What is Christmas like down in Belize
Christmas in the Caribbean is not your typical white snow, tall Christmas tree kind of Christmas. We have celebrations and festivities, just not ice skating and caroling. Spend some time in Belize and see what it is all about. Belizeans love the Christmas season. They are family-oriented and giving, festive and love a party, as well as a humble and grateful society. With that being said, it is clear why Christmas looks so good on this community.
Belizeans have cultural events like the local Garifuna dances, local Mayan dances, Christmas parades, a local Christmas tree lighting in our Central Park, and traditional dinners available at restaurants around the island. (Drift Inn typically hosts a Christmas Dinner for our guests!)
Weather around Christmas in Belize
Belize’s average December temperatures range from 71-80°F (22-27°C), with some days dropping down to, say, 65°F. You can expect nice cozy mild temperatures with sunshine during a vacation in late December to early January. Bring a light jacket and a pair of jeans along with your swimsuit and shorts!
San Pedro Christmas Holiday Boat Parade
The San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade has been an annual event on Ambergris Caye for 13 years, having been started in 2006.
Businesses and individuals donate their boats and time to create elaborate light shows to celebrate the Christmas season. It costs to participate and money goes to charities and the winner! Watch the video above to see a glimpse of what to expect if you visit during the holidays.
Where to watch you ask? Enjoy the boat parade from a beachfront bar in Boca Del Rio or go to the shop and buy a few beers to sit on the dock right in front of Drift Inn and Sandbar. You’ll see Belizean youth, families, tourists, and expats alike gathering around the shoreline from the Bridge to the Central Park watching the boats pass. Anywhere beach front is the right place to view it!
Love FM Parade in San Pedro
The Love FM Christmas Parade is a much-anticipated event during the season in San Pedro, Belize. Hundreds of residents flock to the streets early enough to obtain a great viewing spot in which to enjoy the parade. Local businesses from the island have floats, children dance, and candy is given out during the parade. Everyone celebrates the joy of the holidays in the community of San Pedro.
From Drift Inn, we just need to walk to the around-about to see the parade! Less than 100 feet from the action.
Garifuna Jankunu and Charikanari Dance
During the Christmas and New Year holidays, the local Garifuna communities in Belize take to the streets to enjoy the Jankunu and Charikanari dancers. The Jankunu dance sees masked and costumed dancers parading the streets and roaming from house to house accompanied by the beat of traditional drummers.
You’re more likely to see this tradition being upheld in Southern Belize near Hopkins, where a large Garifuna population lives.
Maya Dear Dance
This dance is popular in the Santa Cruz area and is performed by 24 dancers dressed in colorful costumes. These dancers include a jaguar, a joker, a man dressed as an elderly woman, a man dressed as a maiden, a hunter, two dogs, some soldiers, and six deer. The Deer Dance tells the story of a maiden being kidnapped by the jaguar who is then pursued by the hunter. While this is happening, the two dogs will follow the deer as the joker makes fun of everyone.
Again, this one is a tradition that takes place on the mainland where Maya people live in Southern Belize. You can visit villages from Maya Center all the way down to the Toledo district in Belize.
Everybody’s favorite part of the season is the food and Belize is no exception. Here families start preparing food for days before so that delicious Belizean rum is potent in the fruit cakes and rum popo. Food preparations for Christmas Day begin from Christmas Eve, and the grand meal consists of rice and beans, potato salad, turkey, breadcrumb stuffing, cranberry jelly with cherry and pineapple embellished ham. Mestizo’s typically celebrate Christmas with white Relleno consisting of chicken with stuffed pork and Machado olives served with hot corn tortillas. The majority of Mayans celebrate with chicken tamales as their traditional meal.
Christmas Tree Lighting in the Park
Here in San Pedro at our Central Park you will see a Christmas Tree! The lighting of the tree takes place in early December. Our grand Christmas Tree is placed in the center of the park and decorated delightfully. When we celebrate the lighting of the tree, we also have performances and a celebration.
If you take the water taxi to get to the island, you’ll see it upon arrival with Belize Express. From there Drift Inn is just an 8 minute walk from the Park.
Drift Inn New year Pub's Crawl
Now, if you stay through Christmas and into the New Years you may get to enjoy a special Drift Inn treat. We started an “Annual NYE Pub Crawl” in 2019. Although we aren’t sure how it’ll work out for 2020, we hope we can bring in the New Year with our guests one way or another! Last year guests and locals from around Boca Del Rio joined together with play some games at the bar, enjoy some appetizers and drinks, then we head out to do some bar hopping through the best bars on the island. At midnight, we watched the town fireworks from a rooftop bar and brought in the New Year with champagne. Although the crawl officially ended at 1 am, we escorted guests home from midnight to 2 am.