Barranco is the southernmost village of Belize, and home to around 150 mostly Garifuna residents. The Garifuna people, or Garinagu (Garifuna refers to the language, Garinagu to the people), are descendents of shipwrecked African slaves who escaped to St. Vincent island in 1635 and the Carib Indians who already lived there. After the British displaced them from St. Vincent in 1773, Garinagu communities spread to Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize, formerly British Honduras.
The Garinagu people of Barranco still practice many of their cultural traditions. Visit the Spirit House and learn about the Garifuna religion – a combination of Catholicism, African, and Carib beliefs which incorporates the practice of ancestor worship. Listen to traditional music and stop by the cassava bakery and see how this root vegetable is processed into a staple food – cassava bread. Displays in the Cultural Center/ Museum will introduce you to traditional crafts, dress, and language.Your tour might include samples of traditional food like hudut – a fish and plantain dish.
Florencio Mes is last living subject of the acclaimed film ‘Three Kings of Belize’, after the death of Garifuna guitar player Paul Nabor and Creole accordionist Wilfred Peters. Upon entering his house in the Mayan village of San Pedro Colombia you will notice his array of instruments, including violins and a traditional harp, all handmade by Florencio.
Mr. Mes learned to play and make traditional Mayan instruments as a child under the instruction of a mentor. Today he is one of few traditional Mayan harpists and instrument makers in Belize, and has become recognized as a cultural figure in his country.
The traditional Mayan harpist will play you a selection of ancient Mayan songs that he has learnt and memorized over many years of playing, and will tell you the stories and animals that the songs represent. You will also have the chance to closely examine all the instruments and see such intricate details as the carved jaguar and snake heads on the Mayan harp. The traditional music of the Mayan people is at risk of dying out; hearing a true expert at work on his handmade instruments is a special experience.
On October 8th, 2001, Hurricane Iris hit southern Belize with 145mph winds causing major damage to nearly 95% of buildings in Placencia. Many developers took advantage of plummeted real estate value and bought land to develop properties and attractions, and therefore it is today one of Belize’s premier tourism destinations. A special point to note is that Placencia possesses the narrowest high street in the entire world!
Once in Placencia, you will have the opportunity to take some time to relax on the white sandy beach and swim or paddleboard in the warm waters of the Carribean Sea. If you fancy something a bit more adventurous you can take a kitesurfing lesson and try to get to grips with the extreme sport. There are many places in Placencia to grab a delicious lunch, perhaps one of the specials at The Pickled Parrot will take your fancy. In the afternoon, one thing that should not be missed is the excellent homemade ice cream at Tutti Frutti parlour. Before heading back to Cotton Tree you could stop by the famous Tipsy Tuna beachfront bar to enjoy a couple of cool Belikin Beers.
These remote Mayan ruins are just a few miles from the Guatemalan border, and archaeologists believe they were occupied during the Classic period from 150 to 1000 AD. The ruins were originally found in the 1920s, partially excavated, and then abandoned. The site features several stelae in a main plaza, and an unusual stone bridge, but most of the mounds and artifacts are still buried under corn fields.
A strenuous hike is required to reach these ruins, and getting to Pusil Ha is part of the adventure. This trip is only recommended for more physically active guests.
Every winter, January through March, Scarlet Macaw gather by the dozen near a small Mayan village named Red Bank. They come to feed on the ripe fruits of the annatto trees which grow along the river there. The Scarlet Macaws are a bright colored bird with large wings, and makes a distant chirp to know where their location is. It is amazing to see them hovering in the air. This trip departs very early, usually around 5:00am and involves a hike into the hills around Red Bank to find the birds which are endangered in Belize and extremely difficult to find anywhere else.
Restorative, nurturing, gentle, and slow-paced, this sequence emphasizes grounding through a solid foundation in supported supine and seated postures.
Benefits: Improves flexibility, relieves muscular and emotional tension, and relaxes the body. (Also known as Gentle Yoga or Hatha Yoga).
A continuous, steady flow with the rhythm of breath, this sequence emphasizes meditative awareness of the body-mind connection by attuning to the emotions connected to each posture.
Benefits: Cleanses the internal organs, flushes toxins from the body, and lubricates the joints. (Also known as Vinyasa Yoga or Flow Yoga).
Try snorkeling at Snake Caye now that you’ve experienced the jungle. Try a full day on the water to enjoy the other side of Belize – the crystal clear Caribbean. Depart the lodge early on our canopied Mexican skiff and head down the Moho River towards the sea.
At the mouth of the river you will turn north towards the Snake Cayes, a set of four small islands in the Port of Honduras Marine Reserve. They are protected by the Belizean government and designated a ‘no-take’ zone. The shallow water surrounding them is full of coral, fish, turtles, conchs, lobsters, and other sea life. If you’ve never snorkeled before, our guides will show you how. Snorkeling is a quick skill to learn and a great way to observe the sea life of the Belize Barrier Reef.
After encountering the marine wildlife you will have the chance to enjoy a peaceful picnic lunch on the beach of an uninhabited island. Spend the afternoon swimming, snorkeling, fishing with hand lines, and island hopping. Rounding off your trip, you will visit the ranger’s station, where you can listen to a talk about the research conducted at the marine reserve and climb their 20-foot observation tower for a panoramic view of the Belize coastline.
This trip may occasionally depart from Punta Gorda instead of the Cotton Tree Lodge dock.