the Garifuna is so related to the sea, you will want to spend some time on the beach, watching them arrive or depart for their fishing trips, so make sure you bring your bathing suit. Another must is some sunscreen and certainly some cash, to purchase some food, drinks or local handicrafts. You will find that touring Garifuna communities can be fun, entertaining and educational!

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