HOPKINS, Belize – Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort is located in one of the last remaining Garifuna villages in the world, a community struggling to preserve its endangered customs. Hamanasi is a defender of this disappearing culture, educating guests about Garifuna heritage, encouraging travelers to participate in cultural festivals and offering traditional dishes in the resort restaurant. With Garifuna Settlement Day just around the corner, Hamanasi and the entire village is preparing for a unique gastronomic and cultural festival that foodies and adventurers will not want to miss.
On November 19, Garifuna Settlement Day, the Garinagu present a reenactment of their forefathers’ arrival to Belize. Villagers awake at daybreak, don traditional clothing, then jump into boats and make their way along the shoreline. The boisterous crew stops at local sites, blowing conch shells to herald their arrival at each beach, then march along the sand while beating drums, shaking sisera, singing and dancing. Hamanasi Resort guests greet the Garinagu with local rum and cassava bread while dancing along. Resort employees – more than 50 percent of whom are Garinagu – also participate and wear traditional garb throughout the day.
After these festivities, a mass is held in the village church to solemnly honor the ancestors who arrived from Honduras. The day also features a parade, drumming and dancing competitions, traditional food entrees and plenty of rum. In the evening, Hamanasi invites a local group to perform traditional drumming and dancing, offering guests the chance to, once again, enjoy and participate in the celebration.
Throughout the year, Hamanasi guests can experience fresh, local Garifuna cuisine created by the resort’s award-winning culinary masters. Cassava, fresh coconut milk, plantains, local herbs from the resort’s organic garden and freshly caught fish are just a handful of the ingredients used in Garifuna cooking. Guests can enjoy traditional dishes such as ereba with lasdusu (cassava bread with gravy), sere (poached fish in coconut milk, served with mashed plantains) and bimecacule (sticky sweet rice).
Hamanasi supports the Garifuna year-round, providing jobs to locals, bringing in groups for performances as well as donating to many causes and organizations with the help of the Hamanasi Green Team and resort guests. The resort is committed to supporting the community and giving them the means to preserve their unique traditions and share their culture with people from all over the world.