Day 3 Of the Ruta Maya Canoe Race: A Day Trip for the Bash in Burrell Boom Belize

Yesterday was day 3 of 4 for the Ruta Maya Canoe Race held annually on Baron Bliss weekend in Belize.  It’s a pretty grueling endurance test with participants paddling about 180 miles from San Ignacio Belize to Belize City with three overnight stops in between – Banana Bank, Double Head Cabbage (the greatest name ever) and Burrell Boom (a close second for greatest name ever).


I decided to check it out for the very first time from the small town of Burrell Boom or just “Boom” about a half hour drive outside of Belize City.  (By the way, “bram” is a new word I learned yesterday…it just means  party or bash.)

We arrived pretty early…around 10:30am and there was already a long line of cars waiting to get into the secured parking.

IMG_2751-2The road down to the river was SERIOUSLY dusty.  There was no way I was getting out of here without a serious brown coating.  The music stage and many of the food booths were just setting up.  But fully prepared were the guys selling local wine.  I can’t get enough of these names.



Bottom line seems to be that you can make wine out of anything from rice to plantains.IMG_2763-2

I’ve tried this stuff before at the Belmopan Ag Fair and though it doesn’t taste bad, I thought it best to avoid the inevitable headache.

The food stalls were setting up with lots of options.  Apparently hickatee and iguana are quite popular this time of year but neither was listed on any of the menus.


One reason, the hickatee turtle (a large river turtle) is under close watch and illegal to sell now in Belize.  By law, you are only allowed to take a few of them for home use.  There were people watching…

IMG_2772-2I like it.  I do love a turtle.

I did try the dukunu later with my fry fish lunch.  It’s a bit like a tamale but more chunky, ground roasted corn with coconut milk and a bit of sugar.  Almost like a sweet smokey corn pudding.  I’m now a big fan.  Plus, it was only $1.50bzd AND I like to say du-ka-NU.

IMG_2790-2We settled down by the river bank for what turned out to be a pretty long wait.  Here are my friends Laurie and Karen waiting…

IMG_2774-2I ran into quite a few folks from San Pedro.  Like Walter (read more about him in a previous post:  One of the Hardest Working Guys in San Pedro) who has been following the race and camping all weekend…


And my old buddy and co-worker Tanya (on the left) and Maureen…


Maureen was with her son Ryan and daughter-in-law Christine helping promote a new product in Belize called Caribbean Coolers. (She her slyly holding up the product?) They do pina colada, rum punch and Rumango drinks with the rum included.  And they come in little sippy pouches with little straws?  Gotta love that.  Just don’t accidentally slip one into your kid’s lunchbox.


I tried some of the Rumango and it’s REALLY tasty.  And way too easy to drink in large quantities.


I wandered down to the river and watched a scuba diver recovering what looked like very old bottles from the river bed.  Interesting.  Apparently it’s about 35 feet deep in the center.  And really beautiful…


The music started going and the real crowds came.  It wasn’t until about 12:45 that we were given the signal that the race was coming.  FINALLY.


I had clearly joined “Team BTL”.


The first three canoes came in fast and furious.  With Belize Bank in first and NICH in second place.IMG_2795-2 These guys looked exhausted.  Here’s my adopted team…they came in 5th.


The first “mixed” team coming in…the Belize Coast guard.


And my favorite team from Oceana.  YOU GO GUYS!


Time to take off to make it to my next event, the Bowen & Bowen Kite Festival in Belize City.  The cow from Laughing Cow cheese gave me a “thumbs up Scoop” on my way out.


Hang in there buddy.  It’s only about 88 degrees out here and who knows how hot in that suit.IMG_2809-2This is a fun day event with lots of food, drink and stuff for kids to do.  But be prepared.  It seemed like everyone but us had a big cooler with cold drinks, a blanket and folding chairs and that’s the way to go.  You are going to be waiting, there is no seating and the river bank is pretty hard…make it a picnic.

If you want to stay in the town overnight, I saw a great looking hotel called Black Orchid just outside Boom and an older, cheaper looking one called El Chiclero.  Would love to hear if you’ve stayed at either one…


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