April 12 is known in Honduras as Garifuna Settlement Day and it is celebrated in many Honduran Garifuna communities every year. The beautiful community of Punta Gorda, Roatan is the first Garifuna settlement in Central America. This is why every year there is a big festival to celebrate our arrival to Roatan on April 12, 1797.
If you are planning to visit Punta Gorda on the 12th here is what you can expect to find:
Dancing to the beat of the drum is contagious. As a Garifuna woman, the sound of drumming ignites a fire inside of me that makes my feet move and my hips sway. You have to try dancing to our drumming at least one time in your life and April 12 is the day to it.
Through dance and music we tell our story. Some of our folkdance resemble our African bloodline while others resemble our Arawak Indian blood line. Either way, it makes for a mesmerizing experience.
Want to know how we make certain foods or what struggles Garifuna people went through? Some presentations will demonstrate this through dramatic reenactments.
What keeps me going back to my parents home is the aroma that escapes the kitchen and takes over the entire house while mom is cooking, talk about food for the soul! If you want to taste the different flavors of Garifuna food this is the day to try it. You will also find some island favorites such as coconut rice ‘n’ beans and FRESH fried fish. You might want to fast the day before if you want to enjoy all of the delicious foods.
Haven’t gotten a chance to buy a souvenir for your friends and family? You will definitely find some interesting trinkets to buy.
What Should I bring?
Small change – There are no ATM’s or large banks on the East End so business owners tend to run out of change quickly. Instead of getting upset because someone took you L.500 bill to look for change, just be prepared and bring some smaller bills.
Water – The festival is an outdoor activity and it is HOT around this time of year so drink up folks!
Sunscreen – Outdoors, along the beach, no shade, yeah you might want to protect your skin.
Mosquito repellent – The outdoors and mosquitoes go hand in hand. If you’re allergic to mosquito bites, come prepared with your repellent.
Swimsuit – The water in Punta Gorda is so enticing to jump in, you might want to take a swim to cool off so don’t forget your swimsuits. FYI there are no fresh water pipes to rinse off the salt water.
Comfortable shoes – For many people, April 12 is their first visit to Punta Gorda and they might want to explore the community. If this is you, make sure you are not in high heels ladies because you will regret it.
How do I get to Punta Gorda?
Wondering how to get to Punta Gorda, click here for a detailed explanation of different options that you have. Flamingo Cultural Center will be open on the 12th if you have any questions about the festivities, our history or just want a place to sit and enjoy a refreshing drink.
FYI: There is bumper to bumper traffic every April 12. Therefore, if you are able to car pool, please do it and avoid adding to the congestion.