Nice to see that Coconut Row in Hopkins was the only place named as “one of the best hotels in Hopkins”.
Where to go to Celebrate Garifuna Settlement day?
The place to be is definitely Hopkins and Dangriga Town. Hopkins is a Garifuna Village where you will be encompassed by the rhythmic beats of the Garifuna drums blaring as native Garinagu gather round to partake in the punta or “Jankunu”. You can even learn to drum too at the Lebeha Drumming Center.
Where should you stay to enjoy the festivities?
In Hopkins, one of the best hotels is Coconut Row. They are right in the heart of the village with a flawless private beachfront for guests to enjoy.
If you haven’t booked yet, you may have a hard time finding any space in Dangriga as their population normally doubles during this time of year with visitors coming from all over to join in the celebrations.
Dangriga Town hosts a huge 18th Night concert at Y-Not Island featuring a host of Punta artists, and this year an international Dancehall artist will be partaking in the event. Following the concert, the crowd then gathers at the beachfront awaiting the arrival of the Garifuna coming toward the shores as they re-enact the Yurumei. Yurumei is the name given to the arrival of the first Garifuna to the shores of Belize which originally took place on November 19, 1802. The party doesn’t stop after the Yurumei, as a festive parade through the streets begin which is filled with drumming, dancing and singing.
What to eat in Southern Belize?
A huge part of the Garifuna culture is the unique diet filled with hearty native dishes. When in Southern Belize, a must- try is definitely the Hudut which is mashed plantains served alongside Sere which is a fish stew consisting of a delicious coconut broth. Cassava Bread accompanies most Garifuna meals but is also very tasty alone and shouldn’t be missed during your visit. Dharasa is another dish made known by the Garifuna and is a spin on the tamale where the corn is swapped with green bananas giving the dish either a sweet or sour taste. Don’t forget dessert! Make sure you find some Cassava Pudding to top off your meal.
Things to try
There is no better place than Southern Belize to learn to play the vivacious drums like a Garifuna. There are many people who offer quick drumming lessons for visitors to get a hands-on feel of their culture. You will also be able to get Punta lessons and see how the beat of the drums and the fast paced movements of the dance work together.
Garifuna Settlement Day is the biggest holiday celebration in Southern Belize. It provides locals and international visitors with a one of a kind experience and leaves everyone with an immense appreciation for the endangered Garifuna culture. Come on out to celebrate with us and have a happy Garifuna Settlement Day!