This year's La Ruta Maya is just over 3 weeks away. It starts on March 6th, and ends on National Heroes and Benefactor's Day. Thanks to Island Films(Ben Popik, Joanna Popik, & Marshall Rimmer) for the video.
"All teams are advised that registration can be done at Yoli's Pizza located down town San Ignacio in the Welcome Center. Call 633-3138 for any queries regarding registration or 662-4577 for all other queries. Can also email your registration forms to firstname.lastname@example.org"
La Ruta Maya -- One of the World's Toughest and Most Historic River Races
In the misty early morning light of March 6, 2015, dozens of athletes will gather with their canoes at the Hawkesworth Suspension Bridge on the banks of the Macal River in San Ignacio, Belize. More than 80 canoes are expected to participate in this year's annual La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, oared by enthusiasts from around the world. Their objective? To be the first to reach the Belcan Bridge in Belize City, more than 180 miles downriver. The journey takes four days.
La Ruta Maya is the biggest annual sporting event in Belize. Thousands of spectators line the banks of the Belize River to cheer on their favorite teams. The race has its origins in the 1995 Save Our Rivers Programme, a canoe race intended to promote cleaning up debris in and on the banks of the Old Belize River. This event has evolved to become the annual La Ruta Maya Challenge, a four-day event that follows an ancient Mayan route from San Ignacio to Belize City and is ranked 40th on Peak Races' 100 Toughest Races in the World. Anyone can participate.
Teams are rated, from men's professional to mixed youth, for this race that is an opportunity for the diverse population of this country to come together for a four-day weekend on the river. Many follow the race onshore, chasing their favorite teams from Cayo to the Caribbean Sea. Each day, after paddling for hours, the canoe teams come ashore, where they are met by fans at checkpoints in charmingly named local villages, including Banana Bank, Double Head Cabbage, and Burrell Boom.
Belize is an entire country that feels like a small town. Never is this more evident than during La Ruta Maya. The scenes at end-of-day village checkpoints are like big family reunions. Campsites are pitched, Belikin beer tents are set-up, local specialties are prepared over open fires, and children run and play, in the river and on its banks.
The starting point, San Ignacio, is in Belize's Cayo District, the fastest-growing region in the country. This is the country's eco-adventure hub, with all the elements of a fun and sustainable lifestyle--plenty of fertile land, fresh water, sunshine, and wildlife, all supporting a friendly community of fun-loving Belizeans and expats. You still have time to make plans to join them all for their big annual river party.
Beastmode Activated: La Ruta Maya River Challenge is coming
The most grueling canoe race in Belize is right around the corner, and paddlers are preparing to take on the 17th Annual La Ruta Maya River Challenge.
The four-day race is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year, and sees racers traveling the 180-mile river route from the Macal River in the Cayo District to the Belize River in the Belize District. This year’s race will take place from Friday, March 6th to Monday, March 9th and will test participants’ endurance and survival skills. In other words: BEAST MODE ACTIVATED!!
La Ruta Maya River Challenge was founded by Richard Harrison of Big-H Enterprises for the purpose of launching Vida brand purified water. It made its official debut on March 9, 1998, and was seen as an opportunity to bring many partners with similar interests together to build an event that could allow for promotional themes of ‘natural products’ identified with sports, endurance, nutrition, and well-being. The underlying concept is one of a team of businesses and organizations interested in the environment/ecology, history/culture and the tourism potential which the Belize Old River offers as one of the great natural resources of the country.
The race kicks off at the foot of the Hawksworth Bridge in the Twin Towns of Santa Elena/Cayo and makes its way to Banana Bank Lodge outside of Belmopan. On the second day, the paddlers continue from Banana Bank Lodge to Double Head Cabbage Village on the Belize River. On day three, racers make their way along the Belize River ending in Burrell Boom Village. On the last day paddlers push through the final stretch from Burrell Boom to the Belchina Bridge in Belize City.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun
Hello! I'm new to these forums and have been living in San Pedro for two months now. I'm really interested in going over for the event, but I'm on a tight budget. Do you have any advice? Is it possible to just bring supplies and camp or do you have to pay for camping? How do spectators usually get from one stop to the other? Any advice/extra info would be much appreciated, thanks!
