Livingston Guatemala is one of my special spots I love to go and hang out for a few months at a time. Livingston is an island per say, a small river separates Livingston from the mainland of Guatemala. To be specific you could walk across this river even during the rainy season in a few minutes. Livingston has always been a sea port. That is how most travelers reach Livingston by boat.
Boats from Punta Gorda to Puerto Barrios run daily and are the only option when it is not Tuesday or Friday. When arriving from another country make sure to check in with immigration(500 feet uphill from the dock) to get your entry stamp.
From Rio Dulce the Lancha Collective holds a virtual monopoly and charges a steep Q125 one way for the pleasure of their ‘tour’ down the river to Livingston. All members of the boat (typically 12 or so) have to agree to skip the tour if you want it to go as quickly as possible (shortest: 1 hour). Normal duration 2 to 2.5 hours. It does, however, pass a very beautiful scenery on the way.
A ferry leaves Puerto Barrios for Livingston Monday to Saturday at sometime in the morning (sometime around 11:00, but confirm first) and at 17:00. It costs 10 Quetzals. Collective Lanchas from Puerto Barrios to Livingston leave all day and cost 35 Quetzals (August 2011)
Livingston is a very small town and it does not take long to become familiar with the place. The main street running through Livingston is Calle Principal. The majority of the towns shops, restaurants and bars are situated on this road. The culture of Livingston is a mixture of Garifuna, Spanish Guatemalans and Mayan Guatemalans. You have the feel in Livingston of a small Caribbean town.
Livingston has not yet been caught in the commercial tourism rage of Central America which make visiting Livingston a joy. For Hotels Livingston has the Hostel, The Family owned Hotel and then yes a Large Resort Complex. We have experienced all three and thus the point of this Travel Review about Livingston Guatemala.
Casa de la Iguana is on the river side of Livingston and just about 5 minute walk from the docks. This is a party place for the young at heart and for those able to last till 4:00 in the morning. This is a well run clean and fun Hostel to spend your time. Other Hostels exist ib Livingston check out the Casa de la Iguana first if they are full they will point you in the right direction
Casa de la Iguana, about ¾ km west of the dock off the main road, this is a hostel that includes a bar and offers a communal dinner (usually around Q35). Somewhat cockroach and bug-infested, due to its position bordering on light jungle. Possibly a good choice for those who want to party without leaving their hostel. Camping space and hammocks are available for 20Q, dormitories go for 40Q, dilapidated, dark rooms with private bathroom for 150Q. There are no window screens, so wear insect repellent. Mosquito are not a huge problem here since the local crab population eat the larvae however sand-fly can be an annoyance. There are typically movies on all day, and a local band plays drums there on occasion. The hostel even has its own rescue animal, an orphan Raccoon by the name of Loco. Staff wear t-shirts sporting the slogan Good sluts go to heaven and bad sluts go to Casa de la Iguana. Classy.
Rios Tropicales is family owned and operated business on the main street of Livingston. They also own a restaurant just a few steps up the street from the Hotel. The lower level of the Hotel has single rooms with queen and double beds. They all face onto a small garden in the court yard. These are clean rooms with showers and bath in each room.
Up stairs at Rios Tropicales are more single rooms without baths a common bath area with lots of facilities and good hot water abound. The rates are reasonable and the owners are great people you will feel like you have stayed with family as you will here Betty yelling for Blanka every morning.
Rios Tropicales Phone:502+7947-0158.From US$15,double room. This is a small hotel and tour operator with some nice touches to distinguish it from the majority of other places in town. Located across the municipality and bank on the main street, it is just about 300 mts up the hill from the dock. Offers rooms with private bathroom (hot shower) and private rooms with shared bath. They also organize excellent tours and transfers to the main touristic spots with professional local tour guides. Their services are free wireless, books, restaurant and a coffee shop at the entrance of this hotel. It has a lovely courtyard with hammocks.
Hotel Villa Caribe is almost directly across from the Rios Tropicales. This is a great place to stay with small villa type rooms each kind of self contained and nestled into the hillside of Livingston above the mouth of the Rio Dulce. All Villa have great views and are very well maintained. Hotel Villa Caribe has a huge pool that kind of meets the Rio Dulce on one side and the Caribbean on the other side. If you have the budget it is worth the price, however the food is resort food so wonder into Livingston and enjoy the food. Lots of small places with great food exist just a few steps from the Hotel Villa Caribe.
Hotel Villa Caribe’ This Livingston hotel has a private beach. Hotel Villa Caribe’s restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. This 3.5-star property has a business center and offers small meeting rooms. High-speed (wired) Internet access (surcharge) is available in public areas. This Livingston property has event space consisting of banquet facilities and conference/meeting rooms. Wedding services, concierge services, and tour/ticket assistance are available. Additional property amenities include multilingual staff, gift shops/newsstands, and currency exchange. The property has designated areas for smoking. A total renovation of this property was completed in May 2009.