Livingston – Life at the rios tropicales
Yolkobsens spent two months living at the Hotel Rios Tropicales in Livingston Guatemala and wound up feeling like family.
It was not our intention to spend all those weeks in the hotel. Our plans were to rent a house and use our time on some splendid weeks soaking up the Caribbean beach, riverside and town life in a place where, after a while, everyone knows your name.
Alas, we could not find a suitable accommodation to rent so we made the very best of it at the Hotel Rio Tropicales. We really love Livingston for a lot of reasons, not least of which is this fun, clean, affordable and hospitable hotel.
Livingston is a place where tourists do stop, but it’s mostly the cruise ships that let their captives, er I mean passengers, off once a week. They waddle the charming streets for a couple of hours taking pictures and pointing at things and then, mercifully leave our Livingston and get back on the ship to eat and drink the stuff they do at home. Not for us and I suspect not for you.
Sadly, for these cruise ship types, they miss out on the true Livingston. Here Garafuna and Spanish and Mayan culture mix in the streetscape, the cuisine and the whole experience.
Tapado, a seafood soup, kissed with coriander is a treat and each restaurant has its own version of this local tradition. Another local specialty, Guifiti, is not to be missed and it’s worth spending several weeks testing and retesting each bar and restaurant’s version of this potent rum drink. Well, we did that for sure.
Guifiti is a Garafuna tradition and it’s mostly rum with herbs, roots and spices, and often garlic, marinating merrily in the recipe. Yolkobsens highly recommend a Guifiti crawl through the town, in which you compare and contrast family recipes in each place.
It’s said to be an aphrodisiac. Or as one local put it, “makes old men have babies.” Well, you get the idea. Whether it inspires romantic inclinations or not, it’s a good tasting drink and it’s great fun to discuss the recipe with the makers. Most of them will not reveal the family-cherished recipe, but you can often taste allspice, vanilla and something a bit deliciously earthy. Cheers, Livingston.