Some of the events listed here might be considered more of a community celebration or tradition than an event -- there's not, for instance, a Deer Dance Festival PR Committee that readily dispenses information. If I haven't listed a contact number, your best bet is to call the Belize Tourism Board at tel. 800/624-0286 in the U.S. and Canada, or 227-2430 in Belize, or visit www.travelbelize.org for additional information.
Krem New Year's Cycling Classic. This New Year's Day road race starts in Corozal Town and ends in Belize City. The competitors are mostly Belizean, although Guatemalan and Mexican teams occasionally enter. The winners usually take around 3 1/2 to 4 hours to cross the finish line; crowds usually form at the start and finish points. January 1.
International Billfish Tournament. Hosted by the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina (tel. 800/333-3333 in the U.S., or 223-3333; www.radisson.com), this multiday event features cash prizes. Early February.
Carnival. Nationwide celebrations during the week before Lent. Larger towns have parades and dance competitions. In San Pedro, watch out for getting "painted."
La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. This 4-day canoe race begins in San Ignacio in the Cayo District and ends at the Swing Bridge in Belize City. For more details, visit www.larutamayabelize.com. March 6 to 9.
Baron Bliss Day. The day is marked with nationwide celebrations of Belize's benefactor. The greatest festivities are held in Belize City, which hosts a regatta, as well as horse and foot races. March 9.
Labour Day. After a national address by the prime minister or minister of labour (carried on all local radio and television stations), the rest of Labour Day is filled with street celebrations, regattas, and horse races. May 1.
Cashew Festival, Crooked Tree Village. Celebrating the cashew harvest, this weekend celebration features local booths selling everything possible under the sun made with this coveted nut, including cashew wine and cashew jelly. Live music and general revelry accompany the celebrations. First weekend in May.
National Agriculture & Trade Show, Belmopan. This national fair is geared towards farmers, cattle ranchers, large-scale agro-business, and buyers, but it's still an interesting event to tour or visit if you're in the country at the time. Mid-May.
Toledo Cacao Fest, Punta Gorda. Chocolate lovers should head to southern Belize in late May for this festival. In addition to food and desserts, there are concerts, games, parades and tour activities planned. For exact dates, see www.toledochocolate.com.
Día de San Pedro, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. This is a 3-day celebration of the island's patron saint, Saint Peter, or San Pedro. Boats are blessed, and there are parades and processions. June 27 to 29.
Lobster Festival, Placencia. During this extended weekend celebration of the opening of lobster season, this beach town pulls out all the stops. There's plenty of lobster to be had in a variety of preparations, at temporary outdoor stalls and restaurants around town. There are also concerts and dancing and an arts fair. Check www.placencia.com for the latest details. Late June.
Lobster Festival, Caye Caulker. Not to be outdone by Placencia, Caye Caulker also puts on a long weekend celebration of the start of lobster season. Food, music, and dancing are all served up in hearty portions around town. Early July.
Costa Maya Festival, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. This is perhaps the largest festival in the country. Drawing participants from the neighboring countries of El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, this celebration features a steady stream of live concert performances, street parades, beauty pageants, and water shows and activities. Early August.
Deer Dance Festival, San Antonio, Toledo District. This 9-day Mayan festival is celebrated in the small Mayan village of San Antonio. Highlights include costumed and dance performances. Late August to early September.
Independence Day. Patriotic parades and official celebrations are mixed with street parties, beauty pageants, and open-air concerts. September 21.
Pan American Day. Formerly known as Columbus Day, this day now celebrates mestizo and Mayan culture with parades, street fairs, and concerts. October 12.
Garífuna Settlement Day. The greatest Garífuna celebration occurs in Dangriga, where Garífunas from across Belize and throughout the region gather to commemorate their arrival from St. Vincent in 1832. Street parades, religious ceremonies, and dance and drumming performances are all part of the celebrations throughout the southern coastal zone. November 19.
Boxing Day. While Christmas Day is predominantly for the family in Belize, Boxing Day is a chance to continue the celebration with friends, neighbors, and strangers. Dances, concerts, horse races, and general festivities are put on around the country. December 26.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.