The capital of the Stann Creek district, Dangriga is also the largest town in southern Belize. The Garifuna people, who are of African and Amerindian ancestry, have made Dangriga Belize the center of their culture, which is still very much alive today. The Garifuna make up the majority of the some 10,000 people that call Dangriga home, and they are known to put on some pretty festive Dangriga carnivals from time to time. Should you be able to fit one into your Dangriga travel plans, it can make for a most memorable affair. The Stann Creek District is a largely agricultural region known for its citrus trees, which you will see flying in from Belize City. Dangriga is only some 70 miles south of Belize City, so should you rent a car, you can get here pretty quickly that way as well. It's just a 2 ½ hour drive by car, and 3 hours by bus. Dangriga is found on the coast, however it's not known for its beaches, so you might couple a visit here with a side trip to Placencia, where miles of sandy stretches await you. Between both Dangriga and Placencia, you'll find perched wooden houses, swaying palm trees and plenty of fresh ocean air. They both make for fun and relaxing destinations that are both more than worthy of inclusion in Belize vacations.
There is a decent beach that you can hang out at in Dangriga for a stint at a time, and exploring town is always an interesting pursuit. It does feel somewhat urban here, but by no means will you feel like you're in a overbearing metropolis. Strolling the main street in Dangriga (St. Vincent Street/ Commerce Street) is a joy, and just a few blocks over, you can relax in an oceanfront park. You'll certainly want to consider learning more about the Garifuna people while visiting Dangriga Town, and at Mile 2 on the Hummingbird Highway, you'll find the small and interesting Gulisis Garifuna Museum. Not only can you learn about Garifuna culture and history here, but you can also view paintings by some of the premier Garifuna painters. Pen Cayetano is one such artist. Various Garifuna craftsmen and artists hawk their wares around town, which makes shopping a rather fun thing to include in your Dangriga travel plans. You'll certainly want to sample some Garifuna food, with favorites including cassava (yuca) bread, and "hudut" (fish cooked in coconut milk). Seafood definitely makes its way into the local cuisine, and round about evening time, it's worth taking advantage of the town's big-barrel barbecue operations, which serve grilled chicken, tortillas, coleslaw and beans for a very modest price. The restaurants in Dangriga Town are pretty simple affairs, and if you want to change it up a bit, you can find a nice array of pretty good Chinese restaurants.
Culture and food aside, Dangriga travel has plenty to
enjoy on the more active side. Fishing and scuba diving are some
of the top activities that visitors to Dangriga Belize
like to engage in, and both are extremely rewarding. You
can snare snook in the rivers, tempt some tarpon at the
area flats, or woo some wahoo out at sea. Half and full-day
fishing excursions are extremely easy to arrange here,
and often times, just asking around at the docks is a
good way to line up a fishing trip. The scuba diving and
snorkeling in Dangriga is just as good as the fishing,
and trips to the nearby cayes can be booked just as easily
too. Tobacco Caye and South Water Caye are two of the
main cayes that folks like to head to, and once underwater,
the barrier reef and Glover's Reef Atoll provide some of the best
snorkeling and scuba diving known to man. All along Belize's
coast, the scuba diving and fishing are top notch, and
in Dangriga, it's no different.
As mentioned earlier, the Dangriga carnivals can add
extra depth and excitement to your Dangriga Town vacation.
The largest and most recognized of the festivals here is the November 19th Garifuna Settlement Day bash.
It celebrates the day in 1832 when the largest Garifuna
landing at Dangriga occurred. Making their way from Honduras to Belize, the some 200 Garifuna settlers chose dugout
canoes as their means of transportation. A re-enactment
of the landing usually takes place, and at night, drinking,
drumming, and doing your best to learn punta dancing is
how things usually go. The other major Dangriga carnivals
take place at Christmas and New Year's. Much like
the Garifuna Settlement Day, costumed dancers complete
with intriguing masks help to make the Christmas and New
Year's celebrations truly festive. Sports fans might
check to see if any semi-pro soccer games or tournaments
can be mixed into their Dangriga travel plans. It might
not be the English Premier League, but it's certainly
entertaining. Outdoor enthusiasts will likely find a trip
to nearby Five Blues Lake National Park to be an ideal
side trip during their Dangriga Belize getaway. There
are several miles of walking trails here that pass over
hills and through forests, and swimming and canoeing at
the lake is surely a great way to fill a few fun hours.
Camping is also possible here, so you might stay a night
or more under the Dangriga stars. That is if you visit
during the December to May Dangriga dry season. Otherwise,
bring a rain cover of some kind just in case. The Dangriga Belize hotels are more
expensive and can fill up occasionally during the dry/peak
season, which is something to keep in mind.