Barranco, established around 150 years ago, is the southernmost Garifuna community in Belize, of approximately 150-200 people. The village has experienced considerable amount of out-migration to other districts for economic reasons, which has ultimately affected the development prospects of the community. This is one village in the region in which most of the population is made up of the old and the very young.

Map of Barranco Village

The local economy is based on remittances from former residents, periodic commuting, and a very limited degree of fishing and agriculture enterprise, though there does appear to be some reinvigoration with the production of cassava products. Until 1998 access from the village to Punta Gorda was mainly by sea, though, now with the completion of the Moho Bridge, access is by all-weather road. Lands are held through a mix of property and leases of National Land.

The village has had a long history of boom and bust agricultural enterprises, specifically pineapple and bananas, however due to isolation up until 1998 the market for the produce was inaccessible. Over the last number of years land tenure has become a significant problem in Barranco, as deceased members of the community own the majority of land parcels. These assets were not passed through the generations via legal documents, and thus this farming generation squats / uses other people’s land. There is a limited scope for coastal tourism development.

Barranco has an elevated village water tank and hand pumps, and 24-hour electricity. Recently the village water system was completed for individual household utility service. The village has a primary school, police station, one community telephone, health centre, with a resident nurse and Toledo Ecotourism Association Guest House. Housing consists predominantly of board or concrete with zinc roofs, though there are still several thatched buildings. Coc’s bus service runs regular trips into Punta Gorda on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.