The SISE House of Culture is having their annual LRM Cultural Night this Thursday at the Cayo Welcome Center. They'll have a special cultural presentation for the event. The Galen Eagles Band will be performing, as will the Bullet Tree Cultural Dance Group. It all starts at 7:00pm.
The annual Ruta Maya Canoe Race
brings together professional and
amateur paddlers from Central and
North America and Europe every
The annual La Ruta Maya Belize
Endurance Canoe race is the longest
race of its kind in Central America.
One hundred and seventy miles of
paddling on the Belize River over the
course of 4 days. The race gets
underway in San Ignacio Town Cayo
District just under the Hawksworth
Bridge. Between 90 and 100 teams
from Belize, U.S.A., Canada, Japan,
the U. K. and other countries
Starting at 7 in the morning, the
paddlers are challenged by rapids, low
areas that require them to physically
carry their canoes for short distances
as well as winds as they near the
The start of the race sees hundreds
of locals and visitors trooping to
the banks of the Macal River – a
beautiful sight in the early morning
mist. A local marimba band is in
attendance and paddlers take last-minute practice runs and swap
tips about tricky spots on the river to
Everyone is welcomed, from pros
intent on winning to those just
wishing to be in the race for
The race was the idea of a local fruit
juice company, Cayo Tropical Fruits
that sponsored and organized the race
from its inception. But in 2014 on the
16th anniversary of the race, it fell
under the patronage of the local beer
monopoly, Belikin. Canoe teams are
sponsored by various businesses and
educational institutions. The winning
teams are the best trained and
equipped. Kevlar appears to be the
material of choice for canoes. But
many canoes are carved or made
from exotic hardwoods.
The La Ruta Maya River Challenge
has now become a major public and
tourist attraction especially as March
9th Baron Bliss Day is a Public and
Bank Holiday. The race rivals other
Belize Sailing events such as the Baron
Bliss Harbour Regatta. The event
is open to the general public and everyone is invited to to enjoy
fun filled days with food, live
entertainment, games, prizes and of
course close up of views of the
action as the race passes populated
The annual Ruta Maya Belize
Canoe Race brings together
professional and amateur paddlers
from Central and North America
and Europe every March.
The annual Ruta Maya Canoe Race
brings together professional and amateur paddlers from Central and
North America and Europe every
All teams consist of three members
who must be aboard the canoe at the
start of the race and no substitutions
are allowed once the race has started.
The race is divided into the following
classes. Male, Female, Mixed (male
and female), Masters (over 40
years of age) and may include mix
of male and female. Open canoes
with a maximum length of 20 feet
constructed of any material and by any
method are allowed to compete.
For safety reasons the canoe must
provide at least 25 pounds of
buoyancy when swamped. Propulsion
is manual, human muscle powered
with single blade paddles only.
Timing for determining a winner is on
an elapsed time basis.
Many locals and tourists intercept
the race along strategic observation
points on the river bank. Villages along
the route, such as Burrel Boom hold
fairs and open markets with music and
other entertainment during the race.
The country’s first colonial settlements
started on the banks of the Belize
River as this was the main means of
transport in days past.
The Cayo Boats that steamed up
and down the river between San Ignacio and Belize City on the
Caribbean Sea would take up a week
for a journey up the river – stopping
at various settlements to trade or let
off and pick up passengers. The river
also served to transport the many
thousands of exotic hardwood trees
such as mahogany which were
exploited by the British colonizers.
The trees were cut down, then floated
down the river and trapped by heavy
chains called “booms” where they
were collected before continuing their
journey to Belize City to be sent off
to England. One such place was
Burrel Boom, a village of great beauty
in the Belize District.
Awards to the racers are issued at
the official ceremonies which take
place around midday in Belize City
which is the final leg of the race. All
the winners are presented with cash
and trophy awards and honored for
their hard work.
Belize Ruta Maya Race Schedule
Day 1 – Race starts in San Ignacio,
Cayo District (at 7:00 a.m.); ends in
Banana Bank, Belize District.
Day 2 – Race starts in Banana
Bank (at 6:30 a.m.); ending in Double
Head Cabbage, Belize District.
Day 3 – Race starts in Double
Head Cabbage (at 8:00 a.m.); ending
in Burrell Boom, Belize District.
Day 4 – Race starts in Burrell Boom
(at 9:00a.m.); ending at Belchina
Bridge “Finish Line” in Belize City.
