La Ruta Maya River Challenge
Belize’s Super Bowl is La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge (www.larutamayabelize.com), an exciting and convivial canoe race held during the first week of March and timed to coincide with National Heroes and Benefactors Day (formerly Baron Bliss Day) celebrations.
If you are in San Ignacio for the start of the race, you’ll watch 100 teams of paddlers mass together in the Macal River, then bolt downstream — racing five days down the 173-mile length of the Belize River, all the way to Belize City.
Increasingly popular since its inception in 1998, La Ruta Maya has many divisions in which to compete (including women’s, mixed gender, amateur, dory, and pleasure craft) and offers more than US$15,000 in prize money. The race is part athletic event, part tourism draw, and several parts fiesta.
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition