Dangriga: The Culture Capital of Belize

Also referred to as Stann Creek Town, Dangriga is a settlement in Southern Belize, and the capital of the Stann Creek District. Although it’s not Belize’s largest city (that honor goes to Belize City), there is plenty to see and do there.

Fondly referred to as Belize’s “culture capital” by residents, Dangriga is a welcoming place for tourists and travelers who wish to experience a little-known corner of the world. Not a “tourist trap” by any means, you’ll find culture in Dangriga, not crowds. 

Locals celebrating Garifuna Settlement Day in Dangriga, Belize. Source: afar.com

The people of Dangriga

Originally founded by the Garinagu (or Black Caribs), who came from Honduras before 1832, Dangriga, Belize is home to about 10,000 people, most of which are Garinagu, Kriol, or Mestizo. Many residents identify as Garifuna, an ethnic group who descended from Africans and native Caribs. 

Today, Garifuna culture is alive and well in Dangriga. You’ll find it on display in the city’s holidays and traditions, as well as in the homes of its people. For example, on November 19th the town celebrates Garifuna Settlement Day. In the week leading up to this holiday, festivities include a torchlit parade, street music, church services, a Miss Garifuna pageant, and dancing. 

Activities in Dangriga

Besides attending the Garifuna Settlement Day festivities in November, there are plenty of other activities to experience in Dangriga year round. 

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

For example, a nature reserve called Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is replete with mountain trails and waterfalls. However, its claim to fame is its status as the very first protected area for jaguars in the world. 

We suggest booking a nature tour that includes a 40 minute trek through the reserve, culminating in a relaxing float down a jungle river by inner tube, and a refreshing dip in a waterfall pool. 

A jaguar in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Source: Belize Audubon Society

Mayflower Archeological Reserve

Also known as Bocawina National Park, this rainforest reserve is located south of Dangriga. While there, you can experience ziplining, waterfall rappelling, and take a dip in cold mountain water near the falls. It’s a great place to hike with family and friends, see exotic flora and fauna, and breathe in some fresh air. There are also some Mayan ruins accessible by trails within the rainforest. 

Be sure to bring adequate clothing for hiking, and water shoes as the journey includes refreshing streams and somewhat muddy paths. You can book a guided tour in advance here

Maya Center Mayan Museum

Visit the Maya Center to experience Mayan culture first-hand. While there, you can tour the cacao farm, view how chocolate is made (and then taste it!) You’ll even have the chance to make it yourself. 

Other activities include tortilla making, cultural dance training and coffee making. Located next door to the visitor’s center of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the Maya Center is the perfect place for hands-on learning and family fun. 

Ready to experience Dangriga, Belize for yourself? Book an oceanfront cabana for an unforgettable Caribbean vacation. 

Main image source: roambelize.com

Category : Experience Tags : #Belize, #BelizeActivities, #BelizeHotels, #BelizeRentals, #CaribbeanActivities, #Dangriga Originally posted on : Keycaribe Magazine Source link : Dangriga: The Culture Capital of Belize

San Pedro, Belize: Your Dream Island

I fell in love with San Pedro

Warm wind carried on the sea, he called to me

Te dijo te amo

I prayed that the days would last

They went so fast…

If you’ve ever heard Madonna’s song “La Isla Bonita”, you know that Belize’s San Pedro Island holds the power to bewitch those who visit it to the point where they never wish to leave.

Perhaps you’ve heard the familiar chorus many times, but you didn’t realize that Madonna’s “pretty island” is actually a really place. What’s more– it’s worth a visit! (or two…)

Read on to find out just what makes this lovely island so special and song-worthy:

san pedro belize

It truly is “wild and free”

As Madonna’s lyrics suggest, San Pedro is a tropical paradise where visitors go to explore the wild untouched Caribbean reefs and escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

It has the white sandy beaches you’ve often seen in magazines (or in your dreams), and that “island breeze” that makes the palm trees sway as lazy ocean waves roll ashore.

Tropical the island breeze

All of nature wild and free

This is where I long to be

La isla bonita…

There’s plenty to do there!

This dream island has no shortage of amazing activities to enjoy with your family and friends (or even by yourself!) Here’s a list of some of the top things to do in San Pedro, Belize:

1. Visit the Great Blue Hole

This should be on the top of your list of things to do in San Pedro, Belize.  This well-known and incredibly gorgeous sinkhole was made famous by Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s.

