This write up is dedicated to everyone who wanted to be a participant the 2023 San Pedro Lobster Festival, but couldn’t make it for what ever reason. Sorry you had to be just a spectator this time around, I hope my details and pictures inspire you to join the crowd next year for the 2024 San Pedro Lobster Festival on Ambergris Caye.
In case you din’t know, July is one of the party months in celebration for the opening of the lobster season in Belize. After a long Lobster Crawl (Jul 3rd – 14th), July 15th was the big annual Lobster Festival Block Party. The event was held at the old football field, Saca Chispas (formally known as the Hon. Louis Sylvestre Sports Complex.) While generally this is the end of the festival, this year it finished with a Boca del Rio beach party on Sunday July 16th.
Big Block Party
Being in town, I wanted to make sure you saw some pregame activity. The traffic started to get redirected and roadside souvenir vendors were set up early, making the festival spirit begin to come alive.
With a 5:00 pm start for the block party, the organizers and booths had time to set up – hopefully at a relaxed pace.
The event slowly came to life and turned into a colorful, fun filled evening starting with a bright lobster balloon arch welcoming everyone into the festival grounds. We also got “VIP treatment” with an event wrist band upon entry.
The night sparkled, and contented kids dotted the crowd enjoying their new toys – some chose light up swords over galaxy balls.
As always, San Pedro Lobster Festival and the Lobster Crawl is growing and evolving. This year it was bigger better than ever. A solid round of applause for everyone that came together for this year’s Lobster Festival, including the lobsters.
But seriously, the San Pedro Lobster Festival Committee out did themselves this year, as did many of the booths. The sponsors also deserve a hand for all of their support, as well as the MC’s, and performers. And let’s not forget the hundreds of lobster lovers from near and far, that came out in support of this delicious and entertaining annual event.
From still swimming, above, to the grill below, lobster was enjoyed a variety of ways by the large block party crowd.
Lobster Festers were treated to food and drink options from: Aji Tapa Bar and Restaurant, Anglers Seafood Restaurant Bar, Ak’bol Belize, 303 Belize, Blue Water Grill, Black & White Garifuna Restaurant, Cool Beans Café, Dianita’s by Ana Najarro, Estel’s Dine By the Sea, Happy Island Beach Bar and Grill, Nauti Crab, M&S Food/Drinks by Mel Spain, Playa De Sala Adults-Only Boutique Hotel, JYOTO Sushi Bar/Japanese Restaurant, Ramen 501 by JYOTO, Pineapples on the Beach, Pirate’s Not-So-Secret Beach Bar & Grill, Pirate’s Pizza, Recinos Imports – San Pedro, The Truck Stop, and Tropic Al’s by Ramon’s Village Resort.
There were even a few 2 legged festival lobsters to be enjoyed among the crowd.
Along with delicious food and drinks, party goers enjoyed a variety of great entertainment: Panerrifix Steel Drum Band, San Pedro Dance Academy, Dennis C. Wolfe II, Bussa-B-Band, TLC Band, DJ Debbie Spain and Chef Sean Kuylen was a guest MC.
I happened to catch Chef Sean Kuylen up close interviewing at Playa De Sala, while I was waiting for my hot, buttery, lobster popcorn. This unusual food choice was fueled by my love of junk food and I decided to give it a try. It hit the spot in the most unusual way and I never would have thought to mix the two, but I liked it. They were also selling plain buttered popcorn, lobster fritters, smash beef tacos, lobster tortillas, surf & turf kabobs and grilled lobster tail.
In addition to lobster, Happy Island Beach Bar & Grill was serving up some fun “disco drinks” with color changing lights.
In regards to next year’s Lobster Fest, this is a perfect family vacation opportunity while the kids are on holiday. It’s also great for singles, couples, friends or any other group looking to enjoy a fun time in San Pedro and Belize.
For those who like to daydream, imagine yourself in this 48 second video I made (see below) so you can watch the crowd in action, hear the music and see a guy from Corozal Punta – he beat two girls in the on stage Punta dancing competition.
As for the food drink competition winners the judges had their work cut out for them.
Best Drink: 1st – Happy Island Beach Bar and Grill, 2nd – JYOTO Sushi Bar/Japanese Restaurant and last but not least 3rd – Estel’s Dine By the Sea.
Best Lobster Dish: 1st – Anglers Seafood Restaurant Bar, 2nd – Happy Island Beach Bar and Grill and 3rd – Cool Beans Café.
Best Booth – Anglers Seafood Restaurant Bar.
A large crowd was entertained watching the “booty shaking” dance competition.
They were also enthralled by Panerrifix Steel Drum Band whose melodic performance had all ages up and dancing. At one point there was even a smiling, small group photo shoot behind the band.
It was great to have an in case of emergency option to the left of the event entrance, thankfully as far as I saw no one needed assistance by RRR Emergency Response team during the party.
