Belize Festivals and Events

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belize carnival

Belizeans are lively, energetic people who enjoy any opportunity to have a good time dancing, drinking and being merry. And with some of the most festive events in Central America, many travelers, when they are deciding to visit Belize ensure that vacation time coincides with certain festivals and events.

Below is a list of the top festivals and events so that you can decide when’s the best time to visit Belize.

Top Festivals and Events in Belize


  • New Year’s Day
    • The biggest parties are held on New Year’s Eve, bringing in the New Year dancing is what most Belizeans enjoy doing. However, if you’re still in the mood for dancing, major bars and nightclubs will still have parties on New Year’s Day.
  • Horse Race in Burrel Boom
    • Horse racing is very popular in Belize, with races happening for most of the major holidays. On January 1st, people from all over the country visit Burrel Boom for a full day of celebrations as they cheer on their favorite horses.


  • San Pedro Carnival
    • This three-day carnival in San Pedro marks the beginning of the Easter Season. This yearly celebration starts three days before Ash Wednesday.
  • Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival
    • Every year Placencia‘s sidewalks come alive with the best artwork Belize has to offer! This event will take place February 10 – 11 and is sponsored by the BTIA Placencia chapter.


  • La Ruta Maya Canoe River Challenge Race
    • La Ruta Maya River Challenge is a grueling, multi-day canoe race traveling a meandering river route across the country of Belize. The route runs west to east along the Macal and Belize River, once the only link between San Ignacio and the bustling port of Belize City. This is a race for professional and leisure racers.
  • National Heroes and Benefactors Day
    • Formerly called Baron Bliss Day, this day is set aside to celebrate benefactors who have contributed to the development of Belize. Annually, boat races are held in Belize City, and many small towns across the country have regattas where locals hang out by the river all day.
  • Maya Day
    • Held by the Tumul K’in Center of Learning in the quiet village of Blue Creek in Toledo, this day highlights the unique Maya culture that is being preserved in Southern Belize. The event is filled with traditional music, art, cultural dances, games, and food and drinks.


  • San Pedro Lagoon-Reef Eco-Challenge
    • This Eco-Challenge is a 42-mile, two-day kayak race starting on the lagoon side of Ambergris Caye, through the many lagoons in the Northern Ambergris Caye area, up to Bacalar Chico, then down to Robles Point, where all teams camp. The race ends in San Pedro Town.
  • Easter Week Festivities across Belize
    • Join Belizeans from across Belize as they celebrate the Easter Season. Go to Benque Viejo del Carmen to witness Semana Santa processions, stand along the highway from Belize City to San Ignacio to see the Holy Saturday Bicycle Classic Race, and visit Burrel Boom on Easter Monday to see horse racing.
  • The National Agricultural & Trade Show
    • This trade show is held annually in the capital city of Belmopan. It highlights agricultural diversification, rodeo, livestock, handicraft displays, music, games, and food.

5. MAY

  • Cashew Festival
    • Held in Crooked Tree Village, this Festival celebrates the cashew harvest season, where live Punta music, cashew wine, desserts, Caribbean style dishes and games are the main attractions.
  • Chocolate Festival of Belize
    • This festival opens with a wine and chocolate evening, featuring local and international wines and chocolate-based cocktails. Saturday brings you the Taste of Toledo cooki and craft fair, with chocolate demonstrations and a host of cacao-related activities.
  • Monkey River Festival
    • This is the country’s premiere Creole event and is a fun festival with traditional games for adults and children. It includes greasy pole, watermelon eating, lime and spoon, tug-of-war, three-legged race, needle and thread and sack races. Along with Jankunu stick, a challenge to all Jankunu dancers throughout Belize to come and show off their stick walking skills – an old tradition which Monkey River Village is determined to revive.


  • Dia de San Pedro
    • San Pedro day is a major event in Ambergris Caye. The community comes out on that day to celebrate the island’s patron saint and honor the fishermen and founding fathers who have lead San Pedro to grow from a small fishing village to what it currently is. Celebrations include a fair, cultural dance, fishing tournaments, and parties.
  • Mango Fest
    • Every year, the village of Hopkins hosts Mango Fest, a glorious celebration of the succulent mango fruit. It is a must-attend event for food enthusiasts and those seeking a unique cultural experience.


