Casa de la Iguana offers a wide range of accommodation, delicious family style dinners, really interesting activities and expeditions, and the best parties in town. The hostel is situated in a chilled Caribbean town; Livingston has a uniquely different vibe from the rest of Guatemala.
We are more than just a place to stay. We want to help you have a really memorable time in Livingston. We want to help you discover its secrets, make great new friends and have the time of your life.
The atmosphere in the bar was excellent and I really recommend having the 'family meal' to get to know everyone!
The staff were very friendly and welcoming, the bed comfy, and the food was the best I had in Livingston.
One of the best experiences I've ever had at a hostel, and by far the best hostel in town.
Awesome place to stay! I stayed for 5 nights at Casa de la Iguana and had an awesome time. The staff is friendly, the accommodations are nice, and it's incredibly easy to meet people. Its a great place and they threw some awesome parties.
Top vibes, great atmosphere and awesome fun! I landed via boat in Livingston on the day of my birthday and couldn't have happened upon better digs for what was supposed to be only a few nights...Two nights turned into 7 and we celebrated an unforgettable Halloween here with all our new mates! Highly recommended...
Prefer a hammock or have a tent with you?
* weather depending
Dorms with bunk beds and shared bathroom
Need some privacy? Book one of our private rooms.
Bungolows up to 5 people with private bathroom and porch.
Anybody who doesn't love Livingston either stayed at the wrong hostel or failed to scratch the surface of this amazing little town. Three uniquely different peoples, cultures and languages entwine to make it utterly different from the rest of Guatemala and a "can't miss" place for visitors of the country.
Situated on the Caribbean at the mouth of the spectacular Rio Dulce, Livingston (or La Buga as it is known to its Garifuna inhabitants) is a laid back town that loves any excuse to party.
Uniquely different from the rest of Guatemala, you will soon feel the chilled out vibe and hopefully sample some of the amazing seafood and different cultures it has to offer. You will see locals fishing from their cayucos. You can find out about the Garifunas unique spiritual traditions (there are seven shamans living here), Mayan masked dances that hark back to pre-columbian times. Taste and learn to cook a rich cuisine that is unlike anywhere else. Listen to the infectious rythyms of Punta and boogie to the crazy dance styles that only the Garifuna can do. Visit a mayan village hidden in the jungle. Dive into a subterranean lake, or a jungle waterfall, the languid Rio Dulce or the warm Caribbean. Learn about medicinal sacred plants, sacred places, pirate hideouts, and so much more.Livingston is only accesible by boat so you’ll get a sense of being on an island. And like most small islands its amazingly safe and the locals are really friendly. There are easy connections on to Honduras, Belize and the rest of Guatemala with minimal fuss.
The town has a population of around 17,000 inhabitants of mixed cultures and races with the majority being of Garifuna ancestry. These people trace their roots back to the Caribbean island of St Vincent, where shipwrecked African slaves mixed with the indigenous Carib in the 17th Century. It took the British a long time and a lot of fighting to establish colonial control over St Vincent. In 1796 when they finally succeeded, they decided to deport its surviving 5000 Garifuna to the Honduran island of Roatan, but unfortunately only about 2,000 survived the voyage.
Because Roatan was too small and infertile to support their population, the Garifuna petitioned the Spanish authorities to be allowed to settle on the mainland. The Spanish employed them as soldiers, and they spread along the Caribbean coast of Central America with Livingston being their main settlement in Guatemala. The second largest ethnic group in Livingston are the indigenous Q’eqchi’ Mayans who live in their own communities, mainly on the river side of town. Other ethnicities living here include ladinos, Chinese and Hindus.
It won’t take long for you to find your way around town. The main street, Calle Principal, starts at the main dock and goes up hill towards the center of town. Veering to the left as you get off the main dock takes you down Calle Marcos Sanchez Diaz, the street our hostel is on. Street names are not commonly used here and some don’t even have names!
Livingston has plenty of good places to eat and drink (most are located on Calle Principal). There are two banks where you can change money, traveller’s cheques, or withdraw cash from the ATM’s. There is a small Health Center in town and several pharmacies. As you will or have already discovered, there are a few places on Calle Principal that sell local handicrafts.
The main industries in Livingston are tourism and fishing. Some local farmers support their families by selling home grown produce such as eggs, vegetables, fruit and chicken. Lots of fruit and vegetables are also imported from other regions in Guatemala.
If you are a seafood lover then you shouldn’t leave here without trying a local Garifuna dish called Tapado. This rich seafood stew is made with coconut milk, plantain, whole fish, crabs, conch, shrimp and any other seafood in season. You will definitely get your mitts in a mess eating this yummy dish that is served in almost every restaurant in town!
From the dock, if you walk to the opposite end of Calle Principal, you will find yourself looking out to the big blue Caribbean! The vegetation comes close to the water’s edge so there isn’t a wide stretch of sand but it does make for a nice walk. Keep on walking and you’ll pass a little place called Flowas where you can stop for a beer or hire a kayak.
Continue walking further and you’ll come across the Rio Quehueche, cross the bridge and you’re 5 minutes away from a nice little beach called Playa Salvador Gaviota. There you’ll find a hotel where if you buy some beers and food they’ll happily let you lay in a hammocks on their pier.
If you feel like carrying on for another 30 min or so, you’ll find Siete Altares, or take a boat around to the best beach in the area Playa Blanca. Or just hang out on the hammocks in the hostel, watch a movie, read your book or enjoy a cold beer.
Your journey begins with a spectecular boat trip up the Rio Dulce gorge to Rio Tatin, stopping along the way to admire the towering jungle walls and wildlife surranding you. After arriving at the Mayan community of Ak`tenamit, you will be led by a local guide through the dense jungle as he shares his knowledge of the unique plants and local wildlife.Then...enter the sacred Tiger Cave...descend into darkness and, if you dare, plunge twelve feet into a pitch black subterranean pool. Enjoy a relaxing picnic, dipping your feet in a freshwater spring and taking in the breathtaking natural surrandings.
As you have no doubt figured out by all the fishing boats, Livingston is a great place to fish!
We offer a four hour fishing trip in the Amatique Bay where you can catch:
Our guides speak English and have a great knowledge of the local waters. You are almost certain to catch way more than you can eat. (Excess fish is donated to local needy families)
Take Litegua or a chicken bus to the City. Continue with Litegua to Puerto Barrios. Jump on a lancha from Puerto Barrios to Livingston.
Public transport takes two days, so we recommend you to take a private shuttle to Puerto Barrios then catch a lancha from there to Livingston.
Public transport takes forever so we recommend you to book a shuttle to Rio Dulce then take the public lancha to Livingston.
Take a Litegua bus to Puerto Barrios. Jump on a lancha from Puerto Barrios to Livingston.
Take James' Bus Line to Punta Gorda and catch a water taxi from there to Livingston.
Catch a Fuente del Norte bus to Rio Dulce, and take a public lancha in Rio Dulce to Livingston.
It's simple to walk to us for the main dock: get out of the pier and TURN LEFT at the basketball court (25m from the pier - before the hill). Keep following this street until you see our sign on a wall on your right hand side just after the second small bridge. It should take you just about 6-8min. If you wish to take a taxi, price should only be 5Q per person (~0.75USD). As you disembark from the pier, please tell the hustlers you already have a reservation with us and that you do NOT need them to walk you to the hostel. (In Spanish : "Gracias, yo tengo un reservacion, esta bien")
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