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Warasa Garifuna Drum School

Punta Gorda, Belize
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About Warasa Garifuna Drum School
Warasa Garifuna Drum School is a cultural and educational landmark situated in the historic Saint Vincent Garifuna land on the edge of Punta Gorda town. Our traditional thatch museum and school, created from traditional materials only in the local historic style, and decorated with Garifuna cultural artefacts from the past 100yrs and also modern paintings and handicrafts, is a living museum. Guests may look around around at items on display, or choose a more hands-on way to experience the rich history and heritage of the Garifuna through an interactive lesson or performance in traditional drumming, dancing or drum-making for individuals or groups. Warasa also welcomes local Belizean school groups to this authentic educational site.
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Hours Today: 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM
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Tours and Tickets by Warasa Garifuna Drum School

Family Fun Indigenous Garifuna Drumming Lesson

Experience the vibrant Garifuna culture with an interactive, family-friendly 1-hour drumming lesson in scenic Punta Gorda. Take a seat in a thatch palapa, and learn to draw Caribbean rhythms from a traditional 'segunda' base drum. Learn about the Garifuna people’s history as you make music with a series of five different rhythms that echo their unique African and Amerindian heritage .
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90 to 120 minutes
from $25.65

Drumming Dancing and Dinner Indigenous Garifuna Style

Experience local culture during this two-hour performance of Garifuna drumming and dancing. Tuck into a traditional dinner under the shade of a Thatch Palapa on the edge of Punta Gorda. Learn about southern Belize's Garifuna people and then relax as you take in an incredible night of entertainment that showcases the unique culture. This popular option even includes the opportunity to participate in a traditional dance lesson!
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1 hour 30 minutes
from $33.85

Half-day Garifuna Drumming, Drum-making and Cultural Food Experience

Immerse yourself in Belizean culture on this half-day tour. Delve into the history, people, music, and food of the Garifuna culture. Inside an open-air thatched palapa, learn about the materials and techniques used to build traditional drums then take a lesson. Following that, enjoy a professional performance. Also dine on a traditional Garifuna lunch of 'hudut' (fresh fish sautéed in coconut milk and served with mashed plantains).
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3 hours
from $82.06

Half-day Garifuna drumming & cooking experience

With the help of a renowned local cook, learn how to make this quintessential Garifuna dish! Grind local coconuts to make your own coconut milk. Learn how to season the coconut broth and cook the locally caught fish fillet to perfection. Work you arms pounding the green and ripe plantain in the traditional wooden mata pestle.

Vegetarian or vegan variations on request.
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3 hours 30 minutes
from $87.18

Half-day Garifuna drumming, dancing and cultural meal experience

Spend the morning or afternoon delving into the history, people, music & food of the Garifuna culture on this half day tour. Meet your guide at Warasa Garifuna Drum School in Punta Gorda and step inside our open-air thatched palapa and learn about enjoy a one-hour drumming lesson. Learn about Garifuna drums and history and how to play up to 6 rhythms on the segunda drum. Play with your host, who will play the faster-paced primero drum while singing traditional songs. Afterwards, enjoy a group dancing lesson and about the different dance moves that accompany the rhythms you just learned to play. Next enjoy a 30 minute professional performance by your host and his talented, welcoming family group.

