As the Caribbean Spiny Lobster season officially opens on July 1,2022 in Belize, traditions continue to honor the season with festivals across the country! Throughout the month of July, destinations Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, and Placencia host their own individual Lobster Festival to highlight the delicious crustacean and delight patrons with live jamborees. For those traveling to Belize for their first lobster fest rodeo, here is some useful information regarding the celebration. Plus, how to make this summer visit to Belize unforgettable and the beginning of an annual trip. The year 2022 marks the return of the festivals, on pause since 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Belize. But following the drop in COVID-19 restriction in April of this year, the lobster fest celebrations are taking place once again.
Caye Caulker hosts their 3-day festival starting July 1, at season-opening; meanwhile on Ambergris Caye, the festivities begin with a lionfish hunt and a longer-than-a-week lobster crawl on June 30, culminating with the anticipated block party at Central Park on July 9. And to round out the month, the Placencia Lobster Fest in Southern Belize will take place July 15 through 17.
1. Grab bragging rights for ‘the first’
With so much lobster on the first few days of the open season, you can find pretty good deals at the food stalls during the festivals starting at US$15. You also get to devour the catch of the day and be one of the first people to try this delicacy long anticipated by many seafood goers.
2. Crawl your way through lobster
Images via Elvi’s Kitchen
On Ambergris Caye, found just a ferry or a short puddle jumper flight away from the mainland, there is the popular lobster crawl. Participants visit chosen establishments participating in the crawl, which changes daily, where they enjoy amazing deals on lobster dishes and drinks. This activity also provides crawlers with a Lobster Fest passport, which is stamped at every participating establishment visited. The passport stamps allow the participant the chance to win a grand raffle prize announced at the annual lobster block party at Central Park.
3. Party like a rockstar (or lob-star!)
At the Caye Caulker Lobster Fest, dance to the beats of a steel band, live bands, and the island’s best DJs. Throughout the festival, you can party like a lobster at the beach fete, powder parties, and participation in different games organized by the event’s organizers.
4. Find the catch-of-the-day at a competition
Images via Belize Tourism Board
Witness a fishermen’s lobster competition to find out the size of the biggest lobster caught at its opening! You can even take pictures with the largest lobster.
5. Indulge in lobster dishes galore
At any of these lobster-themed events, you will find the beloved crustacean prepared in different ways. Choose from lobster on the grill, lobster thermidor, lobster ceviche, lobster kebabs, lobster chowder, soup, and even BBQ.
6. Hit the town at night
At the Caye Caulker Palapa Gardens by Front Street, the night glows with live performances of popular Belizean artists and a host of DJs. The party usually includes special effects, like glow-in-the-dark wristbands and headbands.
7. Cheer on the best lobster-themed recipe
Some of the activities during the block party at these Lobster Fests involve competitions for the best lobster dishes and drinks. Follow the competition and at the end, get to sample the winning plate and drink.
8. Confident? Compete in a dance contest
If you are skipping the islands and instead head south to the Placencia Peninsula, one of the many activities you will encounter during the celebration are dance competitions. Along the beach and near the popular waterhole Tipsy Tuna Seaside & Sports Bar, you will find the crowds and the stages where the best dancers show off their unique moves to local beats.
9. Make it to a mini-event
The unique Placencia Lobster Fest is packed with plenty to see and enjoy. There is a fishing tournament, cast net competition to scoop a 25 cents coin from the sand, and beach concerts. In addition, there is a lobster fest boat parade too.
10. Carve out time for a cultural presentation
The lobster festivals are always a perfect place to showcase the local culture. One of these presentations includes drumming sessions and of course the talent of young musicians playing the Caribbean-themed steel band music.