One of the best times to visit Belize is during Easter. The longest holiday period on the Belizean calendar, Easter is a time of religious celebration, high-energy sporting events, and festive family gatherings.

Unlike in many neighboring countries, the Easter period only officially starts on Good Friday, although schools are closed for the entire week. Government offices and banks shut down at noon on Holy Thursday, leading to a slowdown in commerce.

The vast majority of Belizeans are members of the Christian faith and commemorate Good Friday with a series of religious processions and services. Alcohol sales are prohibited. Catholic churches often lead processions that re-enact the Passion of the Christ. Most of the programming on radio and television stations is religious in nature, including live coverage of the Pope’s annual Easter message. This makes Good Friday one of the most peaceful and tranquil days of the year in Belize.

Holy Saturday, in contrast, is the day when one of the most popular sporting events is held. Known as the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycle Race, this grueling competition pits bicyclists against one another to be the first to complete the 140-mile (225-km) loop from San Ignacio to Belize City and back.

The Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycle race begins at 6 AM in Belize City and usually wraps up around 2 PM with the winners crossing the finish line starting at approximately 11:45 AM. Throughout the length of the race, the sides of the highways are crowded with supporters who eagerly cheer on their favorite racers. If you’re planning on traveling during this period, plan accordingly.

Easter Sunday is when churches celebrate the rebirth of their savior, often followed in the afternoon by intimate family gatherings and, of course, lots of delicious, home-cooked food. Quite often, the good weather makes Easter Sunday the perfect time to enjoy exciting outdoor activities such as swimming, snorkeling, fishing, or visiting ancient Maya sites.

The four-day holiday officially wraps on Easter Monday. While most parts of the country see people preparing to go back to work, the small village of Burrell Boom hosts one of the biggest horse races of the year.

If you’re going to be celebrating Easter in Belize, book your rental vehicle with Tour Belize Auto Rental. With two convenient locations in the country – one in downtown Belize City and one at the international terminal of the Philip Goldson Airport – Tour Belize Auto Rental makes it easy to explore Belize at your own pace.