Garífuna Settlement Day

Alert: Some details may have changed due to COVID-19.
Type Of Event
Public Holiday
Start Date
Tuesday, 19 Nov, 2024Annually

  • Cultural performances
  • Live music & dancing
  • Traditional dishes & displays
About Event

Garifuna Settlement Day

Commemorating the first arrival of the Garifuna people in 1832, the national holiday of Garifuna Settlement Day was created by Belizean civil rights activist Thomas Vincent Ramos in 1941, which wasn’t recognized as a public and bank holiday until 1977. Celebrated annually on November 19 throughout the country, the Garifuna community hosts street festivals, parades, cultural food sales, and other traditional presentations in their location. The most popular locations for celebrating Garifuna Settlement Day are Hopkins, Placencia, and Dangriga.

Traditionally, the celebrations would open with a reenactment of the first arrival on dories along with live drumming and singing. Following this would include a parade, the Miss Garifuna Pageant, and cultural presentations involving food, drinks, dances, and art exhibitions. Garifuna Settlement Day is an important day for the country to honor and commemorate the historical and cultural importance of the Garifuna community.

2023 Garifuna Settlement Day

Details for the 2023 Garifuna Settlement Days are yet to be announced. It is most popular in Hopkins, Dangriga, and Placencia, locations such as San Pedro Town and Belize City host processions in traditional Garifuna clothing, drumming, Cultural Awareness Week, and even fashion shows.

Why should you be a part of the 2023 Garifuna Settlement Day Celebrations?

This is a great opportunity to learn and experience the Garifuna culture in Belize whether through the tasting of savory and delicious Garifuna dishes or dancing to the beat of the drumming. Many visitors travel to witness the reenactment of the historical landing in 1832. You can expect to see live drumming, dancing, and history-inspired displays by the Garifuna people from Belize. Since this event is held on a public and bank holiday, it is widely celebrated throughout the country.
Suitable for:
What to bring?
  • Energy to Dance!
  • Camera
  • Cash
  • Your Appetite
Outline of Event
Start Time
11/19/20235:00 AMReenactment of Garifuna Settlement Day, Cultural displays, Live performancesFull day
Location Information
Garifuna Settlements
Hopkins Village, Seine Bight Village, Placencia Dangriga Town,
Stann Creek
Is Transportation provided?:
Transport Info.
Important Transportation/Pickup Information
1. Private Vehicle
2. Rentals/Charters/Shuttles
3. Public Transportation (Buses)
4. Taxi
5. Hitch-hiking
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Private Vehicle: a. If you own a vehicle or has access to a private vehicle and have a valid driver’s license, you can drive to Southern Belize. This is the easiest and most recommended option for transportation. 2. Aircraft: a. There are domestic flights to Southern Belize available via Tropic Air and Maya Island Air. To view the Maya Island Air flights schedule, visit To view the Tropic Air flights schedule, visit 3. Rentals/Charters/Shuttles: a. If you would like to drive or be driven to Southern Belize, you can rent a vehicle (make sure you have a valid driver’s license) or request a charter or shuttle. Arranging this option is easy, has a wide range of rental, charter and shuttle options to book today! See the options here: (Shuttles) (Rentals/Charters) 4. Public Transportation (Buses): a. On the mainland, buses can take you anywhere along the highways. Getting on a bus would require you to go to the town’s bus terminals or wait at the road side of a main road. Bus fares depend on where you are taking the bus and where you are stopping and whether if it is a regular bus or an express bus (non-stop). b. If you are staying at one of the islands, there are water taxis available that travel to and from Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Belize City and Corozal. Water taxis should take you from the island to Belize City. Fares usually depend on which island you are at and whether if it is a one-way or roundtrip ticket. Upon arrival at Belize City, you can take a taxi (recommended) or walk to the bus terminal and get on a bus that will travel down south. 5. Taxi: a. This option is quite costly if you are planning on taking a taxi cab. If you are staying in Punta Gorda Town or somewhere near the festivities, this option is recommended; however, taxi fares would depend on the distance traveled. 6. Hitch-hiking: a. When all else fails, and you really want to make it to the event, you can stand at the roadside of a highway and catch a ride with someone who’s going south. For safety and other reasons, this is not 100% recommended.
Garifuna Settlement Day is a very lively and cultural event. You can expect drumming, dancing, traditional Garifuna cuisines, concerts, and other activities.
This is a casual event. Dress comfortably. Most dancers and presenters will be dressed in traditional Garifuna clothing.
Whats Nearby
Serpon Sugar Mill is Belize's first historical reserve. The mill was established in 1865 and was a technological marvel for its time, being powered by steam. It was a major economic ... moredriver for Belize for about 30 years.

Hidden in the jungle one mile in on the access road to the village of Sittee River is an important landmark in Belize’s colonial history. The mill was bought by William Bowman and it, along with the Regalia, bought and owned by an American, fueled Belize’s economy for about 30 years.

