On my last visit to Belize I opted to spend a few days in Dangriga; a looked over destination for tourists in my opinion. Dangriga definitely does not have the glitter of other popular destinations in Belize such as Placencia. And this lack of glitter is what makes Dangriga attractive to me. The town of Dangriga has a rustic, old Belizean charm that is reflected in the buildings and streets when walking about town and the people who live there.
The architecture is old and weathered from the Caribbean climate which is part of the ambiance of Dangriga. But, Dangriga is developing with new residential buildings painted in iconic bright Caribbean colors as well. The residents of Dangriga are genuine, nice and courteous. “Gud mawnin” and “gud night” are heard often and with a smile. So much so that it becomes catchy and you also take on the same manners. I found that the people are also very happy to have tourists visit. In fact, one restaurant proprietor was proud to show me the Mahogany tree growing near the Stan Creek bridge. A fruit seller in the market was quite happy and helpful showing the different fruits that were available. The market area is a whole new world to explore. There are food stalls in addition to the other stall selling good.
Dangriga has much to offer as far as experiences. Given that it is a fishing town, chartered fishing adventures are available. I would recommend inquiring about these from your host. The Bonefish hotel had recommended a guide who is a member of the Belize Tourism Association. Snorkeling is also an option with Tobacco and South Water Cayes a boat ride away.
I spent each day touring the nearby reserves and parks. My favorite is the Jaguar Preserve in the Cockscomb Basin. Also, nearby is the Bocawina National Park. These provide great hikes into the jungle environment to enjoy the flora and fauna. An hours’ drive away is Saint Herman’s Cave and the Blue Hole. A fabulous place to swim and bird watch.
Locally you can learn about the Garifuna culture. Dangriga is home to many proud Garifuna who enjoy teaching others about their culture. A visit to the Gulisi Garifuna Museum and the Pen Cayetano Studio Gallery is a good place to learn about the Garifuna. Additionally, look for local restaurants selling traditional Belizean and Garifuna foods such as Hudut, Cassava Bread, or Cassava pudding (my favorite).
I’ve made some great acquaintances in Dangriga and have enjoyed the conversations. One thing I learned from these conversations is that the people of Dangriga are eager to develop more tourism in their town. Sustainable tourism specifically, in an effort to retain their identities as Dangrigains. With that said, I’ll end by saying Dangriga is for the Dangrigains and they are very welcoming.