Here’s Where You Can Watch the 2023 La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

by Khaila Gentle

In just one week, paddlers from across Belize will be racing up the length of the Old Belize River for a grueling four days. The 26th La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge starts off on March 3rd. And, if you’re hoping to follow along, here’s where you can catch the race from start to finish.

Friday March 3rd – The La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge Takes Off

hawksworth bridge Cayo

The Hawksworth Bridge crosses the Macal River, connecting San Ignacio and Santa Elena. Photo by Meritt Thomas/Unsplash

The first day of the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge begins bright and early on March 3rd. For this first stretch, paddlers will race from the starting point – the Hawksworth Bridge in San Ignacio Town – to Banana Bank, which is just outside of Belmopan. The route begins on the Macal River then goes up to Branch Mouth where the Macal and Mopan Rivers join to form the Belize River. From there, it will pass along areas like Spanish Lookout, Teakettle, Ontario, and Valley of Peace.

The La Ruta Maya River Challenges starts on the Macal River. Photo Courtesy: Chaa Creek Resort

It all starts at 7:00am, so head out to the river bank in San Ignacio early to secure a good spot for viewing. If you’re planning to take part in the day long festivities that take place at each rest stop, then head over to Banana Bank in the afternoon.

Places along or near the route on the first day include:

  • San Ignacio Resort Hotel, “the only jungle in town”, is just steps away from downtown San Ignacio, the Macal River, and the Hawksworth Bridge.
  • Gilly’s Landing is a bar and grill set on the Belize River in Esperanza Village, Cayo.
  • The La Ruta Maya River Challenge will also pass along several spots in Spanish Lookout Town
  • Warrie Head Resort sits near the river between Ontario Village and Teakettle village

Day 2 – Banana Bank to Double Head Cabbage

Day two of the La Ruta Maya, Saturday March 4th, kicks off at 6:30 AM in Banana Bank. From there, the race will pass near the village of Cotton Tree, as well as a number of areas in the Belize River Valley. Bermudian Landing and Isabella Bank in the Belize District are both set right on the river bank.

Day 3 – Journey Through the Belize River Valley

On Sunday, at 8:00 AM, the third leg of the race begins. It starts off at Double Head Cabbage and Ends in Burrell Boom Village, passing a number of historic communities in the Belize River Valley along the way. There are a number of spots along the river to watch the conclusion of the third leg, including the Iguana Stop, a fun, family friendly restaurant known for their tacos and stellar riverside views.

Day 4 – The La Ruta Maya Comes to an End


The grand finale of the race takes place in Belize City, where the Belize River eventually empties out into the Caribbean Sea. The actual finish line of the event though, will be near the Belize City Civic Center on Central American Boulevard. Racers will depart from Burrell Boom Village at 9:00 AM.

After watching the thrilling conclusion, you can expect to find loads of food, drinks, and fun activities for the entire family all day long.

Want a glimpse at what’s in store for the 26th La Ruta Maya River Challenge? Check out highlights from last year’s race below:


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