This is Dangriga

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We wanted three things for our first stop in Belize: a coastal town, a cheap place to stay, and somewhere that wasn’t Belize City. We looked at a map and found that Dangriga was accessible by bus. A quick google search indicated that it was also the biggest city in Southern Belize, one that is heavily influenced by the local Garifuna culture and Carib language. The town was settled in the 1830′s. It sounded like the next good stop. We hopped on a bus that took us through the capital, Belmopan, and then down the long rocky road to the coast.

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The air filled with orange blossoms as we passed not one, but two enormous orange juice processing facilities and the surrounding orchards. A local who sat in front of us started to explain points of interest to us and told stories about the things we were passing by: a set of hills shaped like a sleeping old man, a landscape with the hollowed wounds of recent mining… We felt like we had already learned a lot about where we were by the time we arrived at the bus station.

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Dangriga’s identity as the biggest town in the south is comedy when you first set foot on the main street. Kids riding bikes through the middle of the main thoroughfare, a small conglomerate of hand painted storefront signs, little convenience stores, and a lot of people hanging out on front porches. Our bus arrival was big news for the evening, and we were immediately adopted by a ‘guide’ who insisted on walking us to three different guesthouses until we found an open room.

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When walking to dinner, we were again joined by another local who walked with us– simply interested in who we were and why we were in town. We wandered, we crossed over the little bridges that divide different neighborhoods, and heard the ‘Punta Rock’ music (similar to Reggae) that seemed to flow into the streets from every alley.

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It was almost 9pm by the time we sat down to eat– and I think we found the last restaurant open on that Sunday night. Slow cooked beef stew with yuca root and Marie Sharp’s hot sauce was the dish for evening. We sat in the diner and watched the excitement of local kids coming in for ice cream.

Small town feel, yet the biggest city in southern Belize…The experience set the pace for what to expect in the rest of our travels here.

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