Garifuna Corner

Born in 1966 in Livingston (aka la Buga), Izabal, Guatemala, Sabina Ramirez Bernandez has a certificate in Garifuna gastronomy (typical ancestral dishes of the Garifuna) and has been giving classes to national and international visitors at Rasta Mesa Cultural Center since 2008 and at the House of Casabe since 2012. Sabina has six children and eleven grand-children, six of whom reside on site. Among her most solicited preparations are: casabe (Garifuna bread), tapado, hudutu, alabundiga, harababada, pulali, tikini and fulita, all of which I have consumed with great relish. She charges 150Q for a cooking class + 75 quetzales for ingredients ($225Q = US  $30) that typically last 3 hours.  During that time, would-be cooks are also entertained (if requested) by her grandchildren and their age-mates with Garifuna drumming and dancing for an additional gratuity. She can be contacted by e-mail at or you can go directly to Rasta Mesa or the Casa de Casabe in Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala to make an appointment.

Among other activities she coordinates umlabalaba tournaments (using Garifuna themed boards she created herself) as well as dancing and drumming classes for children and tourists who visit her venue. She also sells Arts & Crafts and can serve as a tour guide to such beautiful places as Siete Altares and various beaches. Livingston is deservedly one of Guatemala’s most popular tourist destinations and is well worth a visit.

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