You can snorkel in the coral reef around the Great Blue Hole’s rim, or take a deep dive in its navy-blue depths. However, this diving spot is best enjoyed by experienced divers, due to the underwater cave’s depth and complexity.

Taking a boat out to the Great Blue Hole isn’t the only way to catch a glimpse of its beauty, however. Flying overhead is arguably the best way to see it, since a bird’s-eye view will allow you to see its nearly perfect circular shape, and the contrast of its dark blue hue with the surrounding turquoise Caribbean Sea.

You can book a helicopter, plane, or even a hot-air balloon tour to see Belize’s Great Blue Hole from the air. 

2. Snorkel in Hol Chan Marine Reserve

The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is part of the Belize Barrier Reef, which is one of the world’s largest barrier reefs. In fact, it’s second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Check out Shark Ray Alley to catch a glimpse of huge sea turtles, nurse sharks and giant stingrays. This is one snorkeling experience you’ll never forget.

You’ll also see plenty of colorful coral, but remember– it’s for admiring, not touching! (That goes for all marine life as well). Few sites in the world are as replete with coral as Belize’s Barrier Reef, so it’s incredibly important to protect it.

The Caribbean is lucky to be host to some of the world’s most beautiful scuba diving and snorkeling sites. In fact, Bonaire, a little-known island, is famous for its beautiful snorkeling havens.

3. Bask on Secret Beach

Ok, the secret is out! You can find one of the best beaches in the Caribbean right here on San Pedro, Belize. In fact, Secret Beach looks like a vision from a dream: soft, white sand, crystal-clear blue water, and tranquil waters. It’s the perfect place for a calm swim.

Stretch out your beach towel and bask on this now not-so-secret beach in the morning, if you want to have it all to yourself.

People say you can even spot Leonardo DiCaprio’s private island from Secret Beach. There’s no reason to be jealous, though– you can rent your very own private island  off the coast of Belize, too!

san pedro belize

4. Book a Catamaran and cruise through the reef

Charter your own private boat, or grab a spot with a group. Either way, this is one of the best ways to enjoy Belize’s Barrier Reef. Plenty of tours are available from San Pedro island.

As you sail away and feel the ocean breezes cool your cheeks under the blazing sun, you’ll realize that San Pedro, Belize is truly where you long to be!

5. Explore amazing Mayan ruins

The Yucatan Peninsula may have the monopoly on quantity of Mayan ruins, but San Pedro, Belize has one of the most fascinating sites. The Marco Gonzalez archaeological site offers some unspoiled, untouched, and still unexplored areas. 

In fact, you may even catch a glimpse of archeologists unearthing new finds in their ongoing archeological digs, since the site is still being studied.

Although there aren’t any towering pyramids, there are certain things in Marco Gonzalez that you won’t find in most Mayan ruin sites: shards of ancient pottery, conch shells, and other artifacts. Since the site is around 2,000 years old, the fact that so many findings are so well-preserved is absolutely amazing.

san pedro belize

6. Visit the Belizean Arts Gallery

The Belizean Arts Gallery on Barrier Reef Drive in San Pedro, Belize is both a museum and art gallery featuring handicrafts, beaded items, and fine art by local artists. It’s the perfect place to find a souvenir to take home with you. They sell an eclectic assortment of purses, paintings, wooden masks, blankets, jewelry, and even carvings in black stone.

This is not your run-of-the-mill tourist trap stocked with plastic baubles from China. At the Belizean Arts Gallery, you’ll find gifts for loved ones (and yourself!) that you’ll truly cherish for years to come!

san pedro belize

San Pedro, Belize: Make your dream a reality

Don’t limit your knowledge of San Pedro to a catchy song and a few informative articles. This island is more than worth a trip, and won’t be easily forgotten.

Make your dream a reality by visiting Belize and staying in a beachfront apartment or private villa. Skip the overbooked hotels and find a secret place where you can experience Belize the way it was meant to be: wild and free.

Category : Experience
Tags : #Belize, #BelizeActivities, #GreatBlueHole, #LaIslaBonita, #MadonnaLaIslaBonita, #SanPedro, #SanPedroIsland, #WhatToDoInSanPedroBelize

Originally posted on : Keycaribe Magazine
Source link : San Pedro, Belize: Your Dream Island