Belize Travel Notice – Health & Safety
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About La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

And it’s that time of the year again! To many Belizeans, this month brings one of our most favourite events of the year: La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, which kicks-off every March at 7:00am at the historical Hawkesworth Bridge in San Ignacio & Santa Elena.


la ruta maya belize

Photo courtesy of Danny Chung Photography


Since 1998, people countrywide have enjoyed this four-day, 175-mile paddling challenge that takes place on the Macal and Belize River during the first week of March and ends on the Monday when National Heroes & Benefactors’ Day is observed.  La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge was created as an initiative to foster environmental awareness, culture and history of the Belize Old River and tourism.


la ruta maya belize

Photo courtesy of Danny Chung Photography


This Belize adventure has captivated aficionados from all over the world – including Canada, Unites States, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and  many others, all for competing for the honour and glory of being named champions; in fact, the competition has recorded up to more than 100 canoes. Teams consist of three members who must be aboard the canoe from start to finish, no substitutions are allowed throughout the race. Teams compete under different classes including:


  • All-Male
  • Mixed Gender
  • Masters
  • Dory
  • All-Female
  • Family
  • Intramural
  • Pleasure Craft


la ruta maya belize

Photo courtesy of Danny Chung Photography

Before the big race there is an “opening ceremony”, Pre–Ruta Maya Fest, which takes place at the San Ignacio Welcome Center. During this event, the official sign-up, rule delegation, and further logistics for all race participants are deliberated. The festival is typically entertained by a variety of performers, musical acts, food and drinks making for an opportunity for the town and race attendees to party the night away.


Just be sure to set your alarm as the race begins at 7:00am. At the crack of dawn, you will see many of the locals and participants heading up the Hawkesworth Bridge to line up, as this is the “starting line”. The first day of the race begins right in San Ignacio ending in Banana Bank followed by Banana Bank to Double Head Cabbage on the second day. The race continues to Burrell Boom on Day 3. The last and final day is the most exciting as competitors paddle down from Burrell Boom to the finish line, the Belcan Bridge in Belize City.



So, if you are visiting Belize during the first week of March, you should definitely add this to your bucket list and catch a glimpse of the exhilarating race that tests the endurance and strength of its participants.


San Ignacio Resort Hotel has been a proud sponsor of La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge for several years. This event is not only a great opportunity to witness thrill and adventure in Belize but to also hang out with locals, try local dishes, dance a little, have a few cold drinks, and just enjoy the Belize experience altogether! 


For more details, check out the official page here.

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