The island of Ambergris Caye is best known for its stunning scenic beauty, incredible ocean views, amazing recreational opportunities at sea and plenty of friendly locals. It is an amazing destination to visit no matter the time of year, and it is easily accessible from the nearby mainland of Belize. However, there are a few fun festivals and events that bring the whole island together. For a real taste of the culture, heritage and friendliness on the island, plan to visit during one of these spectacular annual festivities.
This annual event is one of the most exciting and inviting for travelers from around the world. Held to signify the start of the lobster season, it is a fun event that brings together the island's fishermen, young local children and tourists from every corner of the map. The event takes place in Central Park, and dozens of businesses set up stalls to promote their traditional products. Of course, the main draw is the delicious fresh lobster. Restaurants sell lobster at great discounts and some of the top chefs in Central America come to compete the create the most succulent and beautifully presented lobster dishes on the island. There is another competition that finds the best local cocktails, so tourists will get their fill of both food and drink. This fun event is a great way to interact with the local residents and can be enjoyed by both adults and children of all ages.
Garifuna Settlement Day
Garifunas are a West African people group that first settled in the region in 1823. Each year on November 19th, the island celebrates the native culture, cuisine and language of the Garifuna people. This exciting event is a wonderful way to learn more about the native residents on the island.
Like in places such as Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans, Carnival is a big celebration that takes place in the week leading up to Ash Wednesday in the spring. Traditionally, it is a time to celebrate in extravagant pleasures before the Lenten season begins. On the island, Carnival has become a week-long celebration full of fun festivities and activities for locals and tourists alike. Some of the best events during the celebration include the dance competitions and the paint wars held on the last day. Beware that the fun can extend to travelers, so be prepared to join in if you happen to be on the island that day.
The San Pedro International Costa Maya Festival
For local residents, the San Pedro International Costa Maya Festival is, without a doubt, the most enjoyable and celebratory time of the year. The festival takes place not just on the island but in all the neighboring countries of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador. The week-long celebration, held each August, consists of parades, parties, musical performances, theatrical street shows and incredible foods served up by street vendors. The most popular part of the San Pedro International Costa Maya Festival is the La Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant, where women from all of the countries in the area compete for top honors and a stunning crown.
Christmas Boat Parade
Although the weather stays warm throughout the year, Christmas is still celebrated in full force each December. The most popular event during the holiday season is the Christmas Boat Parade. Local boats get outfitted with incredible light displays and then they parade in front of the shoreline for voting. One boat will be declared the overall Christmas Boat Parade winner.
With so many wonderful festivals and events held throughout the year, Ambergris Caye is an exciting vacation destination.