The fall is the only time of the year when you won’t find any of the Caribbean’s 28 island nations celebrating Carnival. But there is one place considered to be a part of the region that dedicates an entire month to bacchanal this time of year. September is feting season in Belize, the former British territory between Mexico and Guatemala, and the vibe in Belize City is as Caribbean as it gets without being officially detached from the continent. And, if you must be on an island to feel you’re officially participating, the celebrations spill over onto the many cayes that dot Belize’s coast.
After a summer-long build up, Belize Carnival officially gets going on the 1st of September, with the main event happening on Sept. 12, a/k/a St. George’s Caye Day, a holiday commemorating British troops’ successful defense of the territory from Spanish invasion). J’Ouvert starts at 5 am throughout the streets of Belize City, followed by the official Carnival Road March at 1pm, and an after-party in the National Stadium at night. After some official downtime, things climax on Sept. 21 when Belize’s (fairly new) independence is celebrated nationwide. Read “Eight Things You Must Do at Belize’s Summer Celebrations” by Dion Peyre for more on Belize Carnival.