Never thought we would say this, but we actually found a places in Guatemala that we don’t like (hate is too strong of a word). As you know, we love Guatemala. So much so that we decided to go back a second time, this time to volunteer on a farm and explore parts of the country we haven’t seen, such as Livingston on the Caribbean Coast.
When the word Caribbean is mentioned, people usually think of ultimate relaxation, endless coconut water, cheap seafood, black people, rice and beans, gorgeous beaches, and exotic fruits and vegetables.
So of course, you know we had high hopes for Livingston. After traveling to Jamaica and Belize we knew we would love Livingston. We even planned on staying there for two weeks. But upon arrival, we quickly learned that not all Caribbean places are created equal.
In less than three hours in Livingston, we wanted out! I know you are thinking that we didn’t even give the place a chance but honestly we didn’t have to.
Here are some of the reasons why Livingston had us packing our bags in less than 24hrs and heading back to the pier to catch the next lancha out.
1. Expensive “scenic” boat ride from Rio Dulce to Livingston
It all started with our “scenic” boat ride from Rio Dulce. After reading so many blog posts and articles about how gorgeous the boat ride is, we opted to pay the expensive Q125p/p (~$16 US) boat ride with high hopes of being wowed! But we weren’t. The last ten minutes of the hour long ride weren’t too bad but definitely not worth the price tag!
Our disappointment with the scenic ride might have had something to do with the damn near majestic boat ride we took the day before, through the Canyon of El Boqueron in Rio Dulce for Q20p/p (~$2.50 US). For $16 US, we were expecting something way better.
Honestly, we would suggest taking a collective bus to Pt. Barrios and then hopping on a Lancha for Q35 (~$4.50 US) to Livingston because the boat ride from Rio Dulce is not worth it but then again, Livingston is not worth it either.
2. The Absence of “Caribbean Food”
In Livingston, they have everything from Chinese food to Indian food. However, there were no coconut rice and beans, no patacones (fried plantain) and the bread they call coco bread, would have Jamaicans shoot themselves in the foot. Not to mention, we walked around the entire town and not a single street vendor was selling coconut water. It was just mind blowing to us!
3. Lack of Garifuna Culture
Although, Livingston is advertised as the mecca of Garifuna culture, the Mayan culture is dominating the little town. Which comes to no surprise when 90 percent of business and restaurants are owned by the indigenous Mayan people. If it weren’t for the few Garifunas you see here and there, you wouldn’t even know that you left the in-lands of Guatemala. It just didn’t seem culturally interesting to us.
4. Dirty Beaches
When the burning sun of the Caribbean hits you, you tend to look forward to taking a nice refreshing swim in the nearby ocean. But what do you do when you see the beach covered with plastic bottles or other rubbish and the water looks disgustingly brownish? You probably rather take your chances with the burning sun, like we did.
5. Everything is Expensive
See we get the concept of things being more expensive on an island, since everything has to be imported, but we felt like everything from seafood to basic fruits cost almost double than anywhere else in Guatemala. It just didn’t make sense to us nor our wallet. Besides don’t they grow anything in Livingston?
Livingston, which many travelers seem to enjoy, didn’t really tickle our fancy. There aren’t too many places (actually none) along our journey that had us running out of it in less than a day. Overall we wouldn’t recommend going to Livingston but then again, it’s just two people’s opinion.
Have you ever traveled to a place that had you running out of it in less than a day?