gentlemen, this is your pilot, welcome aboard!!! Our flight
today will follow the coastline south. Our first stop will be
the town of Dangriga. Please fasten your seatbelts and I hope
you enjoy the flight.”
I then sat back in my seat and watched out the right side of
the Maya Island Airways airplane as the greenery of the tropical
jungle weaved it’s way south separated by a thin white
line of beach from the turquoise waters of the western Caribbean.
We crossed over rivers and lagoons and banana plantations and
shrimp farms before taking a slight turn inland.
Following a hard left banked turn the pilot lined up the nose
of the plane to a small paved stretch of paved tarmac that looked
as though it ran into the sea. Landing gently onto the runway
the pilot taxied the plane over to the terminal. A smiling Maya
Island Airways agent greeted me as the sole passenger disembarking
the plane. As I was reunited with my backpack the plane came
roaring back down the runway and once again flew off into the
wild blue yonder seconds.
There was a taxi that I had arranged through the hotel where
I had a reservation with a small sign with my named inked upon
it. Together the driver and I headed into town to the Bonefish
Hotel. Located in the center of Dangriga just over a hundred
yards from the Caribbean the hotel is managed by the owners,
Rosella and Mariel Zabaneh. The Bonefish is a comfortable little
place with a small restaurant and bar on Mahogany Street, walking
distance to main street.
Dangriga is not really recognized as a destination, more of
a jumping off point for the overland route to Placencia and
Punta Gorda or the over sea rout to Glover’s Atoll and
other offshore cayes. Dangriga is also a great place to arrange
tours into the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Basin and Jaguar Reserve.
And for the more adventuresome, the long and gruelling climb
up Victoria Peak, the de-facto highest mountain in Belize.
The town is best known for the Garifuna culture. In mid November
the Garinagu celebrate Settlement Days, a festive time when
they re-enact their arrival to Belize through Caribbean music
and Punta Rock. In fact legendary founder of Punta Rock that
now lives in Germany Pen Cayetano was born in Dangriga and returns
to Belize often to perform with fellow Garifuna musicians.
Despite being arguably the Garifuna capital of Belize, there
is no restaurant in town that serves only Garifuna style cooking.
But that does not mean that you will starve. To the contrary
two of my favourite places to eat in Belize are found in Dangriga.
The Riverside Restaurant serves delicious Creole food and ice
cold Belikins, and The King Burger serves great burgers, fresh
fish and the Belizean staples of rice, beans and chicken.