Garífuna Settlement Day

Alert: Some details may have changed due to COVID-19.
Type Of Event
Public Holiday
Start Date
Sunday, 19 Nov, 2023Annually

  • 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 lively 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.

2019 Garifuna Settlement Day

Details for the 2019 Garifuna Settlement Day 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 2019 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
11/19/20195:00 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 the country’s first historical reserve. Hidden in the jungle one mile in on the access road to the village of Sittee River is an important landmark in Belize’s ... morecolonial history. It is the remnants of the steam powered Serpon Sugar Mill, which was established in 1865 and marked the start of Belize’s industrial era. 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 thirty years.

Estimates are that at its peak, the Serpon Sugar Mill was producing and shipping 1,700 pounds of sugar a month. In the late 19th century, Serpon was a technological marvel with its main crusher, boiler, beam engine, furnace, and hot air exchanger – all powered by steam. That was a breakthrough when compared to the manual process used previously 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
The Culture Captial of Belize! Dangriga Town in the largest town in southern Belize and is considered as the spiritual capital of Belize's Garifuna population. Fomerly known as "Stann ... moreCreek Town," Dangriga Town proudly represents and celebrates the Garifuna heritage through music, dance and food. Take a trip to the southern coast of Belize and experience the Garifuna culture! Taste the delicious cuisines from the locals or learn how to beat to the rythm of the drums!
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:
Guests will learn conversational Garifuna, learn common slogans/greetings.
/ 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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