Aguacate is a charming little village comprising of around 300 Qechi-Maya people with 14 families running homestay programs. Luis, the mayor of the village and the principle of Aguacate RC school, started this program to provide an opportunity to the families of the community, to make a living for themselves and help people see a side of Belize less traversed and unblemished. It was true when some people I met in Belize said that it just keeps getting better and oh boy it did!
Getting to Aguacate!
There are two ways to get here. Driving your own rental or taking the bus from PG. I would not recommend the former one. The roads here are unpaved and covered with gravels and potholes. The town of Punta Gorda is the hub to catch a bus going further down South. So if you are coming from North or anywhere in Belize, you would get down over here to catch a bus going to the villages. Kan’s bus leaves from Punta Gorda and San Pedro, Columbia Junction every Friday and Monday which is the best reliable option. From PG, it leaves at 11:30am and12:00PM from San Pedro Columbia Junction. And the bus from the village itself leaves around 5:30 am going back to PG. It takes you around 3 hours from PG to get to the Village.
You can either choose to live with a Mayan family or stay in the Guest house. Aguacate Conservative & Development Committee “ACDC” provides 6 guest houses in the village. If you decide on staying in the guest house, you can approach one of the families for food and they will be more than happy to serve you for only $7USD per meal. They have 14 families that provide homestay who go above and beyond with their hospitality, keeping your privacy in mind. The entire village only has outdoor showers and toilets. You can book your homestay through Jo Audett (firstname.lastname@example.org), Silvester (email@example.com) or through Luis.
My Homestay Experience In Aguacate!
Southern Belize has a charm of its own which is unique. I was ecstatic like a kid as I made my way to the South after having ventured the North, unaware of the fact that I was about to discover a hidden gem. Aguacate was on my list for a lot of reasons. I wanted to learn about Qechi-Mayan culture, eat their traditional food and explore the village. I luckily got in touch with Jo Audett who also happens to be a tour operator in Punta Gorda, Toledo District. I told her about my interest in living with a Mayan family in Augacate and she made the arrangements for me.
I was staying at the Earthship in San pedro, Columbia Village a day before I was supposed to leave for Aguacate. Richard, the owner of the place dropped me at the Columbia Junction where the bus leaving for Aguacate stops. Kan’s bus, is a white colored school bus that stops here and couple of other spots on the way picking and dropping people off. Since this bus runs only twice, it’s usually jam packed. I had a huge check-in bag with me which I ended up squeezing in a small spot right next to the driver. I entered the bus and it took me back to the school picnic days, where we would all sing, chat, play and just be our happy selves. It literally felt like that because, most of the buses in Belize you’ll see are retired school buses from the USA. All the people in the bus had a different energy, enthusiasm and fondness that put me to ease. Some of them were returning home from work, while some were heading back from the town with the grocery for the next week and then there was me, a clueless, happy, wanderlust girl with the excitement very evident on my face, smiling at whoever smiled back, on to this journey of exploring a Mayan Village.