This year the San Pedro Lobster Festival Committee decided to extend beyond the block party and do a final close out beach party. Of course what’s a party in Belize without a Belikin Tent – ice cold beers on a hot Sunday in the park.
Dj Debbie was in her groove when I arrived and I managed to catch a bit of Bussa-B-Band and the crown dancing on social.
*Note to my globally loved photographer friend Karen Brodie, regarding the picture below – it was a minor cringe worthy moment posting a slightly crooked horizon. I got over it fast, when straightened, it took to much out of the left corner. As I was deciding between the two versions, I could almost hear you in my head saying “unless it’s intentional, horizon lines should always be straight.” And I totally agree however this is one of the few times I am making an exception to that rule.
People were enjoying the sea – mostly kids and an occasional sprinkling of adults.
A few island youth were being “rebels without a cause” – playing soccer on the volleyball court 😀
And then there were the “shade socials,” who were enjoying sitting under a palapa and enjoying some weekend conversation and the active scenery.
After such a busy weekend, downtown San Pedro was very quiet Sunday evening.
Added Bonus Caye Caulker Lobster Festival 2023
These next pics come from Julie Wilson Nash, who I met through Rob Cadick, who I met from Crystal Lowe Mengenhausen, who was watching their socials and wishing she was here.
Julie and Rob left this morning after a fun filled 29 day vacation in Belize. While here they ended up doing a pass through at Caye Caulker Lobster Fest while out on a fishing trip with well known fishing and snorkeling guide Nestor Cerpa.
*Adding a lunch stop on Caye Caulker, at your own expense is often an option with tour companies on Ambergris Caye. Nestor’s tours are very customizable, and he has a great menu to choose from.
There were a few fun signs to play with at the event.
Playa Asuncion, the main drag in Caye Caulker, gets closed off to vehicular traffic to accommodate Lobster Fest.
There was lots of street grilling going on, and the one below had a nice mix.
As always, The Split was a hit for those that wanted to cool off and enjoy paradise.
Now that I’ve given you a good taste of 2 Lobster Festivals in Belize, I hope you’ll come savor it in person next year.
If you need some added incentive, here are a list of places that made donations for the Lobster Crawl Grand Prize Draw: 3 Sisters Spa, Ambergris Today, Amigos Del Mar Dive Shop, Aqua Vista Beachfront Suites, Belize Food Tours, Belizean Melody, Belize Pro Dive Center, Belize Tropical Hemp Co. LTD, Black Orchid Restaurant & Lounge, Blue Water Grill, Brooklyn Brothers Bagel Shop, Buddha Tattoo Belize, Cahal Pech Village Resort, San Ignacio Belize, Caliente Restaurant, Caramba Restaurant, Caribbean Sprinter, Caribeña Enterprises, Carlo & Rrnie’s Runway Bar, Cart’s Belize, Casey’s Boat Yard Bar and Grill, Caye Coffee Roasting Co. Ltd, Cayo adventure tours, Caye Custard, Chuck & Robbie’s Scuba Diving & Instruction., Cool Beans Café, Coral Cable Vision, Coral Day Spa Belize, Diamante Belize, Elite Adventures Belize, El Patio Restaurant & Lounge, Dirty Martini, Graniel’s Dreamland, Green Espresso Café Bar, Hidden Treasures, Hurricane’s Ceviche Bar, Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Jungle Lodge and Adventure Company, K-Mart, La Bodeguita, La Divina Providencia Store & Restaurant, LC Distributors, Lit Media San Pedro, Luxury golf cart rental, MADISCO Company, Mesa Bistro, Nexgen Belize, MK Golf Cart Rental, Oasis Spa San Pedro, Palapa Bar and Grill, Paradice Cream,Patz Delicatessen, Playa De Sala Adults-Only Boutique Hotel, Print Studio, Ramon’s Village Resort, RAS Tours Belize, Recinos Imports, RE/MAX Belize, Robin’s Kitchen, Seaduced By Belize, Shalom Day Spa, Someplace South Cafe Bar, Sun Cycles, Sunshine Bar & Grill, Sur-Real Adventures, Sunrise Realty Belize, The Baker, The Coconut Cafe, The Commons San Pedro, The Cork & Cooperage, The Factory Sweets, LTD, The Farmhouse Market & Cafe, The Island’s Jungle Restaurant & Bar, Tiburon Rum, TOAST, Toucan Gift Stores, Tropic Air Belize, Sandbar Beachfront Hostel and Restaurant, Twisted Palm Villas, Victoria House Resort & Spa, Wayo’s Beach Bar, Wine de Vine, Xsite Belize Sailing & Adventures.
That grand prize absolutely worth trying out for and I am sure (based on past festival prizes) it will only get bigger and better next year.
I did not catch the passport stamp winner for all the juicy stuff above, but you can look for it on social along with lots more lobster festival pics and videos – San Pedro Lobster Festival Facebook Page or @sanpedrolobsterfest on Instagram.