Mid-June is a time for celebration in Belize as the official lobster season opens. It typically opens June 15th every year and closes on February 14 of the following year. To celebrate the start of the new season, there are gastronomic events in different parts of the country. If you’ve considered traveling to Belize to try Caribbean spiny lobster, try to coordinate your trip around one of these three festivals.
Lobsterfest on Ambergris Caye is serious business. The week-plus long event incorporates daytime and nighttime activities throughout the island. You can even pick up a complimentary Lobster Passport that you get stamped at all the event locations. You can use this to enter a drawing for a return trip to Belize! The highlight of Ambergris Caye’s Lobsterfest celebration is the giant block party on the final Saturday night. Here you’ll find many of the island’s top chefs showcasing creative lobster creations, fun libations, and the Belizean steel drum band, Panerrifix, performing.
The Placencia peninsula is home to some of the best beaches in Belize, and this three-day weekend event typically takes place towards the end of June. The initial festival was held in 1998, and the small celebration was timed to coincide with Fisherman’s Day. Placencia got its start as a humble fishing village, and as the influx of tourism has grown, so has the festival. There are typically over 50 booths featuring everything from lobster to traditional Belizean cuisine.
An added menu item to the Placencia lobsterfest is lionfish. The invasive fish is not-native to the Belizean Barrier Reef and wreaks havoc on the eco-system. More and more restaurants and chefs are incorporating lionfish into their menus and are creating some innovative dishes to feature it. Adventurous anglers can even join in the fun by participating in the annual Lionfish Tournament where a prize is awarded to the fisherman who catches the biggest lionfish.
Entertainment includes live music and a variety of games, including “Cast Net” and “Reel in the Dinghy”. To succeed at Cast Net, players have to throw a fishing net over a coin in such a way that the coin is in the center of the net, while Reel in the Dinghy players use a fishing rod to attempt to reel in occupied dinghies to the shoreline.
Ambergris Caye’s smaller neighbor, Caye Caulker, is just a 30-minute water taxi ride away, and is home to the original lobsterfest celebration, dating back to 1994. The three-day event typically takes place at the end of June or beginning of July and kicks off with a pageant and the crowning of Miss Lobster Fest on Friday night. Opening ceremonies are held on Saturday, along with an all-day beach party that extends with live performances long into the night. Sunday is another all-day beach party with games and more tasty lobster dishes.
Belize’s lobsterfest celebrations all take place during the Atlantic hurricane season, so the weather may be more rainy than other times of year. While hurricanes are not as common in Belize as other parts of the Caribbean, there is still a risk. It’s in your best interest to consider a RoamRight insurance policy that may offer some protections against natural disasters.
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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