BELIZE CULTURE AND COMMUNITY TOURISM FESTIVALS

Dia De San Pedro in Ambergris Caye, Belize

When I decide where to travel, I usually go with what moves me. I can’t tell you my exact thought process, but after looking at a world map, thinking of my “dream list” tucked away in my brain somewhere, visualizing the potential shots, doing some research and listening to my intuition, I always end up where I am meant to end up. And best of all, I seem to arrive whenever there is a big cultural event taking place.

When I headed to Grenada at the last minute in February of this year, I got there just in time for Grenada’s Annual Sailing Festival; i.e., the biggest event on the island, aside from Independence Day (which I also got to experience one or two weeks later). As one photographer told me, while I stood on Grenada’s Grand Anse beach all bright-eyed and speechless at the amazing scenery before me, the sailing festival is “a photographer’s dream,” and “this is what we wait for all year long.” He was right – some of my most amazing beach shots were from that weekend in Grenada.

When I arrived in San Pedro, Belize, I thought all celebrations were over. Dia de San Pedro or San Pedro Day was supposed to take place the week before my arrival. But thanks to tropical storm Alex, the event was postponed to July 4 weekend – which is when I arrived.

Held at the “old football stadium” in town – a short walk up the road from the beach and where I stayed – it was quite an affair!  Young and old performed lively cultural dances on a massive stage, complete with costumes and chanting, while the audience sat and watched, clapped and cheered from their lawn chairs. Of course there were also food stands (freshly made on site), tons of drinks (a Belikin beer for $2 or US $1) and for the kids – a complete amusement park to the back of the stadium.

I absolutely love shooting cultural events – and this one was no exception. From Mayan flavor all the way to Mexican – to pay tribute to the significant influence that Mexico has had on the culture and lifestyle in San Pedro — it was a night full of spirit, color and celebration. Un feliz Dia de San Pedro.

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