The districts of Stann Creek and Toledo are both rustic and authentic. Here lies the heart of the Afro-Caribbean and Maya cultures. Because they are relatively remote from cities and larger towns, they are also the most untouched and pristine districts. For many, their way of life has changed little. They still live off the land and the bounty of the sea.
Dangriga, Hopkins, and Placencia are the main hubs of the Stann Creek district, while Punta Gorda is the capital of Toledo.
Generally, you will enjoy a laid-back atmosphere. You may choose to take a boat trip to the nearby atolls or even go hiking in the nearby Jaguar Reserve. This region is rich in culture: Garifuna music and dancing, languid, sea-side living, and delectable cuisines.
The locals are unassuming and friendly and accommodations may be found for every taste and pocket.
Placencia, a village located at the Southern tip of the Placencia Peninsula, is home to an 18- mile beach stretched labeled “barefoot perfect”. Placencia has emerged as an increasingly popular eco-destination on the Caribbean. For those who enjoy outdoor adventure such as snorkeling, swimming, fishing, and diving in pristine waters, Placencia is the place to be. The Southern parts of Belize are also highly known for its lush greenery and beautiful mountains.
Three distinct neighborhoods make up this long tropical slice of land, each offering its blend of ethnicities and lifestyles.
Hopkins, the southern coastal village of Placencia, is blessed with a near 5-mile long stretch of sand, facing the Caribbean Sea. Hopkins is considered by some Belizeans to be the cultural center of the Garifuna population. In recent years, it has become a rising tourist hot-spot, more than likely, because its cultural beat is alive and well. Hopkins’ main road links its various neighborhoods with both pedestrian and bike paths, matching its tranquil and friendly vibe. Sounds of Garifuna drums can be heard echoing both day and night, at beachfront weekly shows.
Dangriga is a bustling, rustic, agricultural and commercial town where the orange, banana, and shrimp industries thrive. Every other day, Dangriga pulls in photographers with its bridges and rivers, or culture lovers with its majority Garinagu population. Daily scenes range from fishermen hawking their catch to pelicans gliding over the beach and thatch hut bars lightning up with punta music after dusk.
Those curious about Belize’s Afro-Amerindian heritage will find opportunities to immerse.
If you find yourself “Down South” be sure to visit:
- The Gulisi Garifuna Museum
- Warasa Garifuna Drum School
- The cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
- Tobacco Caye
- Bocawina National Park
- Laughing Bird Caye National Park
- Rio Blanco National Park
- Maya House of Cacao
- Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun Archaeological Sites
- Lastly, Southwater Caye