Dangriga Belize

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Heart of Garifuna Culture: Dangriga Belize

Dangriga Belize is the center for the Garinagu, one of the important influences in multi-ethnic, multi-lingual Belize. These people arrived in Belize from the Bay Islands of Honduras on November 19, 1802. If you are lucky enough to be on vacation in Belize--better yet, Dangriga--on this national holiday, you will witness the joyous singing and dancing of these people.

The result of the mix of African slaves, and Carib and Arawak Indians, these people adhere to a traditional life of fishing and agriculture. They are the dominant group and culture from Dangriga Belize south; Hopkins Village, Seine Bight, Punta Gorda and Barranco are Garifuna settlements. Their language is an intriguing blend of African, Indian, Spanish, French and English!

The Hummingbird Highway

If possible, drive into the Stann Creek District of Dangriga and Hopkins via the Hummingbird Highway. You'll have stunning views of the rain forests and the Maya Mountains as you drop down to sea level. Take a tour, or walk on your own along the streets and among the friendly locals. The food and crafts--you can watch a drum being made--will entice you to partake, and the lilting music will uplift you. You may catch a performance of the Waribagabaga Dancers or the Turtle Shell Band!

As with all Belizean coastal towns, Dangriga and Hopkins provide many opportunities for water activities--diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, and fishing. Bird watching, and hiking and camping in the nearby rain forests are popular land outings. Dangriga--loosely translated--means, "here, the sweet water is close at hand." On Belize trips to this colorful area, you will find this an apt description of the legendary waters of the North Stann Creek River.

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