south of Belize

The Strange Life in the Black Caribbean Sun


Unusual bathing
Outsiders relax on a beach on the peninsula of Placencia.
Fuel Pontoon
Pontoon that leads to a nautical fuel station in Placencia.
One more Cayo
One of the countless cayos off the mainland of Belize.
Westwind Hotel
A sign indicates the existence of vacancies in a modest hotel in Piacenza.
Sold out
Passengers on a speedboat traveling between mainland Belize and an offshore cayo.
Shaded chair
A chair in the well-drawn shadow of a coconut tree almost over the sea.
Way home
Mayan sellers travel by boat between Placencia and the mainland coast of southern Belize.
green caribbean
Snorkeler buoys in translucent water next to the second largest barrier reef in the world.
Great Caribbean
Belizeans follow the nautical action from an elevated dock.
Landing only for one
Pelican reheats on a post lost in the Caribbean Sea.
PG's little brothers
Two young residents of Punta Gorda are waiting for their parents to return from the post office.
tropical rest
Guest relax in the pool of one of the seaside resorts between Seine Bight and Piacenza.
Yooo, man.
Belizean is getting ready to leave the post office in Punta Gorda, the southernmost city in Belize.
blue sea and coconut trees
A cayo full of coconut trees off the peninsula of Piacenza.
A Brewer's Landing
Worker prepares to unload beer crates from a boat to a pub in Piacenza.
A Brewer's Landing
Worker unloads crates of beer from a boat to a pub in Piacenza.

On the way to Guatemala, we see how the proscribed existence of the Garifuna people, descendants of African slaves and Arawak Indians, contrasts with that of several much more airy bathing areas.

The vehicle's importers had not even bothered to repaint it, as was happening all over Central America. The old former US school bus hummed along the Hummingbird Highway that linked Belmopan's mysterious capital, Dandriga, a no less peculiar town already perched on the Caribbean Sea. The driver talked to passengers the entire trip and seemed to maintain the dizzying speed from a kind of brain autopilot that only turned off to pick up passengers. Even so, we arrived shortly after sunset, already late to catch a call to the south. "Here's our dandriga, fellas” announced the driver in the inevitable cavernous ragga voice as he opened the doors of the tan-yellow bus. "Love it or Leave it!"

It was under the twilight precipitation that we were able to appreciate its main street, full of shops of adventurous and opportunistic Chinese families, decorated by the headquarters of the two main political parties in Belize, among various other businesses and institutions. Around the centre, a poorly littered domain of prefabricated one-storey houses and among coconut trees give way, in a centrifugal way, to more and more stilted stilts.

Elderly people and children in their care listen to the telephone on the worn out porches of their homes. Under stakes that support others, groups of black men and teenagers maintain convivialities, games, or businesses as intriguing as the unlikely African Central America around them.

As we approach the humble inn where we were going to stay, tropical chords of Garifuna music increase in volume that seem to come from Guinea-Bissau or even Cape Verde. The historical origins of many of the residents – they were also curious about our incursion in those non-touristy places – was not very far away but was lost in time and in the complexity of the diasporas suffered by those people.

In the 2500th century, the Caribbean from the delta of the Orinoco River dominated Saint Vincent and several other small Antilles. The first genetic confluence that generated the Garifunas took place when a slave ship allegedly coming from Nigeria sank. The natives rescued many of the survivors, took them to Saint Vincent and gave them women, as it was taboo in their tribes for men not to have mates. However, the French and the English disputed Saint Vincent and the Antilles. Countless conflicts later, at the top, the British ended up separating the “pure” caribs from those already mixed with former African slaves. They determined that the latter, more independenceists, were dangerous and exiled some XNUMX of the newly named black Caribbean survivors on the now Honduran island of Roatan. Roatan proved too small for the new inhabitants. 

These soon asked the Hispanic authorities to welcome them to the continent. The Spaniards thanked the free labor and the Garifunas settled in the lands that are now Belizean, Honduran, Nicaraguan and Guatemalan through which we were traveling.

The next morning, we shared Dandriga with several hundred of the 7% of Garifuna Belizeans identifiable by their more African than Indian looks and their much more Indian than African commonplace language they use if other compatriots or outsiders do not force them to resort to Spanish or English Creole.

"You just have to go to the end of this street and take a right!" we think it explains to us, in an almost imperceptible and angry Creole, the native of a somewhat reddish black who, around noon the next day, we asked where the buses to Placencia departed.

Proud and somewhat irascible, Belize's Garifunas are not lacking in reasons to be revolted. Their communities are present almost only in the south of the nation, by decree of a British governor of what would become British Honduras. This XNUMXth-century decree determined that the Garifuna would have to stick to the “bottom” of the territory, in practice so as not to mix and destabilize Belizean slaves of only African origin.

Last September, the Dandriga community came together behind the official representation of their Mayor Gilbert Swazo. They took the opportunity to accuse the country's prime minister of pettiness and remind him of the discrimination they have long been victims of, all triggered by a manager of the First Caribbean International Bank having banned the use of the Garifuna language in the bank's local branch.

