Belize Events and Festivals

The calendar in Belize is jam-packed with exciting festivals, competitions, sporting events, and other public celebrations. Whether it's a town celebrating a local event or a nationwide holiday, you can always count on lots of delicious food, homemade crafts, and live music.

Here is a partial calendar of some of the top events and festivals in Belize:

Cultural Festivals

  • Carnival - Every February, the entire country turns out to celebrate Carnival, but the best place to see colorful parades and street fun is in San Pedro, the capital of Ambergris Caye. Don't miss the crazy costumes and outrageous body painting.
  • Columbus Day - Columbus personally traveled to Belize on his final journey to the Americas, and every October 9, the entire country celebrates with a Pan American theme that features music, parades, and beauty pageants.
  • St. George's Caye Day - The small island that served as the first colonial capital of Belize was the location of a historic naval triumph over the Spanish on September 10, 1798, that led to Belize becoming the only outpost of the British Empire in Central America.
  • Dia de San Pedro - Every June, the town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye holds a week-long party to celebrate its founding.
  • Township Day - Not satisfied with the June party, San Pedro celebrates every November on the occasion of the government formally recognizing it as a town with plenty of music, food, and boat races.
  • Deer Dance Day - Every August, the Maya population of Belize honor their long heritage with a special ritualistic dance that celebrates a traditional deer hunt.
  • Independence Day - Belize became an independent nation on September 21, 1981, and every year the entire country turns out in red, white,
    and blue (the national colors) for patriotic poetry recitals, parades, and plenty of music.
  • Easter - Belize is largely a country of the faithful, and Easter is the only four-day holiday on the calendar.
  • Garifuna Settlement Day - On November 19, 1832, the wearied Garifuna people arrived on the shores of Belize after participating in a revolt against the British on the island of St. Vincent. Today, Garifuna Settlement Day includes a dramatic re-enactment of their water landing along with lots and lots of Garifuna music, dancing, and food.

Music

  • Battle of the Drums - Garifuna musical troupes from all over Central America arrive in Punta Gorda each November to engage in a dramatic all-night drumming competition in five different categories.

Sports

  • La Ruta Belize Challenge - What began as a one-off event to raise awareness about the environment has become an annual four-day race pitting teams of canoeists to be the first to cross the country.
  • Baron Bliss Day - Now official known as National Heroes and Benefactors Day, the Monday closest to March 9 is a time for boating regattas and other events to honor the generosity of Belize's greatest benefactor.
  • Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Challenge - The day before Easter is when the country's oldest and most popular sporting event takes place. First held in 1928 to encourage Belizeans to explore the country by bicycle, the race now pits teams from around the country and the world in a grueling 142-mile loop that starts in Belize City and heads to San Ignacio before returning to Belize City. At the end of the race, there are parades, parties, music, and plenty of celebrating.

Other Festivals

  • Cashew Day - Cashews thrive in Belize's fertile soil,
    and every year in May, the northern sections of the country where cashew grow hold a multi-day festival to honor the tasty nut. Definitely don't miss the chance to try cashew wine, made from the fruit of the plant rather than the nut,
    along with a bevy of other cashew-themed goodies.
  • Chocolate Festival - Chocolate has been an important food since the Ancient Maya ruled the area thousands of years ago. Today, Belize's southern Toledo District holds a Chocolate Festival every May that features fine wine, a delicious assortment of chocolates, and interesting chocolate products like chocolate beer and chocolate soap.
  • Lobsterfest - The islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker in the north and the Placencia Peninsula in the south welcome the opening of lobster season with a public party. Enjoy dozens of different lobster dishes along with live music,
    games, and plenty of dancing to burn off the calories.
  • International Costa Maya Festival - A combination cultural celebration of Maya heritage and the country's biggest beauty pageant, the town of San Pedro comes alive with musical performances by top stars, games, and lots of food and fun.