Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous Peoples
  • It is a fascinating experience is to be allowed to immerse yourself among the different ancestral indigenous pueblos, where you can learn, first hand, about their culture, their traditions, and their languages that remain alive to this day. These are Peoples who live in harmony, surrounded by an exuberant background full of colour, music, history and legends.

     

    Forty-six distinct ethnic groups live together in Central America, with different languages, customs, handicrafts, folklore and architecture. If you really want to dive into the different Central American cultures, you can feel at home living with an indigenous family that will not only provide you with lodging and food in their own home, but will also give you the opportunity to learn their philosophy and lifestyle, including you in their own lives.

The Caribbean Rhythms of Honduras, Belize & others

This segment starts by visiting some of the village along “la ruta lenca” including: la Campa, San Manuel, Colorete, San Sebastián, San Marcos de Caiquin, Gracias and Belén, near the colonial village of Santa Rosa de Copán.

 

You cannot leave Honduras without seeing the world-famous Copán Archaeological Park. It is one of the best astronomical observatories of the period, from which the priests were able to dominate their peoples by developing a monarchic model, based on their predictions.

 

Continue northward to encounter a totally different culture: the garífuna.

 

This Afro-Caribbean pueblo is found, mainly on the Honduran coast (in La Ceiba, Tela), where you will be exposed to their contagious typical dances, their gastronomy and you will be able to participate in their way of life.

 

If you are a sun and beach lover, head for Cayos Cochinos (ferries sail daily from La Ceiba), a legal biological reserve comprising two small islets  (Cayo Cochino Mayor and Cayo Cochino Menor) and 13 smaller keys accentuated by the most virgin reefs in Honduras. Enjoy your stay here with the variety of water activities and be sure to visit Chachahuate Key to share the laid back lifestyle of the picturesque garífuna community before travelling to Belize.

 

Catch a boat at Puerto Cortes (near San Pedro Sula) for Placencia and from there to the following stop, Hopkins, where in addition to enjoying an incredible beach you can get to know another group of garífuna.

 

These beaches come to life at sunset, since the garífuna custom is to entertain their visitors with their dances, such as the “John Kunnu”, in their typical costumes. So you can spend the day enjoying the water activities and at sunset enjoy the rhythm of Afro Caribbean music.

 

 

 

Authentic Ancestral Peoples of Guatemala and Panamá

It is curious and, at the same time, gratifying to find that there are still populations that, well into the XXI Century, continue to conserve the way of thinking, dressing and beliefs of hundreds of years ago. This is your opportunity to learn more about these cultures and the countries they live in.  

 

Practically the entire country of Guatemala is a showcase of Maya culture. As you move through the streets of its villages, you can appreciate the fact that the majority of its Maya population still keeps its traditions, costumes, gastronomy and even its language.

 

It is fascinating to learn more about them, and to understand the meaning of “Maya Duality” you should spend some time visiting the department of Sololá. Although there are many options you can visit the website at: http://pueblosmayas.com

 

Start in Panajachel,  a cosmopolitan, bohemian village, where many hippies, who came during the 60s still live, with their bars, their live music and marketplaces.

 

In the morning, catch a launch to the town of Santiago de Atilán, known as the town with most spiritual and cultural fervour, in spite of the passing of time.  Here you can visit two brotherhoods that are still active; one dedicated to San Juan (the village patron saint) and the other, that of the famous Maya deity, Maximón. The handicrafts are very noteworthy in that their woven cloth, their sculptures and paintings etc., depict their way of life.

 

Continue by visiting the pueblo of San Juan la laguna, famous for its “primitivist” paintings and for being a pueblo that is improving its condition by means of the work of its population, especially among the women.

 

Chichicastenango will be your next stop before returning to Guatemala City and your flight to Panamá.

Chichicastenango is “total immersion in Maya culture”. Thousands of colours aromas and curiosities flood the streets, while the central plaza is a wonderful scenario. Dozens and dozens of Maya locals sitting on the steps of the Santo Tomás church. The most curious aspect is the syncretism between the two beliefs (Maya and Catholic), which is fused into a single belief, so it is common to see a Maya ritual directed at their gods in a Catholic church.

Later in the afternoon, clime the Pascual Abaj hill, south of the city, high on the hill you will pass the zone of the morerías (workshop of the masks). You will see a black statue, its “sacrificial stone” hundreds of years old, where the shamans of the village go to offer food, drink or flowers to the deity, while they celebrate a fascinating ceremony to ask a favour of their god.

 

Back to Guatemala City to continue your adventure in Panama.

 

In Panama City, take a tour to see how the eight wonder of the world, The Panama Canal, works, before going to visit the Emberá indigenous population.

 

This population has different communities all over the country. You can visit the Emberá Drua Community, by boat in the Chagres National Park, through the lake Alajuela, which takes you to the village of Emberá. You will be received by their music and dances, while the local patriarch tells you the history of his people and their way of daily life, passed down through the ages from their ancestors.

Return to Panama City, and this time take a flight to the San Blas archipelago.

 

Your final stop will be to share with the Guna Yala people, a truly curious people since they have a democratic political organization that has its own laws within the country. The paradisiacal islands where they live are surrounded by clear transparent water, fine sand and coconut groves that invite you to stay with one of its families.

 

While you enjoy the relaxing sea, its multiple under-water colours and activities: snorkelling, sport or hand fishing, swimming with dolphins, watching the women weave their famous molas and learning about their way of life, you will be tempted to abandon all else and join them forever.

 

 

 

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