‘Tis the season! Christmas in Belize

Christmas in Belize
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Throughout December, Belize is alive with a festive Caribbean Christmas spirit, offering a unique take on the holiday season with an array of parades, parties, concerts, and even, horse races. The pleasant weather of average daytime highs of 82°F (28°C) and nighttime lows of 70°F (21°C) complements the mood, creating an inviting cooler setting for locals and visitors alike.

While Belize does not have the classical snowy landscapes or chimneys for Santa, the beautiful climate and dynamic holiday celebrations in December craft a memorable experience that blends local traditions with a distinct cultural flair. The Christmas and holiday season is a great time to visit Belize!

What to Expect

Pre-Christmas (Two weeks prior to Christmas Day)

The days leading to Christmas are filled with events that are meant to put everyone in a festive spirit. This includes Christmas-themed events such as countdowns, tree lightings, parades, holiday concerts, and downtown shops blasting Christmas songs from loudspeakers in an attempt to lure shoppers.

A few pre-Christmas Day traditions occur based on the various ethnic groups in Belize. For example, Creole people celebrate Christmas Bram, while the Mestizo celebrate Las Posadas, and the Maya celebrate the Maya Deer Dance.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, Belizeans celebrate with loud music blasting out of their homes and non-stop firecrackers exploding in the background. Downtown cores are usually lively during the day as everyone is running errands and buying last-minute Christmas gifts.

At night, families gather for a feast that includes bone-in ham leg, rice and beans, potato salad, tamales, and rompopo (eggnog spiked with rum). After dinner, the elderly go to Midnight Mass while kids and teens stay at home to watch Christmas movies and light fire-crackers.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is spent relaxing with family and friends. While the children play with the presents they received, adults gather at home to drink, listen to music, and play card games or dominoes.

For lunch and dinner, usually, the same traditional bone-in ham leg, rice and beans, potato salad, and tamales meal is eaten since a lot is always prepared. When the sun sets, young Belizeans usually go out with friends to bars and nightclubs.

The Garifuna people normally reserve Christmas afternoon for their traditional Wanaragua celebration.

Post-Christmas (the week leading to New Year’s Day)

The day after Christmas is also a holiday (Boxing Day) and most Belizeans head to the racetracks for a day filled with happy cheering and lots of drinking. The biggest horse racing event takes place in Burrell Boom, which is near Belize City, but a smaller, equally great event happens in Santa Elena, Cayo.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is when most Belizeans go out dancing since Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are typically spent relaxing at home with families. On New Year’s Eve, in particular, most people go to bars and nightclubs to bring in the New Year with a bang.

Where to Stay

Christmas tree in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

I recommend spending a minimum of one week in Belize. Spend half of your time visiting the jungles of mainland Belize and the rest of your vacation on the beaches of the cayes or southern coast.

Mainland Belize

The Cayo District, in particular San Ignacio Town, serves as the principal hub for travelers seeking the many jungle adventures that mainland Belize offers. The Districts of Orange Walk and Toledo also draw a few visitors and Corozal is possibly the least visited mainland destination in Belize.

Top Hotels in San Ignacio & Cayo
1. The Lodge at Chaa Creek
2. Blancaneaux Lodge
3. San Ignacio Hotel
4. Cahal Pech Village
5. Ka’ana Resort

Northern Cayes

Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker are the most visited beach destinations in Belize. Other popular cayes include Glover’s Reef, South Water Caye, and Tobacco Caye–all of which are liked by travelers that are seeking more seclusion.

Top Hotels in Ambergris Caye
1. Ramon’s Village
2. Pelican Reef Villas
3. Victoria House
4. Matachica Resort
5. PUR Boutique Cabanas
Top Hotels in Caye Caulker
1. Weezie’s Ocean Front Cottages
2. Jan’s Hotel
3. Colinda’s Cabanas
4. Rainbow Hotel
5. Bella’s Backpackers

Southern Coast

Hopkins and Placencia are the most popular coastal locations in Belize, followed by Dangriga–all of which are located near each other in Southern Belize.

Top Hotels in Hopkins
1. Hamanasi Resort
2. Coconut Row
3. Jaguar Reef
4. Buttonwood Guest House
5. White Horse Guesthouse
Top Hotels in Placencia
1. Chabil Mar Villas
2. Turtle Inn
3. Robert’s Grove
4. Belizean Nirvana
5. Miramar Suites



Reader Interactions


  1. fran says

    We are coming to Belize in December and we will be backpacking. Is there anywhere you recommend to go on xmas day/night for bars ? For the races on boxing day do you need to book tickets or ?

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