Everything you need to know about Placencia Lobsterfest…
When you think of the Caribbean, you can’t help but think of turquoise waters and fresh catches from the sea. It’s perhaps no wonder then, that so many tourists come to Belize longing to experience the best of Belizean seafood. In particular, our Caribbean Lobster. Belize has long been a front runner when it comes to conservation efforts, and when it comes to its treasured lobster, things are no different. A strict seasonal lobster fishing ban is in place for 4 months each year, from February to June - fishermen, resorts and restaurants all adhere to these dates, and keep lobster off the menu. We’re no different at Ray Caye no matter how much we love lobster! This ban, managed by the Belize Fisheries Department, allows the species to reproduce and take care of all the biological activity that helps them to recuperate and recover stocks. Lively and colorful Belize of course, looks for any excuse to throw a celebration so when the lobster season reopens in June each year, it’s only natural that the country comes alive with festivals – including the famous Placencia Lobsterfest!
The very first Placencia Lobsterfest took place back in the summer of 1998 when the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) launched the festival, recognizing a need to boost tourism during the slower summer months. A humble affair, the initial event had just one table serving lobster bruschetta but it was so successful that by year two the affair was able to double in size. Now in its 21st year, Lobsterfest is now a carnival-like celebration featuring live music, games and of course, countless opportunities to devour deliciously fresh lobster! Chefs and locals alike prepare Creole, Maya, Garifuna, Caribbean, and even European and Asian Lobster dishes to create a gastronomic experience like no other. Never fear, if you’re not a lobster lover, there are still plenty of options to satisfy, including a variety of meat and vegetarian options.
This year, the three-day event takes place between June 21st and June 23rd, 2019 and is expected to draw record crowds of both local and international visitors. Now organized by both the BTIA and the Placencia Village Council, the majority of celebrations take place on the beachfront and famous Placencia sidewalk. Visitors mostly come for the food but outside of endless ways to enjoy lobster, you’ll also find a variety of other fun things to do including plentiful entertainment and a host of competitions such as ‘Cast Net’ and ‘Reel in the Dinghy’! For those not full on lobster you can even try your hand at a Belikin Beer Drinking Competition, or a Spicy Wings Eating Competition – neither of which are for the faint hearted!
For families, there are games including Tug of War and opportunities to listen to the drum sounds of the Garifuna. For those without young children, you can listen to live music, enjoy the bar and dance to Soca and Punta till the early hours of the morning and even try your hand at winning a selection of usually huge prizes with the Lobsterfest Raffle!
Once the festivities are over, the lobster season gets down to business. Fisherfolk all across Belize embrace the 8-month season and you’ll start to find fantastic lobster dishes on many menus, including our very own Ray Caye Lionfish Grill menu! Although our menu changes regularly, you can expect to find delicious Lobster Ceviche and fresh lobster cooked in more ways that you can count! Of course, no trip would be complete without an opportunity to snorkel and perhaps even see, or catch, a lobster of your very own with our experienced guides!