Here in Belize, we’ve got dozens of annual celebrations and traditions. In Placencia, our home on the Caribbean coast, few events compare in size and excitement as the Placencia Lobster Festival. If you’re thinking it’s just a food fair devoted to shellfish, think again. The three day event is a veritable bonanza of activity, with live music, games, competitions, and, of course, lots of lobster.
The Placencia Lobster Festival began 20 years ago, when the Belize tourism board’s local chapter teamed up with several local businesses to kick off the start of the lobster fishing season with a party near Placencia’s main dock. The attendees ate lobster and played games at a single table, a far cry from what the festival would become.
In the ensuing decades, the Placencia Lobster Festival has become a banner event for Belizeans and visitors alike, with attendance size consistently doubling each year. It now takes place on a new boardwalk by The Point, allowing for the increased crowds. On its 20th anniversary, we saw record attendance!
What’s bringing the crowds? Talented local DJs and musicians will be bringing the party beachside, hosting dance parties well into the night. Meanwhile, locals and visitors alike band together in teams to play a variety of games and participate in contests, from kayak races and fly-fishing contests to classic tug of war. We also love the lionfish safari and the sailing club for kids. When you’re thirsty, expect fresh juices and slushies along with popular Belizean beer brands like Belikin and Lighthouse Lager on offer at the festival bar. And don't miss the rum punch competition, where locals and visitors vie to create the best summer cocktail.
The star of the show, though, is always the food. Vendors feature chefs who often have decades in the local restaurant scene, and who know the best ways to prepare seafood. There are myriad options for shrimp, fish, and, of course, lobster. And while the festival itself is truly Belizean, the flavors are global: taste hints of Creole, Maya, Caribbean, European and Asian cuisines in the various methods on offer. That means lobster curry, lobster fritters, lobster quesadillas, lobster pizza, lobster grilled cheese...the list goes on! And even off season, Placencia is know for it's Lobster Grilled Cheese served all year long at Barefoot and Maya Bistro.
The Placencia Lobster Festival is a key fundraiser for the Placencia Village Council. Proceeds from sales go directly to local improvements—like the new sidewalk right in the village! There are also booths sharing important conservation info on how to protect our fragile ecosystem here in Belize.
The 2018 festival was a huge success, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s Placencia Lobsterfest. Want to join? While official dates haven’t been announced, the festival is always held one of the last weeks of June. Follow along at the Placencia Lobsterfest official Facebook page, and reserve with Itz’ana for a celebratory stay on the pristine shores of Belize, just in time for the 2019 Lobsterfest!