Friday, August 23, 2013

Battle of the Drums - Garifuna Cultural Celebration

With knowledge of the unique Garifuna culture spreading - CNN recently featured ways to visit and interact with the Garifuna in Belize - this tour is an ideal option for cultural travelers, families and those interested in learning about culturally threatened communities, while getting off the beaten path in Southern Belize.

Lyndsay's Lodge at Big Falls Trip Report
The Garifuna language, culture and music still thrive in southern Belize. Punta Gorda the district capital is ethnically mixed but with a strong Garifuna heritage and the Garifuna village of Barranco is the most southern coastal settlement in Belize. Garifuna settlements extend along the coasts of Guatemala and northern Honduras and the Bay Islands of Roatan and Utila. The Battle of the Drums each November brings together drummers from all three countries to compete in a unique festival of drumming and the Lodge at Big Falls is proud to be able to bring this to an international audience of lovers of world music. The package combines the best of both the and Mayan cultures.
5 days/4 nights: Wednesday, Nov 15–Sunday, Nov 18, 2013. 
Wednesday, Nov 13 
Wednesday 13 Arrival at Philip International () airport in Belize City. Transfer to Tropic Air for the one hour flight from Belize City to the coastal fishing town of Punta , which is also the Toledo district capital. Here you will be met and transferred the twenty miles to the Lodge. On arrival enjoy a welcome rum cocktail and settle into your cabana before a three-course dinner in our restaurant.
Thursday Nov 15  
This morning you will visit the home of Ana , known as (Mountain Spirit) in her own language, who is a native medicine woman, traditional health care practitioner, and wisdom-keeper for the healing practices of the people. She is descended from a lineage of matriarchal healers. She has the world sharing knowledge on the spiritual and healing properties of sacred medicinal plants. During the visit guests will be guided in collecting a bundle of herbs appropriate for their own personal use. After lunch in Punta town you will visit the Drumming school nearby where Ray McDonald will introduce you to the history of drumming and teach you some of the basic rhythms on hid drums made from tropical cedar and stretched deerskin. Back at the Lodge you will have time to relax by the pool or by tubing on the meander around the lodge property. The route is about half a mile with a stop for to bathe in a warm pool fed from a hot spring on the hillside. The entrance and exit are yards from each other on the long narrow bend of the river.
Friday Nov 16
Begin the day with an early-morning bird walk through our gardens where you can spot colorful toucans, trogons, parrots, parakeets and many other exotic species. Then explore the Mayan site of where the crystal skull was discovered in 1924. This magical site is beautifully preserved with a wonderful ambience and few other travelers. From here, drive through the Mayan villages of San Antonio and Santa Cruz to the Rio Blanco National Park where you will enjoy a picnic lunch and swim and can jump from the rock cliff into the deep pool below the waterfall. Back at the Lodge there will be time to relax and change before going to Punta for the evening Fair and Fete which kicks off the weekend with food and live music performances by musicians.
Saturday Nov 17 After breakfast you will visit the family who demonstrate their traditional craft making skills using palm leaf and other natural fibers and give you the chance to try your hand at weaving hammocks, baskets, fans and bags. Later you will move on to the home of the Cal family in Big Falls who showcase a Mayan home as it would have been before the modern world began to impinge. You will join the family in helping to prepare a vegetarian lunch to share with them. Afternoon is free. In the evening you will attend the highlight of the weekend, the annual Battle of the Drums, an international drumming competition featuring seven groups from Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.
Sunday Nov 18 
Breakfast and departure. You will be transferred to Punta airstrip for the one hour flight north to Philip International Airport or on to your next destination within Belize.
The package includes:
  • Welcome cocktail
  • 4 nights’ accommodation
  • All meals (B,L&D)
  • FREE use of our amenities including our nature trails, swimming pool, and use of mountain bikes, inner tubes, kayaks, badminton and table tennis
  • Transfers to and from Punta airport to Big Falls
  • Government taxes of 9% on accommodation,12.5% GST on other items and 10% service charge on accommodation and meals.
Packages DO NOT include:
  • Guide gratuities
  • Bar sales
  • The cost of optional activities on Sunday 18 November
  • Add US$267.25 per person for return flights from and to Belize International Airport. The Lodge can book  internal air transfers on your clients' behalf.
Notes to packages:
  • No refund can be offered for any element of the package not used by the guest for any reason;
  • Visitors to Belize should hold a valid passport and a return/onward ticket;
  • Visas are for citizens of the USA, European Union, Commonwealth or nations.

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