You know about Carnival in Brazil and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but do you know about the Carnaval of San Pedro, Belize? Get ready to celebrate Mardi Gras with a tropical flavor. The Carnaval is the biggest and most important festival in San Pedro and is comprised of singing, dancing, live music, parades, flour fights, painting, and food.
Located on scenic Ambergris Caye, San Pedro has a well-deserved reputation as Belize’s party town. During Carnival, you can guarantee the people here will be living up to that reputation. San Pedro is also a popular tourist destination where you’ll find plenty of great restaurants, nightlife, and luxury beach resorts and hotels.
When Is the Carnival of San Pedro?
This year, it begins on February 22th – 25th.
The Tradition of Carnival
Like Carnival in Rio and other countries, El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro takes place just before Lent and Easter. The tradition of parties and celebrations before Lent originated in Italy, where the Venice Carnival stands out for its extravagance. The tradition traveled to Spain and then to the colonized countries of Latin America.
In Belize, our Carnival is not scandalous or extravagant like Carnivals in some countries. The San Pedro Carnival is a fun, friendly event that’s appropriate even for families.
How Belize Celebrates Carnival
Everything in Belize is colorful and festive, and we pull out all the stops for the biggest party of the year. As part of the celebration, dance teams called comparsas dress in costumes and dance through the streets. Prizes go to the best dance teams.
At the end of the Carnival, everyone competes in the “paint or be painted” contest. As they walk and dance through the streets, the comparsas carry pots of water-based paint. They compete to see how many people they can paint. You can expect to be painted unless you stay in the clearly marked “no painting” zone.
Are you looking for an unforgettable vacation? If you’re ready to experience nonstop fun on a gorgeous tropical island, you’re ready for the San Pedro Carnival.
How to Enjoy the San Pedro Carnival
Ambergris Caye is an island on the northeastern coast of Belize. If you fly into Philip Goldson International Airport in Belize City (the airport code is BZE), you can take a two-hour boat ride or a 15-minute airplane ride to San Pedro Town.
With lots of local art on display, tourists too can try their hand at painting, with separate contests for adults and children.
If you enjoy having fun, live music and dancing, as well as partying through the night, then you’ll definitely have the time of your life during the Fiesta de Carnaval.
Also, make sure you do not wear your finest clothes at the event as it will definitely get covered in paint and flour.
Written by Larry Waight