Dangriga, the cultural capital of Belize
Known as the cultural capital of Belize, Dangriga is a rollicking town of music, excitement, and unique food styles located in the southeastern part of the country on the Caribbean coast. When you enter the town, you’ll see a sign stating Mabuiga or “welcome” in the Garifuna tongue. The majority of the people in Dangriga are members of the Garifuna culture formed from a fusion of African and Caribbean islander ancestry that has preserved much of its unique musical, linguistic, and culinary roots.
Dangriga is the undisputed music capital of Belize. Home to world famous artists like Sweet Pain Band, Supa G, Wageirale Drummers, Pen Cayetano, the streets of Dangriga beat to the joyous rhythms of traditional Garifuna drums. Whether you’re shopping for fresh fish and fruits at the bustling market or sampling unique Garifuna food favorites like cassava bread or hudut (a coconut/fish stew), Dangriga is a lively, colorful town that pulses with excitement all day and night.
Belize’s most famous musical genre known as punta rock was invented in Dangriga. Local musicians expertly blended traditional Garifuna styles with popular Caribbean rhythms to create a high-energy blast of drums and keyboards that regularly fill the dance floors and karaoke halls of Dangriga.
To see Dangriga at its best, you must visit the town on November 19 for the national holiday of Garifuna Settlement Day. Beginning at dawn with a dramatic reenactment of the sea canoes that brought the Garifuna to the shores of Belize, Garifuna Settlement Day is time for drumming, dancing, costumes, sporting events, and joyous celebration of the rich contributions of Garifuna culture that were honored by the United Nations as being a masterpiece of the intangible heritage of humanity.
While in Dangriga, be sure to visit the Pen Cayetano Gallery, a combination workshop and museum celebrating the achievements of Belize’s greatest living artist, the Drums of My Father monument, and the National Garifuna Council headquarters.
Here are five excellent places to stay in Dangriga:
- D’s Hostel
- Davis Falls Inn
- Hotel Bonefish
- Pal’s Guest House
If you want to learn more about Dangriga’s unique charms, Roam Belize can arrange for organized tours, workshops, and cultural experiences. Roam Belize is the country’s only car rental company based in Dangriga that can deliver rental vehicles to anywhere in the country, including, of course, the Dangriga airstrip. Roam Belize can book lodgings at all of the above hotels in Dangriga as well as providing ground transfer services to and from Dangriga to anywhere that you want to go.