A Travel Noire Central America Itinerary For Experiencing Caribbean Culture
Photo Credit: jacoblund | Getty Images

Photo Credit: jacoblund | Getty Images

A Travel Noire Central America Itinerary For Experiencing Caribbean Culture

Caribbean , living abroad , Belize , Limon , Costa Rica , Guatemala , Honduras , Nicaragua , bocas del toro , panama , Panama City , Panama
Amara Amaryah
Amara Amaryah Aug 15, 2022

Central America never fails to amaze us so a Central America itinerary was a must. While there are defined backpacker trails through Central America, we know that this region densely homes Caribbean and African cultures. From Belize down to Panama, the Caribbean coast of Central America is simply unbelievable.

There are similarities, differences, plantain, creoles, Garifuna culture and things you wouldn’t expect in these Central American countries. Oh, and there is lots and lots of color, of course. We created this itinerary with culture and history in mind so travelers can truly enjoy the fullness of this rich, proudly Caribbean region in the Americas. Here is the only Central America itinerary you’ll need. A Travel Noire guide for experiencing the vastness of the Caribbean, you’re welcome.

Belize

 

 

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So, supposing you start your adventure from Belize and make your way southwards through Central America. Personally we think Belize is a great place to begin while slowly heading towards Panama where the airport is much more international. 

Belize is a small Caribbean country nestled between Guatemala and Mexico but don’t be fooled by its size! This country packs so much, it is impossible not to fall in love. The small cayes (Caye Caulker and San Pedro) are notably Caribbean. Expect to hear creole wherever you turn, eat coconut-milk based curries and enjoy fried fish and plantain, an age-old Caribbean classic. 

The Garifuna culture in Belize is proudly felt. Head down south to Placencia and Hopkins mostly, to experience Garifuna culture. Every year November 19, there is the annual Garifuna heritage day held in the country. 

Guatemala

 

 

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Many dismiss Guatemala when considering dense Caribbean culture; let us kindly affirm that Guate has a whole world of Caribbean waiting to be explored on the coast. Livingston is a Garifuna region only reachable by boat from Río Dulce in Guatemala. Many travel from Belize’s south and cross the border to experience Livingston, Guatemala’s Garifuna region. 

Aside from immersing in this palm tree-lined section of Guatemala, Playa Blanca is one of the region’s most famous beaches. Rasta Mesa is a cultural center aimed to showcase the Garifuna life in Guatemala including cooking, drumming and dance classes. 

Honduras

 

 

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Honduran culture and food has a good reputation for a reason. Honduras’ Caribbean coast is no different. The northern parts of the country and inland of the Caribbean coast is where the heaviest Caribbean culture is felt. The Bay islands, particularly Roatán is the go-to place to experience Caribbean culture. For most travelers. Expect incredible wildlife, turquoise waters and yes, creole being shouted or sung up and down the sandy white beaches.

Aside from enjoying the Bay islands, Tela is another favorite Caribbean town. Here you’l find history and national parks to indulge in. 

As with Guatemala, Belize and Nicaragua, Garifuna presence is in Honduras. Experience Garifuna culture from La Ceiba through to Roatán. The coast of Honduras is filled with opportunity to learn about the rich Garifuna heritage.  

Nicaragua

 

 

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Nicaragua will not to disappoint those looking for laid-back Caribbean vibes. From Corn islands to Bluefields, this is the place to enjoy rich coconut oil made fresh by you neighbor. 

Big Corn and Little Corn Islands are in the middle of the Caribbean Sea that couldn’t be further from the vibe on Nicaragua’s mainland. Big Corn Island is perfect for experiencing local culture, empty and pristine beaches and Little Corn has more tourism infrastructure and is a perfect spot to go diving or snorkeling. Whichever island you explore, trying a Ron Don dish is something to prioritise. This Caribbean seafood dish is a local one which traveled across the Caribbean (ask your Caribbean grandparents). Other Caribbean locations in Nicaragua include Pearl Lagoon, a similarly Caribbean island destination where Garifuna culture remains. 

Costa Rica

 

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Costa Rica’s Puerto Viejo in Límon has long caught the attention of Black travelers. The region is a Jamaican settlement with several references to the ‘Old Harbour’ for guests to read about in several places in the small coastal city. 

The fact is, Costa Rica’s lush Caribbean pastures are hugely reminiscent of Caribbean island culture. On a day-to-day travelers can expect to find a coconut milk based cornmeal porridge (Jamaicans know), patacones (fried green banana dish), jerk spots, patty spots and an endless amount of reggae. Aside from Puerto Viejo, travelers in search of Caribbean culture should check out Manzanillo (I was advised that some of the most authentic Jamaican restaurants can be found here) and Cahuita.

Panama

 

 

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We’re sure we don’t need to convince you that Panama is a perfect spot to experience African/Caribbean culture in Central America. We recommend checking out Bocas del Toro for the most Caribbean archipelagos the country has to offer. Bastimentos island has the most dense Caribbean settlement in the entire island region. Maybe you’ll get to learn some Guary Guary (creole) while exploring the carless island. 

Colon is another region known for preserving African and Caribbean traditions. It has the most African descent settlement in the entire country. 

Wherever you find yourself, we’re glad to promote and support the Caribbean coast of Central America. Have you visited any of these immensely Caribbean destinations? 

Related: Meet The Palenqueras, The Black Women Who Represent The Afro-Colombian Culture

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