The small fishing town known as Lívingston is situated on the Atlantic coast of Guatemala, nestled against Amatique Bay.
Home to the Garífuna culture that stems back to the 18th century, as well as Maya and Ladino influences, Lívingston is marked by tradition and history. Every corner has a splash of colour, and fantastic traditional drumming and regional dances can be enjoyed during nightly shows. On top of this, Lívingston is known for its delicious seafood.
Cruise ships tend to dock at the port of Santo Tomas de Castilla at Puerto Barrios. From here, passengers can reach Lívingston by catching a ferry. Some scheduled boats leave Puerto Barrios at 10am and 5pm – a trip on one of these typically takes around 90 minutes. Faster boats run throughout the day, leaving approximately every 2 hours. These cost a little more than the scheduled boats, but the trip to Lívingston only takes around 30 minutes.
Boats set passengers down at the dock located near the main street of Lívingston.
There are a few facilities at the port of Santo Tomas de Castilla, including handicraft and souvenir stores, nearby restaurants and ATMs.
Once visitors arrive at Lívingston, they can find an array of facilities located on the major strip, including restaurants, cafés, bars and hotels.
How to Get Around
As Lívingston is quite a small town, everything is reachable on foot. Those who don’t want to leg it up the hill through the town might want to take another mode of transportation, whether that be a taxi or a tuk tuk.
Travel times from Lívingston’s ferry dock
It is a 10 minute walk to Ubafu Café Bar
It is a 4 minute walk to Hotel Villa Caribe
It is a 2 minute walk to Buga Mama Restaurante
It is a 12 minute walk to Playa Blanca (White Beach).
Currency – The official currency in Lívingston is the quetzal (GTQ). Banknotes are found in the denominations of GTQ5, GTQ10, GTQ20, GTQ50 and GTQ100. Coins come in 1, 5, 10 and 50 centavos and GTQ1.
Time Zone – Lívingston falls under Central Standard Time (CST), which puts it 6 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Daylight Savings Time is not currently observed.
Weather – Lívingston experiences a tropical climate with mild temperatures throughout the year. Average temperatures range from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. The rainy season stretches from mid-May to around October and November, while the dry season tends to extend from December to early May.
Los Siete Altares – During your stay in Lívingston, be sure to explore Los Siete Altares. Made up of 7 freshwater waterfalls and pools that lead into the Caribbean Sea, Los Siete Altares is a pretty place to hike or boat to. For those looking to get a bit of exercise, just follow the path heading out of Lívingston and venture to the final waterfall at the top of the hill – this is where the best pool is and you can take in great views from all around. It is highly recommended to plan your visit to Los Siete Altares during Lívingston’s wet season, as this is when the waterfalls and creeks will be at their highest and strongest. Rather than going out alone, try to join in on a guided tour during the day.
Live Entertainment – Enjoy Lívingston’s entertainment scene at the popular Ubafu Café Bar. Here visitors can enjoy live Garifuna, reggae and Punta music. Traditional drum ensembles boast wooden drums, and some even use a percussion instrument made from turtle shells. Hotel Villa Caribe is also home to traditional shows during dinner services throughout the week.
Playa Blanca – This is the most popular and cleanest beach in Lívingston. Playa Blanca has white, soft sand and the clearest waters in the area. As this is a private beach, a small admission fee is required. Make sure you stop by to take a swim and enjoy Lívingston’s surrounds.
Local Shopping – While there aren’t many shops located throughout Lívingston, there are many street vendors selling jewellery and local trinkets. The Q’eqchi’s Women’s Craft Cooperative is one place to visit to purchase some handmade treasures. Woven baskets, textiles and artisanal paper are some of the many goods found here. To visit this community directly, simply take a 15 minute boat ride from Lívingston. These can be hired from the docks or you can talk to your cruise line about possible shore excursions. Some of their goods are available to purchase at Buga Mama’s gift shop as well, which is located near the docks.