Home of the Garifuna

Dangriga is the spiritual centre of the Garifuna people in Belize, and is the largest town in the south.

The Garifuna people trace their roots back to a shipwreck of African slaves, who landed on the island of St. Vincent in the 17th century. They intermixed with native Carib and Arawak Indians, forming a new cultural identify based on a mixing of African and aboriginal traditions.
In the 19th century, after deportations by the British, they arrived in Belize in dugout canoes from Honduras. They have their own language, and Garifuna can also be found on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala. Drumming is a strong part of their spiritual tradition.
I had a bit of a chance to experience Dangriga in the two nights I stayed there, but my timing, arriving mid-weekend, meant I couldn’t visit the Garifuna museum.
Dangriga is also home to Marie Sharp’s hot sauce. Very few restaurants in Belize don’t have a bottle of Marie Sharp’s habanero pepper hot sauce on each table. Marie developed the recipe when she found herself with more habaneros than she could use, and it took off in popularity. She now makes them in a factory instead of her home. I bought bottles of several varieties at her store, including the hottest one, which is called “Beware” and is claimed to be of “comatose” strength.
At other times, I wandered around Dangriga looking at the pelicans, and seeing a rainbow over Stann Creek following a quick downpour.

About Richard McGuire

Richard McGuire is a part-time photographer and photography enthusiast based on Ottawa, Canada.

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