Other reactions proved to be much more mediatic. Shortly after the world premiere of the saga “Pirates of the Caribbean”, the Garifunas joined the Caribbeans of Saint Vincent, Dominica and Trinidad in protest against Disney for the sequel introducing them to the world as cannibals, without which, in their view , for this there are historical foundations.

Irony of irony, many Hollywood millionaires use and abuse Belize as a bathing playground. As a rule, their incursions were along the northern coast closest to the second largest barrier reef in the world. But, with time and competition, they spread to the long peninsula of Placencia, where we have moved in the meantime.

At first, this which is the most privileged coastline in Belize almost only welcomed backpackers. Until famous personalities such as Francis Ford Coppola discovered it and began to invest there in private homes and exquisite resorts where the damage caused by the many devastating hurricanes that pass through there were demanding major repairs.

We walk the beach from end to end and take a look at the Blancaneaux' Turtle Inn that the director bought and remodeled to offer his followers an alternative of equal luxury to another one. resort Coppola brand on a northern cayo (islet).

We did not detect garifunas enjoying the vast sands between the village of Seine Bight and Placencia. Instead, American and Canadian vacationers stroll and board, staffed by local guides and helmsmen, on short snorkeling excursions in the crystal clear waters offshore, or on other shark-whale shark diving excursions in the barrier reef that is some 30km away.

But this is not the time for whale sharks, and the others are too unpredictable predators for our tastes. Guaranteed the dose of maritime relaxation we were longing for, we retrieved our backpacks at the headquarters of one such Ocean Motion and got into a boat full of Mayan women who were returning home from another day of selling their handicrafts among gringos. During most of the trip, a girl follows all the movements of our, for her fascinating, photographic action, in front of the mother who is breastfeeding her youngest child. After disembarking and an additional four hours by bus, we arrived at PG, so the Belizeans have less work to pronounce on the town of Punta Gorda.

We had reached the southern edge of Belize and the damp and jungle perpetuated an alliance that no investor had yet managed to break. We were once again in Black Caribbean territory, but the location on the border with its southern neighbor gave the village a strong Belizean multiethnicity. On these sides, Americans, British and Canadians who teach or work in humanitarian organizations coexist. In much larger numbers, Belizeans Creoles, Chinese, Indians, Maya Kekchi and Mopan. We still slept a night in the peace of cosmopolitan PG. At dawn, we sailed first to Livingston, then to the Dulce River, both sheltered in a luxuriant marine nook that was already Guatemalan but, for a while longer, still Garifuna.

Island of Goreia, Senegal

A Slave Island of Slavery

Were several millions or just thousands of slaves passing through Goreia on their way to the Americas? Whatever the truth, this small Senegalese island will never be freed from the yoke of its symbolism.”

Amberris Caye, Belize

Belize's Playground

Madonna sang it as La Isla Bonita and reinforced the motto. Today, neither hurricanes nor political strife discourage VIP and wealthy vacationers from enjoying this tropical getaway.

Lake Cocibolca, Nicaragua

sea, sweet sea

Indigenous Nicaraguans treated the largest lake in Central America as Cocibolca. On the volcanic island of Ometepe, we realized why the term the Spaniards converted to Mar Dulce made perfect sense.

Cahuita, Costa Rica

Dreadlocked Costa Rica

Traveling through Central America, we explore a Costa Rican coastline as much as the Caribbean. In Cahuita, Pura Vida is inspired by an eccentric faith in Jah and a maddening devotion to cannabis.
Corn Islands - Islas del Maíz , Nicaragua

pure caribbean

Perfect tropical settings and genuine local life are the only luxuries available in the so-called Corn Islands or Corn Islands, an archipelago lost in the Central American confines of the Caribbean Sea.
Antigua (Antilles), Guatemala

Hispanic Guatemala, the Antigua Fashion

In 1743, several earthquakes razed one of the most charming pioneer colonial cities in the Americas. Antigua has regenerated but preserves the religiosity and drama of its epic-tragic past.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
Safari
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.
Muktinath to Kagbeni, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Kagbeni
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 14th - Muktinath to Kagbeni, Nepal

On the Other Side of the Pass

After the demanding crossing of Thorong La, we recover in the cozy village of Muktinath. The next morning we proceed back to lower altitudes. On the way to the ancient kingdom of Upper Mustang and the village of Kagbeni that serves as its gateway.
hacienda mucuyche, Yucatan, Mexico, canal
Architecture & Design
Yucatan, Mexico

Among Haciendas and Cenotes, through the History of Yucatan

Around the capital Merida, for every old hacienda henequenera there's at least one cenote. As happened with the semi-recovered Hacienda Mucuyché, together, they form some of the most sublime places in southeastern Mexico.

Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
Adventure
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
Indigenous Crowned
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

Behind the Venezuela Andes. Fiesta Time.

