After Belize City, Dangriga is the largest coastal town in Belize. With 12,500 residents, it is a bustling commercial center where nearby residents come to buy food, tools, and other necessities. Dangriga really doesn’t offer much in the way of tourism amenities, but curious travelers who find themselves wandering the busy streets will observe wheelings and dealings among locals, and get a real look at daily life on the Belize coastline.
One of the most famous businesses to come out of Dangriga is Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce. You’ll find bottles of Marie Sharp’s on nearly every restaurant table in Belize. On a side street near Dangriga's Sport Field is a small, unsigned store front where you can purchase over a dozen varieties of this Belizean staple. The Marie Sharp farm and factory also offer tours.
Garífuna is the dominant culture here in Dangriga. A modest Garífuna museum, drumming workshops, and a few local arts and craft stores in town give visitors a glimpse of the heritage. The country’s largest Garífuna celebration takes place in Dangriga every November.
Most people only pass through Dangriga on the way out to South Water Caye Marine Reserve. Fishing is a dominant part of the economy here, and local fishermen are eager to take tourists out to the edges of the reserve to test their deep sea fishing skills. Fishermen will also customize tours to include snorkeling and island hopping. If you choose to hire a local fishermen, ask to see the boat before you agree on a price, since many of these boats are no more than small fiberglass boats with no shade protection. These same fishermen also run regular water taxis out to Tobacco Caye, and the other islands in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve that offer lodging options.
Those using Dangriga as a jumping off point to overnight accommodations out in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve will be best off flying into Dangriga. There are a number of daily flights from Belize City. There are also occasional flights to and from Placencia. Driving is also an option, but secure parking in Dangriga may be an issue. Dangriga is located approximately 100 miles (165 km) from Belize City. To reach Dangriga, drive to Belmopan and then head down the Southern Highway.