I was recommended to go to more village like places where the Garifuna are the mayority. This combined with the Carribean coast sounded like a good combination. So Dangriga was the place to go. Just south of it is an even smaller village called Hopkins. I heard some contrary stories about it and skipped it in the end. I think for a day trip it’s not enough and it’s important to stay there and are willing to make contact to the people. Otherwise it might get boring.
For 5 BZD I went from Orange Walk to Belize City (2h) where I changed the bus to Dangriga for another 10 BZD which took additional 3h (since it was going via Belmopan). When I arrived in Dangriga I knew of a¬†accommodation¬†to check out, but not where it was. A taxi driver brought me to Ruthie’s Cabanas which was just 400m from the bus station, but he charged 5 BZD.
When Ruthie came out of her house she welcomed me warmly and told me that I am home. She brought me to the cabana closest to the beach, which was 5m(!), and showed me the interior. The cabana had everything: nice big bed, fan, cable TV and shower with warm water. The water waves ¬†could be heard from the room and I knew that I would sleep there easily. For 65 BZD I chose to stay there at least two nights. In the end I added another night.
Ruthie also offered to make breakfast and dinner for 10 BZD each. I had really nice breakfast there every morning, but for dinner I was having something offered by the city.
So, what is there to do in Dangriga? Not so much actually, but if you live in a hut right next to the beach you can have a really nice time there. When you walk around the city you start to believe to be the only tourist there. The Garifuna are fond of greeting you and those who have to offer more try to pester you … unfortunately not what I wanted! Otherwise the city seemed quite safe, although Ruthie told me not to get so close to the bus terminal when it’s dark.
One day I went to a lagoon which was spoken about in my old guide book. This lagoon (just south of the city) however was nothing special but I had at least a nice walk. The beach is not very nice and palm trees, who offer shade, were only available on private properties. So I only went from my hut into the water for a little while. It was okay to refresh myself, but swimming isn’t that great in the sandy water.
Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve
More interesting was a trip to Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve, which is half an hour away from Dangriga. When you get off at Maya Center (bus towards Punta Gorda) ¬†it’s only 9km to the entrance. So obviously I took a taxi for 30 BZD, at least for one way. Taxis were offered when you just walk towards the center within the first 200m. But I had to buy my entrance ticket before at the souvenir shop on the street for 10 BZD. Then I was ready to go.
I registered myself at the entrance and after a short introduction I started a hike to two waterfalls. Just in the moment when I started it began to rain. From under those big leaves that the jungle was offering I wasn’t getting wet … at first. But it didn’t take long when those rain drops found there way down its way and I was forced to wear my rain jacket. It rained for the next hours.
From the wild life I unfortunately didn’t see much. This reserve is supposed to contain several jaguars, but they, among all the other animals, probably were looking for shelter. I saw a nice butterfly who hid from the rain¬†behind a leaf. I felt like this butterfly when I was standing there, slightly protected from the rain and listening to my surrounding. Quite close to my position I heard some noise in the bushes, but I wasn’t able to find out, if that actually was coming from the rain or if there really was some bigger animal. My imagination made this hike just a little bit more interesting
Eventually I arrived at the first waterfall after around 2km, which took about an hour. A sign showed the way to the second one and I wanted to go till the end before I wanted to rest a bit. I had to cross some slippery stones to get to the second close by waterfall and went back to the first one. When I wanted to try to cross those slippery stones again, I actually slipped and found myself, facing the front, in the water. For a split second I thought about my mobile phone, which I already put into my backpack, where it was safer. When I finally reached the dry shore I started to pull of my shoes and socks which remembered me of my trip to Iceland. At least the sun was coming out at this moment and I tried to dry a bit. When it started to rain again, after 10 minutes, I got fully dressed and left for the way back.
The rain finally ceased and the sun shone. When I reached the exit of my trail (it was the Tiger Fern Trail) I decided to walk to the street where the buses pass. This way I could dry at least a bit … and do more exercise! My feet in wet socks and shoes however felt as if they had been too long in the bath tub, when I returned home. The walking part took me about 90 minutes and with the sun some animals also became alive. So I saw at least two Tucan birds.