Finally, sit back & savor a traditional Garifuna lunch of hudut - fresh fish fillet sautéed in handmade coconut milk and lightly seasoned with cilantro and other herbs, served with mashed plantain. Vegetarian/vegan variation can be provided! Naturally gluten and lactose free.
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3 hours
from $82.06
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Holly E wrote a review Aug 2019
Saint Louis, Missouri11 contributions2 helpful votes
It is one of several immersive and rewarding things to do in Punta Gorda, whether you are a Belizean or a visitor. It would make an excellent team-building exercise for a business or group of teachers who are on retreat in the area. Discover your inner talent--or lack of. Either way, it's fabulous and inexpensive. The instructor Ronald McDonald (his real name) is patient, good-humored and an excellent teacher.
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Date of experience: September 2018
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Response from WarasaDrumming, Owner at Warasa Garifuna Drum School
Responded Aug 20, 2019
Thanks so much for the review Holly - it means a lot to us! The McDonald family look forward to welcoming you again in the future :-)
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ambergreen wrote a review Jun 2019
4 contributions
My friend and I had a drumming lesson and dancing lesson several months ago, and had a great time! The palapa was nice and cool and very beautiful, and Ivan taught us several rhythms and dances. It was a great activity to do even though we were just passing through the area.
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Date of experience: March 2019
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DrMucker wrote a review Sep 2018
Vancouver, Canada150 contributions32 helpful votes
if you want to experience the culture of a people there is no better way than to spend some time here, They will teach about food dance songs drumming language of the Garifuna people, we had a great time while we watched as they made drums and played for us the day we were there. When you get to the southern end of the country this is a great way to experience the real Belize ..check out our videos at DrMucker on youtube
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Date of experience: February 2018
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jacobjackson wrote a review Aug 2018
Palm Springs, California5 contributions5 helpful votes
Ray was a great guy - really friendly, and incredibly talented at both drumming and teaching. I loved the traditional thatch and surroundings and was lucky enough to see a toucan while we were there! Its worth stopping by even if you're just passing through the town for a day before heading elsewhere.
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Date of experience: July 2018
1 Helpful vote
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David E wrote a review Aug 2018
Giv'atayim, Israel13 contributions1 helpful vote
We booked the “Drum, Dance and Dine” experience which appears in the web site for USD22.5. We arrived there, a family of 6. The place looked abandoned and smelled bad. It was very hot and a lot of mosquitos. Only 1 person met us, he was very nice and gave us a 1 hour drumming lesson and then his mother came with soup with fish and vegetarian dish for the girls. There was no dancing and no “family performance” like it was written in there web site: “Enjoy an evening of authentic Garifuna drumming under our beautiful thatch palapa with a professional 30 minute group performance by our family group, followed by a short dance lesson. Afterwards, enjoy a traditional Garifuna cultural meal of "Hudut" - fish fillet sauteed in coconut milk with mild spices served with mashed plantain.“ They charged us US$150 and we felt it was overpriced for what we got and that it was poor and wasn’t what we booked and expected to get.
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Date of experience: August 2018
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Response from WarasaDrumming, Manager at Warasa Garifuna Drum School
Responded Aug 12, 2018
Dear David, We are so sorry you didn't have a good experience - as you will see from all our other reviews, this is a first for us, and we think it was due to a miscommunication from our side, for which we sincerely apologise. The Drum, Dance and Dine option is actually only available for groups of 10 and up, as to enjoy the full family group performance, then we have to pay an entire group of performers (minimum four) for their time, and provide the dance lesson, and of course the food, all of which is simply impossible for only $22.50USD per person for groups of smaller than ten people. So instead what you experienced was a drumming lesson (normal price $30Bz per person for groups of 1 - 6 people, discounts for larger groups) and a traditional Garifuna meal of "hudut" for those that were willing to eat fish (veggie variation for the others). We are sorry that wasn't made clear to you at the time of booking, and we will make sure that we update our website to make the minimum numbers for the Drum, Dance and Dine option clearer so that no future guests have a disappointing experience or not what they expect. Ronald or Ray wasn't available to do the lesson personally as he was out of town, so one of his brothers who often helps out at the drum school did the lesson - we are glad you said he was friendly at least! We do pride ourselves on our hospitality. We are so sorry you did not like the surroundings either - you are the first guests who have not enjoyed the traditional rural setting - when there has been a lot of rain it is hard to keep the grass in the yard short, but we will definitely try better. We are not sure what the smell could have been...again in the tropical climate some things are outside of our control, and if an animal has died in the surrounding areas, the smell can travel quite far. There is honestly nothing we can do about heat, or indeed mosquitoes in a tropical country, especially after lots of rain, but we will try to ensure we have mosquito repellant on-site. Again, our sincere apologies, and we hope that your other experiences in Belize were more in line with your expectations. We will certainly ensure that we do better in the future.
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