La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

la ruta maya belize river challenge 2016

La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

The biggest sporting event in Belize, La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenging is a grueling 180-mile canoe race down the Macal River. The race starts off under the Hawksworth Bridge in San Ignacio Town in Cayo District with each three-person canoe team competing to be the first to cross the finish line at the Belcan Bridge in Belize City four days later. The La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge first began in 1995 when canoe teams competed to raise money to help clean the Belize River. The race soon bloomed into a full-fledged competition, with hundreds of international and Belizean teams competing to be first across the finish line in Belize City.

Why you have to attend the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

This annual sporting event draws thousands of spectators, who line the banks to cheer on the canoeists. Amateurs and professionals alike compete in the River Challenge, so many people come to witness the race to cheer on their friends or coworkers. The starting festival is uniquely Belizean, with live bands often on hand to provide music. The River Challenge has now become a huge tourist attraction as it is held in conjunction with other nautical events held on Baron Bliss Day, a national holiday.

Where in Belize is this event held?

The four-day canoe race starts in San Ignacio Town in Cayo District in western Belize. Spectators can witness the action anywhere along the 180-mile race, but many choose to cheer on the canoeists as they arrive at each day’s designated checkpoint. The finish line is the Belcan Bridge in the heart of Belize City. Winners are designated for different categories, including all-Male crews, all-Female crews, Mixed (male and female) crews, and Masters (canoeists are aged 40 or older).

When this event is held in Belize

The race is scheduled every year during the first week of March.

How to get to the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

The race begins in San Ignacio Town, located in western Belize in Cayo District. San Ignacio and its twin city Santa Elena form the second-largest metropolitan area in the country, with multiple connections available via ground transportation or domestic flights from Belize City.

Best way to experience the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

The start of the race is probably the most fun for tourists, as thousands of fans line the banks of the Macal River to cheer on their favorite canoe teams. With live music, plenty of excitement, and lots of good food, the start of the race is truly a sight to behold. Equally thrilling is being present at the finish line in Belize City, as the hundreds of canoe teams race to be the first to cross under the Belcan Bridge.


Interested in learning more about La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge? Contact us and we will send you more information on this canoe race.

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