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Get Ready for the Excitement at Carnaval de San Pedro 2024

by Carolyn Lee Feb 19, 2024

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Get Ready for the Excitement at Carnaval de San Pedro 2024

Each year, Carnaval de San Pedro (Fiesta de Carnaval) takes place in Ambergris Caye, celebrating Caribbean and Spanish traditions from the 19th century. This year’s week-long event begins on 23 February 2024 in San Pedro during the last week before Lent.

Carnival de San Pedro.

The carnival originated in mestizo culture and initially took place in the 1870s. Juan Carnaval is the event’s patron, and according to the legend, he made love to many women from different countries before his jealous wife killed him. The event culminates with the burning of Juan Carnaval’s puppet to eliminate negative energy and attract prosperity to San Pedro Town.

What should you expect?

The town of San Pedro comes alive with dancing, singing, flamboyant parades, flour fighting and painting contests. Known as one of the biggest carnivals in Belize, the event typically attracts Belizeans and tourists. Carnival highlights include market day, group dances (comparsas), and paint and powder parties.

The event is family-oriented, with different colour themes (white, red, blue, and black) each day. The children-focused event includes them painting their faces white and participating in colour fights without adults. The last day is exciting as people pour into the streets and splash natural paints and flour on each other.

Carnaval de San Pedro rules to keep in mind.

  1. It is suggested that only children paint on Sunday.
  2. Throwing eggs and using oil or spray paint is prohibited. Do not bring bottle squeezers.
  3. Group dancing in the streets helps raise money for charities or organisations. If you see dancers cross-dressing, it is part of the tradition. Do not throw paint at the comparsa participants, people in uniform, properties, vehicles, or street signs.
  4. Painting must be done only in the painting zone – on the beach from Ruby’s Hotel to the cemetery and Barrier Reef Drive.
  5. While some tourists might join in the fun, please respect those who want to observe and enjoy the festivities paint-free.
  6. Non-painters should avoid the painting zone.

Here’s how you can make the most of the events.

Most events will be on Front Street and Barrier Reef Drive, so check the schedule for the time and dates to plan. Consider wearing old clothes during the paint and flour-throwing events. Although painting others is done respectfully, it is a high-energy event, and you might still get splashed if you are around people with paint. You can follow the parades, join the fun, and learn more about the event’s history by interacting with the locals.

You can follow the Carnaval de San Pedro Facebook page for updates and to see highlights from past events.

Sources: Rove Me, Belizing, San Pedro Sun, and San Pedro Scoop.