The Indigenous communities of Cayos Cochinos
The ancestors of the Garifunas were brought from West and Central Africa to the Caribbean as captives, but their history as slaves was never officially documented. It is believed that they were survivors of shipwrecks or escaped captivity, and they found refuge among the Carib people of St. Vincent and Guadalupe. Over time, they mixed with the Arawak and Carib cultures, eventually becoming the indigenous group we now know as the Garifuna.
A small group from mainland Honduras eventually made their way to Cayos Cochinos and established fishing communities on the cays of East End and Chachauate. Today, approximately 250 Garifuna people call Cayos Cochinos their home.
The Garifunas are a proud and passionate community, dedicated to preserving their rich culture and connection to the natural world for centuries. They express their gratitude to the islands through music, songs, and dances.
Garifuna ceremonies are renowned throughout Central America. They involve vibrant handmade costumes, music played on drums, conch shells, and turtle shells, as well as dancing, singing, and chanting. These ceremonies are performed during special events and occasions.
The Garifuna community is largely matriarchal and family-oriented. They lead a simple and traditional way of life, centered around fishing, cooking, raising children, and engaging in the joy of singing, dancing, and enjoying homemade gifiti (a rum-based bitters made by steeping roots and herbs in rum).
Chachauate, once a small fishing village with homes made of mud, clay, and palm leaves, has undergone significant changes with the remodeling of their houses into more permanent structures.
Working alongside the HCRF (Honduras Coral Reef Foundation), the Garifuna communities play a crucial role in supporting conservation and education efforts in the region.