My 20 Minute Tour of Dangriga & Garifuna Settlement Day

Just a few days ago, I hopped on a bus from Placencia, Belize to travel to San Ignacio.   As I’ve mentioned before, the bus in Belize isn’t always the quickest way to travel but it sure is cheap and it sure is interesting.  (My 8 tips for travelling by bus in Belize.)


You can certainly fly…but I had time and here’s how I did it.  The distance really isn’t that great…

My coach.


And the festive decorations in this vintage vehicle.  My favorite Rudolph from that 1960s TV movie…Burl Ives…the Abominable Snowman…the Island of Misfit Toys…


I hopped on the 7:15am bus out of Placencia, did the roller coaster ride over the Mayan Mountains and arrived in Dangriga at 9am.  All for $8bzd.

My trip was extended a bit…we stopped outside of Dangriga for about 20 minutes since the breaks were emitting some sort of horrible burning smell and well…not really working.  WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR $4US!

The bus to Belmopan was leaving the Dangriga station in just 25 minutes.  I walked across the street to the local Chiney shop (trust me, not MY terminology), was called “white gial” twice (Dangriga does not get a ton of tourist flow) and decided to grab a taxi for my driver’s version of the 20 minute speed tour of the town.  (I remembered this guy from my trip to meet Hot Sauce Queen Marie Sharp last time I was down her – here’s the post:  Marie Sharp is From San Pedro.  Who Knew?)

The taxi tour was $10bzd well spent.  And though I’d been to Dangriga once before, it’s a town that is a bit gritty and unpolished but packed with cultures and interesting things to see.



Dangriga or just ‘Griga is called the cultural capital of Belize.  It was settled by the Garifuna people in 1832 and each November 18/19th, the holiday Garifuna Settlement Day celebrates that arrival with a re-enactment, parades, concerts and one big party.

For years, Dangriga (then called Stann Creek) was the 2nd biggest city in Belize and the center for banana and citrus export…there was even a railroad down from the mountains to the town.   You can see it’s rusty remnants in places on the side of the Hummingbird Highway.

Few things are more interesting than the huge fruit companies imperialism in Central America (or Dole in Hawaii for that matter) in the late 1800s and early 1900s…but  I’m getting off topic.   Let me show you some pictures of Dangriga.

Dangriga is known for music and dancing…and the drums as you enter town display that.

My taxi guy took me down to the sea side to meet Mr. Rodriguez who has been making drums from hollowed out logs and deer skins since he was small.

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My taxi guy knows what he is talking about.  This gentleman is featured in Lonely Planet and Fodors.
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We then went to see the monument to the founder of the November 19th holiday, Thomas Vincent Ramos.

IMG_4306And that’s it!  I was delivered back to the bus headed on to Belmopan (1.5 hours – $6bzd) and then onto San Ignacio

The holiday is celebrated throughout the country but Dangriga has the biggest Garifuna population and they are renowned for the party.

I am hoping to make it down there…just for one night.  Wish me luck!

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  • charlotte

    When my niece took her hubby to Belize for the first time, he was called white buoy on every street corner, but got used to it by the end of their trip. Can’t wait to read your recap of Garifuna settlement day. Cool shots of drums.

    • Belize Blog

      Ha. I have no problem with being called that…it happens in towns that don’t see so touristy. I’m trying to find some lodging…TOUGH!

  • Hornby Gal

    So, any luggage needs to be on the lap, or under the seat in front? I don’t see any inside luggage racks in your photos…and don’t remember any on the old school buses. We are travelling light, but now I know it needs to be really light!

    • Belize Blog

      There is always a rack on one or both sides…ceiling racks. There is a money collector who will help you stow it. Tough with big suitcases…but doable with a small one, a backpack or a duffle bag. Very much so…