Top Belize Cultural Experiences to Put on Your Bucket List This New Year

by Khaila Gentle

With the new year fast approaching, you might already find yourself thinking of what your goals and resolutions will be. But have you been thinking of what kind of experiences you’d like to have come 2023? If  you’re planning a trip to Belize, then you might already know a bit about what activities are store for you: lounging on the beach, hikes through the Maya Mountains, and delectable breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, to name a few. But in addition to boasting beautiful marine environments and gorgeous rainforests, Belize is also teeming with culture. Which is why a trip to Belize wouldn’t be complete without the immersive and diverse cultural experiences that are unique to this small Caribbean and Central American nation.

With tons of experiences to choose from, it might be hard to decide what to do and experience on a trip to Belize. But fret not. Here are some of the top unique cultural experiences to put on your Belize bucket list this New Year.

Get A Copal Cleanse at San Ignacio Resort Hotel 

The locally sourced Copal resin is aromatic.

One of the most unique cultural experiences to be had in the Cayo district, the copal cleansing is a highlight of San Ignacio Resort Hotel’s Medicinal Plant Tour. Travelers who take part in this ceremony have often said they left feeling lighter and rejuvenated.

It is done by placing the resin of the Copal tree, the sacred tree of the ancient Maya, in a clay holder and then burning it.  As the aromatic copal resin burns, its smoke encircles you, cleansing the spirit and providing protection against any ill intentions.

Learn Garifuna Drumming in Southern Belize

A night drumming session at The Lodge at Jaguar Reef. Image via The Belize Collection

Let the rhythmic beating of the segunda and the primero carry you away as you learn the basics of Garifuna drumming. Located in the small town of Punta Gorda, the Warasa Drumming School welcomes visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture of the Garinagu.  And in the warm and welcoming village of Hopkins, The Lodge at Jaguar Reef offers drumming classes coupled with a Garifuna cooking lesson.

Make Your Own Chocolate with Hamanasi

Che’il Mayan Chocolate Making with Hamanasi Resort (Photo courtesy Hamanasi Resort)

The Food of the Gods. Theobroma cacao. For centuries, chocolate has been considered sacred by cultures around the globe, especially the ancient Maya. Today, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry, mass produced for millions to consume. In the small southern village of Maya center, however, travellers have the chance to experience the reverence and care with which small chocolate makers take this beloved food from bean to bar.

At Hamanasi Resort, visitors can make their own bar of chocolate from start to finish with the experts at Che’il Mayan Products. That includes tasting the smooth, rich pulp of a cacao pod. You’ll also get to taste cacao beans that lay inside before grinding them to make your chocolate.

Learn Pottery with the Women of San Antonio Village

Pottery making with the San Antonio Women’s Group. Photo by the Belize Tourism Board.

Bring out your inner artist and master the art of pottery. In addition to their tortilla making classes, the San Antonio Women’s Cooperative are renowned for their ceramic making. With Ka’ana Resort in the Cayo district, travellers can get to experience first-hand the work that goes into making beautiful pieces of clay pottery.  Get the chance to create one of your own clay pots and learn the intricacies of using the “coil method”.  Then, leave with your belly full after learning how to make one of Central America’s signature delicacies.

Book A Cultural & Heritage Trail


Drums of our Fathers in Dangriga, Belize. Photo by Duarte Dellarole

Full of rich history and tradition, there’s a reason Dangriga Town is Belize’s culture capital. The Belize Tourism Board has launched a number of cultural and heritage trails in recent years, and the Dangriga Trail is one of them. Visit iconic cultural spaces and historic sites that will allow a deeper understanding and appreciation for Belize’s Garifuna people. Highlights include the Gulisi Garifuna Museum,  the Drums of Our Fathers Monument, and renowned artist Pen Cayetano’s gallery.

Cultural experiences in Belize are in no short supply. And this list merely scratches the surface. Regardless of which you choose though, there is no denying that immersive experiences like these are not to be missed.

Feature Image courtesy the Belize Tourism Board. 

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