Dangriga is the largest town in Southern Belize, and the spiritual capital of the country’s Garifuna people. This is a proud, festive town, one that does its best to make the most of its vibrant Garifuna heritage. A visit to Dangriga provides the opportunity to observe performances by such traditional groups as the Turtle Shell Band and the Warribaggabagga Dancers; as well as modern Punta rock and reggae. Dangriga is famous for its cassava-based breads and cashew wine, as well as fish and plantain cooked in coconut sauce.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Dangriga is from mid November to mid-April. Dangriga is definitely the place to be on November 19th of each year, the day that the entire country but especially Dangriga celebrates the arrival of the Garifuna people to the country in 1823. The town reenacts the arrival by canoe, and there are parties, dancing, music, drumming, in celebration.
Top Places to Visit in Dangriga
1. Pen Cayetano Studio Gallery
Renowned throughout Belize for his art and music, Pen Cayetano’s workshop and gallery displays Garifuna artifacts and crafts. It also has works of art and music by Pen, and the textile artwork of his wife, Ingrid, available for sale. Among the most unique items are drums made of turtle shells. There are also occasional musical shows by Pen and drum workshops led by local drummers. The gallery is west of town down a small side street.
2. Gulisi Garifuna Museum
This museum, operated by the National Garifuna Council (NGC), is a must for anyone interested in the vibrant Garifuna people. The museum is 2 miles out of town; ask any bus heading out of Dangriga to drop you here or hire a bicycle. It brings together artifacts, pictures and documents on Garifuna history and culture, including an exhibit on the life and music of the late Garifuna musician Andy Palacio. A free guided tour is included with admission.
3. Dangriga Central Market
The Dangriga Central Market is a microcosm of Dangriga society with traders selling shoes, clothing, crockery and Maya crafts alongside farmers and fishmongers.
Garifuna Settlement Day
On November 19 Dangriga explodes with celebrations to mark the arrival of Garifuna in Dangriga in 1832. Dangrigans living elsewhere flock home for the celebrations. Drumming, dancing and drinking continue right through the night of the 18th to the 19th, while canoes reenact the beach landing in the morning. Book early for accommodation at this time.