A Busy Beautiful Day in Belize City: Street Art Festival, Canoe Racing, Cracklin’ Pig & More

Yesterday morning, I jumped aboard (I had an excellent night’s sleep) the San Pedro Belize Express water taxi for the ride to Belize City.  An easy hour and a half later, we pulled in and the conch & lobster boats were looking as beautiful as ever.

IMG_9055I know what you are thinking.  Belize City beautiful?   Well…some of it is.  And these working fishing boats look pretty to me from every single angle.



No time for dilly dallying with boats.  It was about 11:20am and there was a canoe race ending at the Riverside Tavern.  This Guinness sponsored Boom to The City Canoe challenge is one of the pre-races for the BIG La Ruta Maya Race that takes place in a few weeks over the Baron Bliss Holiday weekend.



Yesterday I made it to the Tavern just in time…


Some are surprised to find that Guinness is so popular here in Belize…bottled and loved.  Especially by local guys.IMG_9059 IMG_9060 IMG_9061Two minutes later the first canoes came in.  40 miles and they were paddling like crazy.  Neck and neck.

IMG_9062There were senior groups, mixed male and female teams…

IMG_9071 Inside, Riverside is a proper, heavily air conditioned tavern.  Classic style bar…

IMG_9073And very classic bar food.  Fried mozzarella sticks, nachos, really GREAT burgers and this…

IMG_9080a delicious tower of proper onion rings.  With ranch dressing.  Good onion rings are not common in Belize.  Good onion rings served on what is probably a paper towel roll holder tower with ranch dressing?  A $10bzd revelation.  Worth stopping in for alone…

After the race…


Riverside packed up.  At the last table, I also order the Blue Cheese burger.


REALLY good.  Ordered medium rare, received medium rare.  Lots of tangy blue cheese.  Tasty homemade bun to soak up all the medium rare juices.  Flavorful meat.  Yum.

And I love a burger that you can order by size.  Trust me…the smallest one is perfect after you’ve climbed the tower of onion rings.



No time to stay for the award ceremony, there is an art festival to attend.

belize-street-art-festival (1)Love this sign…near one of Belize City’s really icky canals.  If you somehow get caught in that water, drowning is one of your lesser worries.



Albert Street, one of the two main streets, was closed for the festival.  The very pretty colonial court house.

IMG_9083And the park across the street has been fully re-done with a fountain…



And this statue.

IMG_9085Mr. Antonio Soberanis Gomez grew up in Orange Walk at the turn of the 20th century and was an activist in the Belizean Labor Movement during the 1930s and 40s – following the Great Hurricane of 1931, the Great Depression and the decline of the mahogany trade.  Thanks wikipedia.

The new park really looks great.


There was a competition setting up for beautiful sidewalk chalk art.


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Amazing, right?

Lots of food.

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IMG_9091IMG_9092Art really does come in all forms…

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Love this organization.  IMG_9100


I took a walk around the bend, along the water.  Belize City is very secretly beautiful.   The Baron Bliss memorial lighthouse across the river’s mouth.



And the Bliss center.

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Not time to leave yet.  Over to Hour Bar for a quick drink.  This bar, owned by Kevin Bowen, is relatively new and a lovely location.  If you are looking for the breeze in Belize City, it is here.

I also need to go back to try the burger.  They were looking delicious too…

IMG_9133And they were doing some SERIOUS BBQing, grilling, smoking…

IMG_9129How could I not take a picture of this 25lb crackling piggy?  Or is it a possum.  Nope…definitely pork.

IMG_9132On my way out the door, they were carving him up and selling him by the pound.  It’s Pig By The Pound Saturday after all.  I asked about the head and was offered it whole for only $20bzd!  I declined and am kicking myself now.

IMG_9130Sorry to those who are squeamish but how priceless would it have been…to crack open a styrofoam container on the water taxi, mid-ride, and start picking at this?

Ugly?  But I’m sure delicious and more importantly, TOTALLY bloggable.

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