Experience Authentic Garifuna Culture with New Immersion Tour

Guests at Villa Verano have always been intrigued by Belize’s cultural diversity.  Since the villa is situated in the heart of a Garifuna village, it’s nearly impossible for guests to return home without having some kind of memorable cultural exchange.  Even though we often bring the cultural experiences into the villa, such as home-made Garifuna cuisine prepared by a local chef, or personalized drumming lessons and live performances given by our talented artists, nothing beats immersing yourself in authentic Garifuna culture and village life.  

Not far from the doorsteps of Villa Verano is an interesting locale in Hopkins called Palmento Grove. Ms. Uwahnie Martinez is the owner of Palmento Grove, whose vibrant and energetic personality engages our guests, and makes them feel welcome. The tour starts with each visitor dressing in traditional Garifuna attire, which really gets everyone in the mood to work and learn.

Visitors can wear traditional Garifuna attire.

After a tour of her gallery of Garifuna artifacts where she gives an overview of the history and culture of the Garinagu, it’s time for a refreshment!  Guests pull their own coconut from the tree, and with a little help from the guides, it is chopped open with a machete.  Simply add a straw, and enjoy delicious, fresh coconut water!

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After the break, the fun continues with the husking of a dry coconut.  This is the part of the coconut that will be grated and used to prepare the lunch – hudut!

The cooking experience is like none other.  In addition to sharing personal experiences, stories and history about the Garifuna people, Ms. Uwahnie gives very explicit instructions on how to prepare the hudut, which is one of the most popular Garifuna specialties.  Hudut is easy to make.  It is comprised of green and ripe mashed plantains called fu-fu, together with a creamy coconut fish stew. roll cloud  This traditional dish represents their love for the sea and living on the coast.

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The kitchen stories continue, with lots of laughs.  Once the meal is ready, guests sit together and eat in traditional plates, with glasses of natural juice, such as lime or watermelon.

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After lunch, the drumming lessons begin! Taught by a local musician of over 30 years, guests will learn three Garifuna rhythms.  Additional drum lessons are available upon request.

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The pickup time from Villa Verano is 9:30am, and the tour runs for about four hours.  It is a very relaxing tour, and we recommend that you bring bottled water, bug repellent, a cap or hat, and of course your camera!

With such a diversity of cultures to experience in Belize, the Garifuna Cultural Immersion Tour is only one option.  Highly recommended as well is the Maya Cultural Immersion Tour.

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