Rachel - yes, you can do this on a budget. Take the boat to Bz City, then bus to San Ignacio, Bermudian Landing, Banana Bank (near Belmopan) or Burrel Boom. Bring your camping supplies and just camp out. There will be lots of people camped at all the stops en route. Do it! It will be HUGE fun!
Once again, one of the coolest events in all of Central America, and definitely one of the most interesting canoe races in the world is about to take place in Belize.
Yes folks, it’s time for the annual La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge.
Since its humble beginnings in 1998, the La Ruta Maya has grown to become one of the most exciting and popular events in Belize. Worldwide, it’s ranked 40th on “Peak Races’ 100 Toughest Races in the World”.
This year, just after daybreak on March 6, over eighty teams of plucky paddlers will leave San Ignacio Town to begin the gruelling 180-plus mile race to Belize City!!
18th Annual La Ruta Maya Challenge Kicks Off in San Ignacio
The annual Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge kicked off this morning at seven a.m. on the banks of the Macal River in Cayo. When the bugle was sounded, fifty-seven teams paddled away from the Hawkesworth Bridge and will make their way into Belize City on Monday. As he does every year, News Five’s Isani Cayetano was in San Ignacio and followed the first leg of the four-day race.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
Since becoming a nationally recognized outdoor activity in 1998, La Ruta Maya has grown to see the influx of visitors from near and far. Over the past eighteen years many have registered to participate in the grueling river challenge, paddling their way to Belize City over the course of four days. Teams have traveled from as far north as Canada to compete in the annual canoe race. This year is no different, except for the number of overall contenders, as well as the organization of the event.
Dr. Aline Harrison, Organizer, La Ruta Maya
“As the race grows, we realize that the small group that was organizing it that if we want to make it international and to really give it that professional, and these people come with skills, that, you know, they are business people. So they, along with our knowledge of the race, that makes a very good combination, a good collaboration.”
A total of fifty-seven teams, in various categories, have signed up for the challenge. Traditionally however, not all will complete the physically demanding competition. At seven o’clock this morning, things got officially under way as the teams commenced their journey downstream. By nine-thirty, B.T.L.’s Cobb’s Arm and NICH were the first and second teams, respectively, to arrive at Iguana Creek.
Araceli Cobb, Cobb’s Arm
“We have always been in the top five but this year, as you can see, we’re actually leading this race. So it has been excellent, we have put in work, we have put in knowledge. Everything has [gone] into this thing. It’s been well-prepared, well thought of as well. So this is not a second, this is a first for Cobb’s Arm.”
By midday, shortly after passing the Agripino Cawich Bridge behind Roaring Creek, the first team to cross the finish line at Banana Bank would be NICH. This, after being neck and neck for the most part of the first leg. Somewhere along the snaking Belize River, NICH clenched a two second lead.
Clayton Cobb, Cobb’s Arm
“We just took a pace and those guys were just riding behind so they were still more fresh than us. We tried to slow down the pace so that we could have a little bit more energy for the finish but yeah, like I said, we made a mistake and that was the cause of it.”
That slip-up would see NICH, led by team captain Efrain Cruz, taking full advantage.
Efrain Cruz, Captain, NICH
“Everything work out good for us because then we just know how to ride the wave and those things like that helped us a lot.”
“In terms of the height of the water and your ability to complete this leg a lot quicker or maybe a little later than last year and previous years, I know it’s dry season right now and they had to release some water for the race to actually move along fluidly. What was that like?”
“Well, we are used to that already because this the stretch we train on so we are use to that. So it’s not different for us.”
“What can be expected of the NICH team for the remaining leg of the race?”
“Well we can’t tell right now until we reach Belize.”
And while NICH basks in the limelight of winning the first leg of the race, Oceana is not letting up so easily. Of the top three teams, Chris Gaides and his teammates crossed the finish line a minute after NICH and Cobb’s Arm, much to his disappointment.
Chris Gaides, OCEANA Wavemakers
“It’s not what I, this is not what I expected but things happen, you know. I never felt well for the first two hours so that’s where the guys got away in the shoal. It’s no excuse but this is racing.”
Saturday’s leg of the race, the longest section of the challenge, resumes at Banana Bank and will end in Double Head Cabbage. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.