Dangriga, Where the Sweet Water Flows
Along the northern banks of the Stan Creek River – 55 miles from Belmopan and 105 miles from Belize City – lies the small village of Dangriga. Home to the excitement of diving, fishing and sailing, Dangriga is also home to one of the largest Garifuna communities in the entire world. Indeed, in the Garifuna tongue, the name Dangriga can be loosely translated to: “Here, the sweet water is close at hand.” And whether you’re a foreign traveler or a local Black Carib, once you arrive, you know it’s the truth. Despite the warnings of contaminated water you’ll find elsewhere in Central America, Dangriga has a drinking supply that is both fresh and pure. It is perhaps some of the best water in all of Belize!
Dangriga’s Garifuna Culture
Perhaps one of the most charming aspects of Dangriga’s local flare is the Garifuna population. The town is freckled with some of the same homes that the Garifuna have lived in for decades – built of weathered wooded planks and raised up on stilts, a defense against the coastline’s turbulent storms and seas. About eight miles south of Dangriga, there’s another Garifuna village known as Hopkins. It’s a small settlement fueled by fishing. The village is idyllic, with sandy beaches, an exciting culture, coconut palms and Caribbean breezes.
A Creative Haven with Plenty to Do
Despite the fact that Dangriga is relatively small – its population is only roughly 8,100 – it has become a haven for some of Belize’s most popular artists. There are notable names in nearly every area of the arts, from painters to drum makers to Waribagabaga Dancers to the Turtle Shell Band. And as exciting as these artists may be, the absolute best thing about Dangriga is the festivals. The most important date is November 19th, Garifuna Settlement Day, comparable to the 4th of July in the United States.
Dangriga and Hopkins both abound with festivals and celebration, and there’s nothing quite like a Garifuna festival. There’s a full day of music, drumming, dancing, dining and drinking. And don’t worry – if you can’t make it in November there are other festivals throughout the year, most importantly during Easter and Christmas weeks.
Days in Dangriga
There are plenty of ways to spend your days in Dangriga, but some of the most popular pastimes carried out in the ideal setting of sun and sea. Aside from fishing, diving and sailing, you can kayak, windsurf, boat or snorkel. And when you’ve had your fill, head on over to King Kassava. You can find just about anything you want or need, like a bar, restaurant, taxi and charter station, information center, pool hall or bus station, just to name a few.