Originally a regional celebration of Maya culture in 1992, the International Costa Maya Festival has become the biggest cultural event of the year in Belize. Held every August in San Pedro, the capital of Ambergris Caye, the Costa Maya Festival is a multi-day event featuring a beauty pageant, live music from some of the region's top acts, and plenty of dancing, food, art, and games.
The first day of the festival begins with a beauty pageant to select the Miss Costa Maya International. Women from Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and other countries with Maya populations compete to win this prestigious event. In the evening, there is a grand opening where government officials, foreign diplomats, and dignitaries formally announce the beginning of the event.
The weekend is a time of lobster cookouts, rides and games, football (soccer) marathons, and parades during the daytime. As evening falls on Saturday, Noche International (International Night) begins with top bands from the Latino world taking to the stage to keep the party going until dawn.
On the final day of the event, Sunday, there are cultural shows and exhibitions, comedy acts, more food, fun, and games, and plenty of live music. Visitors can see performances by folk bands, ballet troupes, modern dance groups, and other examples of the region's traditions. Sunday night usually features an international film star or popular musical artist to lead the all-night dance that caps off the ceremony. Every participating country is given a chance to showcase their culture and talent during the festival.
In 2018, the International Costa Maya Festival will begin on Thursday, August 2, and run through August 4. The beauty pageant will begin at 8:00 PM on August 2. Saturday, August 5, has been designated as both Caribbean Night and Noche Internacional and will feature performances from Felix LT (Panama), Super G (Belize), Grupo Yerbaklan (Honduras), and Alison Hinds, the Soca Queen of the Caribbean.
The International Costa Maya Festival will be held at various locations across San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye. There are regular domestic air connections from Belize City and other locations in the country to San Pedro. Water taxi service is available between Ambergris Caye and Belize City as well as other nearby islands.
Adventures in Belize (AIB) works with the top hotels and resorts on Ambergris Caye to create beautiful bespoke vacationsin Belize. The AIB team can arrange every detail, including accommodations, tours, and much more so that visitors can enjoy all the fun of the International Costa Maya Festival.