Isn't it time to introduce your children to a world where the way of life is very different from that we are used to in North America and Europe?
Almond Beach Belize is located near to two very intereresting cultures, that of the ancient Mayans and the more recent Garifuna.
The Almond Beach Lodge is located just one mile from the fascinating Garifuna village of Hopkins.
One of the most remarkable things about the Garifunas is their brief but unusual history. They came into existence almost by accident.
In 1634, English slave ships sailing from Africa were wrecked off the coast of the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent. The Africans who staggered ashore joined the Arawak Indians living there and started a new life.
The blending of these two cultures created the Garifunas.
As time went on, the Garifunas on St. Vincent farmed and fished and joined the French who had set up farming enterprises. It was a time when the English were in conflict with the French. The English wanted to develop St. Vincent for their sugar plantations.
Two years of war by the English against the French and Garifuna ended in 1797. The English won, and just to be sure they will not longer be threatened by the Garifunas who proved to be fierce guerilla fighters, they packed up most of them, around 3,000 in 10 ships. The English sailed them to the Island of Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras and left them there.
Mayan children at playThe Garifunas discovered that the Island was not a good place to start over, and soon headed to the mainland of Honduras, where they founded villages along the coast. From Honduras they spread to British Honduras (Belize).Language and religion The Garifuna Language is a mixture of Arawak, African tongues, French, English and Spanish. The Garifuna religion is mostly African, akin to Haitian voodoo.
Their traditional music, called Punta, also has its roots in Africa. What most of the world knows about the Garifunas today is because of Punta, which has its own unique rhythms and was traditionally played on instruments developed by the Garifunas. In recent years, it has undergone transformation, and the emerging style --with an electrified sound and lyrics celebrating Garifuna history and pride -- is known as Punta rock.
Today Hopkins is a small but vibrant community of approximately 1,000 villagers. The people live mostly by farming and fishing, and more recently many have found work in the growing hotel industry. The village, close to Almond Beach Lodge, is a popular spot for guests to visit.
The residents are known for their friendliness and genuine hospitality, and welcome visitors to their village. Hopkins has a selection of gift shops, restaurants and small bars which are popular for guests on a visit. Hopkins was recently voted "The friendliest Village in Belize" by Belize First Magazine. and nearly everyone in the village speaks English.