  • Lobster Festivals in San Pedro, Placencia, and Caye Caulker
    • In celebration of the opening of the lobster season, San Pedro, Placencia, and Caye Caulker offer a week full of activities. A wide array of dishes are showcased and activities such as fishing tournaments, bicycle races, and social events take place.
  • Pibil Fest
    • Held in the village of Progresso in the Corozal District, this festival celebrates the Maya culinary tradition of cooking pork. “Pibil,” meaning “buried,” refers to the tradition of wrapping the pork in a banana leaf, then burying it in a fire pit for roasting. A host of other activities round out the festival.
  • Benque Fiesta
    • This is a local Mestizo fair that celebrates the day of Benque Viejo Del Carmen’s patron saint (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) with cultural shows, marimba bands, food, and games. It all takes place over a weekend at the Cancha Marshalleck Stadium which is at the center of the town.


  • The International Costa Maya Festival
    • Held in downtown San Pedro. The huge festival hosts Central American and Mexican music groups and beauty queens, as well as cultural dances, international cuisine, and arts and crafts.
  • Tres Pescados Slam Tournament
    • Every summer, the largest fly-fishing event in Belize takes place in Ambergris Caye. Over twenty teams participate in this tournament looking for the coveted Grand Slam of bonefish, permit, and tarpon.
  • La Fiesta de San Joaquin
    • This festival is a cultural extravaganza celebrated in San Joaquin Village in Corozal in honor of the community’s patron saint.


  • Carnival Road March
    • This yearly march through the streets of Belize highlights our many cultures and history.
  • J’ouvert
    • Over a thousand partygoers engage in this annual paint and chocolate festival through the streets of Belize City. This event is done on the morning of Carnival Day.
  • September 10th
    • This public and bank holiday is the celebration of the Battle of St. George’s Caye Day. Official ceremonies, citizens’ parades and street festivals are held nationwide, which include food, live music and a re-enactment of the actual site.
  • September 21st
    • The official Independence Day ceremonies and parade are held. This public and bank holiday is the celebration of the country’s Independence. Official Independence Day ceremonies and parades are held as well as numerous cultural, religious and sporting events.


  • Belize International Film Festival
    • This festival showcases top Central American and Caribbean films.
  • Battle of the Drums
    • A celebration of Garifuna music and culture with live performances by some of the foremost musicians at work today. The Battle of the Drums is a Garifuna drumming competition, allowing drumming groups to compete and showcase their musical talents in playing five different categories of Garifuna music.
  • Garifuna Settlement Day
    • November 19th marks the arrival of the Garifuna people to Stann Creek and is mainly celebrated in Southern Belize. The reenactment of their arrival is the main attraction, with religious, cultural and parade activities continuing for the rest of the day.
  • Thanksgiving
    • All of Belize celebrates Thanksgiving and you can surely expect restaurants and resorts to be serving turkey dinner and other Thanksgiving treats. As to why Belize celebrates Thanksgiving, some say it’s due to the American Media’s influence in Belize, however, it is also due to religion.


  • Holiday Boat Lighting Parade
    • During the holiday season, boats are decorated and sail from Boca del Rio to Coconuts Hotel in San Pedro. Prizes are awarded to the boats depicting best creativity and overall design. The award party has something fun for the entire family.
  • Christmas Day
    • This is a national holiday and most restaurants and stores are closed except for popular restaurants and resorts. On this day locals have backyard family BBQs and stay home all day, however, the younger crowds usually go out with friends at nighttime.
  • Boxing Day
    • The day after Christmas is also a holiday 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 the village of Burrell Boom near Belize City but in the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena there is also a lively smaller event.
  • New Year’s Eve
    • Since Christmas Eve and Christmas are usually days that Belizeans spend with their families, New Year’s Eve is when everyone goes out to party with friends. Some people, of course, will also party with their family on New Year’s Eve but it is most common for individuals to go to a nightclub and bring in the New Year with their partners and friends. So hit up a nightclub or bar and get your dance on!

Where to Go in Belize

To truly explore the country, I recommend spending a minimum one week in Belize. A good recommendation is to spend half of your time in the rainforests of inland Belize and finish off your travels by visiting the coast or the Cayes.

  • The most popular destinations in Belize are the cayes, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker to be specific. Glover’s Reef, South Water Caye, and Tobacco Caye are also well known amongst budget travelers but they are more secluded.
  • Placencia and Hopkins are the most visited coastal towns, followed by Dangriga; all which are located near each other in Southern Belize.

Where to Stay in Belize

Belize Map