At its peak, the Serpon Sugar Mill was producing and shipping 1,700 pounds of sugar a month. The mill was a major breakthrough in the sugar industry, as it was the first steam-powered mill in Belize. This was a significant improvement over the manual process that was previously used by the Mestizos and Mayans. 
Type of Attraction:
Stann Creek
Discover the Garifuna culture by learning at the Gulisi Garifuna Museum. Named in honor of Garifuna woman who migrated to Belize with her 13 children and founded the Punta Negra region, ... morethe museum has a number of exhibits that cover the Garifunas’ migration from Africa to Belize. Other exhibits cover Thomas Vincent Ramos, a legendary Garifuna leader, food, clothing, medicinal plants, music and dance. Head to Gulisi for all things Garifuna. It’ll change your life.
Type of Attraction:
Stann Creek
The Pen Cayeto Studio Gallery is an iconic cultural feature in Dangriga, Stann Creek. It was opened in 2009 to showcase Pen and his family's contributions to the arts. Pen Cayeto is ... morepne of Belize's most prominent living musicians. He and his family is credited to be Belize's pre-eminent artistic family. Visitors of the gallery can examine each artifact and painting on display and learn about those contributions made to the muscical and artistic heritage of Belize.
Type of Attraction:
Phone Service, Parking
Stann Creek
Dangriga Town is the largest town in southern Belize and is considered as the spiritual capital of Belize's Garifuna population. The Garifuna are an Afro-Caribbean people who were ... moreshipwrecked on the coast of Belize in the 1700s. They have their own unique language, music, and cuisine.
Fomerly known as "Stann Creek Town," Dangriga Town proudly represents and celebrates the Garifuna heritage through music, dance, and food. Visitors can enjoy Garifuna drumming and dancing, learn about Garifuna culture at the Garifuna Cultural Center, or taste delicious Garifuna cuisine at one of the many restaurants in town.

In addition to its rich Garifuna culture, Dangriga Town is also a beautiful town with a laid-back atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, and hiking in the surrounding area. There are also a number of small shops and galleries in town where visitors can purchase souvenirs and handcrafted goods.

If you are looking for a culturally-rich and relaxing vacation, Dangriga Town is the perfect place for you. The town is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to simply enjoy the beauty of nature and the Garifuna culture.
Type of Destination:
Phone Service, Restaurants, Parking, Car Rentals, ATM services, Banks, Sports Bars, Night Clubs, Public Parks, Market, Coffee Shops
Stann Creek
Learn More
Destinations/Attractions Nearby
Tours & Shuttles
/ Person
Departs From:
Traditional Garifuna Oral Language Classes Prepare to dive into the vibrant world of the Garifuna language, where history, culture, and tradition come to life through the spoken word. ... moreJoin us for The Traditional Garifuna Oral Language Classes, an immersive journey that blends nature, heritage, and the beauty of language.

Lagoon Crossing to Palmento Grove Cultural and Fishing Lodge

Your linguistic adventure commences with a short, serene kayak ride across the pristine waters of a lagoon. As you approach Palmento Grove Cultural and Fishing Lodge, a charming Garifuna village replica, you'll feel the anticipation building.

Cultural Exploration:

Begin your exploration by stepping into our spiritual center, where the walls are adorned with captivating Garifuna art, artifacts, and literature. Here, you'll delve deep into Garifuna culture, language, and history, gaining insights into the rich traditions that have shaped this remarkable community.

Garifuna Language Session:

I's time to embark on a journey into the heart of the Garifuna language. Join our esteemed Garifuna elder, a guardian of the language, for an enchanting Garifuna language session. You'll immerse yourself in the melodious sounds, unique vocabulary, and expressive storytelling that define this oral tradition. Whether you're a language enthusiast or a curious learner, you'll find yourself captivated by the beauty of Garifuna communication.

Join us for The Traditional Garifuna Oral Language Classes, where words become a bridge to the past, a window to culture, and a testament to the enduring spirit of the Garifuna people. Reserve your spot today and embark on this unforgettable linguistic journey!
/ Person
Explore Kalipuna Heritage Island on the north end of Hopkins Village Belize. Your adventure starts with a kayak ride over to the only Garifuna Cultural Preservation Island/Homestead ... morewhere you get to interact with the Garifuna Family living there. Follow indigenous musicians and dancers as they lead you through a traditional music masterpiece that is surely going to have you off your feet and grooving to the beat. Sing our melodious songs sure to warm your heart and lift up your spirit and move your feet and hips to the upbeat rhythm of the Garifuna Drums as your worries disappear into a world of happiness and joy. You will surely enjoy every minute of listening to various traditional beats such as the Gunjai, Paranda, Punta, and Chumba. If Prince Harry enjoyed it; I'm sure you will too.
/ Person
Departs From:
Belize Garifuna Cultural Tour The Garifuna make up just 8% of Belize’s population, but their unique culture has been recognized by the United Nation for its language, music, and dance. ... moreOriginally from the island of St. Vincent, the Garifuna are a mixture of enslaved Africans who intermarried with indigenous islanders. After a failed uprising against the British, the Garifuna fled to the shores of Belize.

This tour takes participants to the village of Hopkins situated on the beautiful Caribbean coast of southeastern Belize. Participants will don traditional Garifuna clothing while learning about life in this traditional village and the history of the Garifuna people.

Participants will also work together to gather the ingredients and then cook a traditional Garifuna dish known as hudut. Hudut is the Garifuna variant of a coconut fish stew, cooking local fish in a creamy coconut milk mixture and then served with a side of delicious boiled plantains.

Following the meal, participants will enjoy a performance of Garifuna drumming and then learn to play several traditional Garifuna rhythms.
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