Don’t Forget: San Pedro Carnaval Takes Place This Weekend

by Khaila Gentle

Ready for a weekend of paint, powder, and parties? Starting this Saturday, the town of San Pedro will come alive with the colors and sounds of the much-anticipated Carnaval. Much like Trinidad Carnival and celebrations in Latin America, the four day event takes places annually before the beginning of the Lenten Season. But this quintessentially “San Pedrano” festivity puts a creative and unique spin on things. Hoping to immerse yourself in the fun this weekend? Here’s what to expect.

What to Expect at San Pedro Carnaval

events in ambergris caye

El Gran Carnaval! Photo Courtesy Andrew Usher

‘El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro’ is one of Ambergris Caye’s most unique events. This decades-long tradition has been going on long before the island was a popular tourism destination. This year, its main events take place from Saturday, February 18 through to Fat Tuesday, February 21, leading up to Ash Wednesday on the 22nd. Attendees can expect big parties, street dances (known as comparsas), and lots of painting.

This is a festival that’s been held for decades – before San Pedro had tourists.  Get covered in paint with local kids, dance in the park, drink Belikin beers on a dock, and then take a dip in ocean.  Everyone is involved.  Even our traffic guys.

-Rebecca from San Pedro Scoop

The opening ceremony on Saturday will include a Market Day at Honourable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex as well as a bartending competition offering a grand prize of $1,000 cash. After that, revelers can expect loads of entertainment including live DJs.

The following days will be chock full of paint and powder parties as well as processions through the street, including the beloved comparsas, which feature dressing in drag, dancing, and lively singing.

The celebration will close with the burning of the festival’s patron, Don Juan Carnaval, which serves to attract prosperity to the island by ridding it of bad energy. Legend has it that Don Juan was an infamous womanizer, known to have been with thousands of women from a total of eight countries.

It’s going to be four days of fun and jubilation. Much of the revelry will be taking place on Front Street and Barrier Reef Drive.

The San Pedro Town Council has published the list of rules that are upheld during the celebrations. That includes having a painting day for only children on Sunday, respecting those who don’t wish to participate, and “no rotten eggs”.

El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro is sure to be a fun and memorable event. Don’t miss it!

Featured Photo by Belize Tourism Board

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