Why You Have to Attend the Benque Fiesta | Benque Viejo Belize

Why You Have to Attend the Benque Fiesta

Benque Fiesta Belize

Benque Fiesta

The Benque Fiesta is a multi-day celebration in the town of Benque Viejo del Carmen, commonly referred to as just “Benque.”

Beginning on July 1, the town begins the fiesta with a series of religious celebrations called Las Aboradas. For the next 15 days, the town has amusement park rides, a pageant, parades, and live music that culminates with a firework show on July 16, the name day of Benque’s patron saint, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Why You Have to Attend the Benque Fiesta

Benque is one of Belize’s most interesting towns. Located directly across the river from Guatemala, the town is largely bilingual and majority Catholic. The Benque Fiesta is the biggest local holiday of the year, celebrating the Virgin Mary in her role as the patroness of the Carmelite Order.

Since 1967, Benque has held the Flor de la Feria (Flower of the Fair) Pageant where young women compete in a beauty and talent contest to be crowned queen of the fair. Each year’s pageant has a special theme that honors different aspects of the natural wonders and beauty of the country.

The Benque Fiesta fair attracts thousands of people from around the country, turning the normally sleepy town into a colorful and vibrant outdoor celebration of food, culture, and music. Other attractions include a marathon football (soccer) match between teams from Belize and Guatemala.

Where in Belize Is It Located?

Benque is the westernmost town in Belize and lies directly adjacent to the Guatemalan border. The festival is held throughout the town of 6,000 residents.

When Is It Held?

The festival begins on July 1 with numerous religious events, parades, and pageants that culminate on July 16, the name day of the town’s patron saint, Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Nuestra Senora de Monte Carmelo in Spanish).

Best Way to Get To Benque

Benque is eight miles (13 kilometers) west of San Ignacio at the end of the George Price Highway (commonly called the Western Highway). Numerous public buses connect to Benque from San Ignacio. The Maya Flats (MYF) airstrip is the closest airport.

From Guatemala, Benque can be reached by crossing the border at Melchor de Mencos in the Peten District.

Best Way to Experience the Benque Festival

Many people consider the fireworks during the Benque Fiesta to be the best in the country. Come for the food, games, amusement park rides, and live music from top acts.


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