In 1619, the authorities of Mérida dictated the settlement of the surrounding territory. The order resulted in 19 remote villages that we found dedicated to commemorations with caretos and local pauliteiros.
View of Serra do Cume, Terceira Island, Unique Azores
Cities
Terceira Island, Azores

Terceira Island: Journey through a Unique Archipelago of the Azores

It was called the Island of Jesus Christ and has radiated, for a long time, the cult of the Holy Spirit. It houses Angra do Heroísmo, the oldest and most splendid city in the archipelago. These are just two examples. The attributes that make Terceira island unique are endless.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Meal
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Maiko during cultural show in Nara, Geisha, Nara, Japan
Culture
Kyoto, Japan

Survival: The Last Geisha Art

There have been almost 100 but times have changed and geishas are on the brink of extinction. Today, the few that remain are forced to give in to Japan's less subtle and elegant modernity.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Sport
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
very coarse salt
Traveling
Salta and Jujuy, Argentina

Through the Highlands of Deep Argentina

A tour through the provinces of Salta and Jujuy takes us to discover a country with no sign of the pampas. Vanished in the Andean vastness, these ends of the Northwest of Argentina have also been lost in time.
Dunes of Bazaruto Island, Mozambique
Ethnic
bazaruto, Mozambique

The Inverted Mirage of Mozambique

Just 30km off the East African coast, an unlikely but imposing erg rises out of the translucent sea. Bazaruto it houses landscapes and people who have lived apart for a long time. Whoever lands on this lush, sandy island soon finds himself in a storm of awe.
Sunset, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio

days like so many others

Serra do Mar train, Paraná, airy view
History
Curitiba a Morretes, Paraná, Brazil

Down Paraná, on Board the Train Serra do Mar

For more than two centuries, only a winding and narrow road connected Curitiba to the coast. Until, in 1885, a French company opened a 110 km railway. We walked along it to Morretes, the final station for passengers today. 40km from the original coastal terminus of Paranaguá.
Savai'i, Samoa, Polynesian island. South Pacific, Safotu Church
Islands
Savai’i, Samoa

The Great Samoa

Upolu is home to the capital and much of the tourist attention. On the other side of the Apolima strait, the also volcanic Savai'i is the largest and highest island in the archipelago of Samoa and the sixth in the immense Polynesia. Samoans praise her authenticity so much that they consider her the soul of the nation.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Winter White
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
On the Crime and Punishment trail, St. Petersburg, Russia, Vladimirskaya
Literature
Saint Petersburg, Russia

On the Trail of "Crime and Punishment"

In St. Petersburg, we cannot resist investigating the inspiration for the base characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky's most famous novel: his own pities and the miseries of certain fellow citizens.
Barrancas del Cobre, Chihuahua, Rarámuri woman
Nature
Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon), Chihuahua, Mexico

The Deep Mexico of the Barrancas del Cobre

Without warning, the Chihuahua highlands give way to endless ravines. Sixty million geological years have furrowed them and made them inhospitable. The Rarámuri indigenous people continue to call them home.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Autumn
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Howler Monkey, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Natural Parks
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea

After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.
Jeep crosses Damaraland, Namibia
UNESCO World Heritage
Damaraland, Namíbia

Namibia On the Rocks

Hundreds of kilometers north of Swakopmund, many more of Swakopmund's iconic dunes Sossuvlei, Damaraland is home to deserts interspersed with hills of reddish rock, the highest mountain and ancient rock art of the young nation. the settlers South Africans they named this region after the Damara, one of the Namibian ethnic groups. Only these and other inhabitants prove that it remains on Earth.
Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
Characters
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mangrove between Ibo and Quirimba Island-Mozambique
Beaches
Ibo Island a Quirimba IslandMozambique

Ibo to Quirimba with the Tide

For centuries, the natives have traveled in and out of the mangrove between the island of Ibo and Quirimba, in the time that the overwhelming return trip from the Indian Ocean grants them. Discovering the region, intrigued by the eccentricity of the route, we follow its amphibious steps.
Glamor vs Faith
Religion
Goa, India

The Last Gasp of the Goan Portugality

The prominent city of Goa already justified the title of “rome of the east” when, in the middle of the XNUMXth century, epidemics of malaria and cholera led to its abandonment. The New Goa (Pangim) for which it was exchanged became the administrative seat of Portuguese India but was annexed by the Indian Union of post-independence. In both, time and neglect are ailments that now make the Portuguese colonial legacy wither.
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

No way to travel is as repetitive and enriching as going on rails. Climb aboard these disparate carriages and trains and enjoy the best scenery in the world on Rails.
city ​​hall, capital, oslo, norway
Society
Oslo, Norway

A Overcapitalized Capital

One of Norway's problems has been deciding how to invest the billions of euros from its record-breaking sovereign wealth fund. But even immoderate resources don't save Oslo from its social inconsistencies.
Ditching, Alaska Fashion Life, Talkeetna
Daily life
Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna's Alaska-Style Life

Once a mere mining outpost, Talkeetna rejuvenated in 1950 to serve Mt. McKinley climbers. The town is by far the most alternative and most captivating town between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Tombolo and Punta Catedral, Manuel António National Park, Costa Rica
Wildlife
PN Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Costa Rica's Little-Big National Park

The reasons for the under 28 are well known national parks Costa Ricans have become the most popular. The fauna and flora of PN Manuel António proliferate in a tiny and eccentric patch of jungle. As if that wasn't enough, it is limited to four of the best typical beaches.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.