Stepping off the boat in Livingston, you may forget you’re still in Guatemala. English is spoken by all the Garifuna boys greeting you at the docks, offering to show you around to the hostels. Indigenous Guatemalans are present, but not as vocal and not as open and willing to help as the Garifuna people are. The cultures here are diverse — from indigenous to Garifuna to Chinese to wayward travelers posting up in an easy Caribbean town on the sea — but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of blending, and all of the distinct aspects of each group are still very distinct. Because the town is only accessible by water — there isn’t a huge amount of tourism, although it is certainly the major industry in this small town.
There is a long strip of narrow beach, littered with trash but still a nice walk. There are tours to Playa Blanca, a pristine beach only reachable by water, but they’ll cost you around $12.75usd ($100 quetzal). Siete Altares is a two-hour walk along the beach and a recommended activity if you’re in town and want an afternoon activity. There are several deep, cool, crisp freshwater wells for jumping and swimming all surrounded by dense jungle and spilling into the sea. At under $2usd ($15 quetzal) for entry, it’s well worth it. And the walk along the beach, passing through reggae bars, local homes, makeshift bridges and fisherman casting nets the size of a bullring in the shallows of the sea, is definitely an activity to take in. (Just make sure you plan to get home before dark, or you’ll have to latch onto a local family with flashlights to guide you along the precarious path.)