Barranco is one of those places you will never hear anyone say they visited during their time in Belize. Lets face it, there’s nothing there. But, what you will find there is the true, unspoilt cultural identity of a Garifuna village.
With barely 130 residents, Barranco is one of the smallest villages in Belize, and possibly one of the remotest one. It is the southern most village in the country, located an hour and half away from Punta Gorda, and only eight miles away from Guatemala.
Barranco still holds the real character of a Garifuna village settled in the mid 1800s. There are no restaurants, no hotels or guesthouses, and only one very small convenience store owned by a local resident (not Chinese like all the other convenience stores in Belize).
Everyone knows everyone, and everyone is related in one way or another, literally.
The village is really small, so it is very easy to walk its dirt roads and meet-and-greet the locals as they attend their daily business. This is the best way to get see the village as you get to know it through their stories, experiences, and perspective. These are a few of the residents I met.
It is possible to visit Barranco by taking the 12:00pm bus from Punta Gorda on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. It costs $ 5 Belize Dollars and it is a 1:30 hour ride, at least. Since there are no guesthouses in Barranco, once you get there you can ask around for a place to stay and many of the friendly residents will offer an extra room or couch in their house. In addition, the owner of the only store (in the center of the village) does have some extra space on top of the store he can rent for the night. The return bus to Punta Gorda is on those same days at 6:00am.
Yes, this is a very improvised visit and very off the beaten path, but very much worth doing. For a less improvised visit, it is possible to go to Barranco with an organized tour with TIDE Tours.
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