25th International Costa Maya Festival held on Ambergris Caye
Monday, August 7th, 2017
Thursday, August 3rd to Sunday, August 6th saw a celebration of the the 25th International Costa Maya Festival. Held at the Honorable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex, the grand event brought the cultures and traditions of eight countries to one venue through entertainment and dynamic performances. With the aim of bringing much needed business to the island during the slow tourism season, this year’s Costa Maya Festival definitely saw an influx of both foreign and national visitors to San Pedro Town. Master and Mistress of Ceremonies Eiden Salazar and Tanya Arceo ensured the event flowed nicely throughout the weekend.
Opening the International Costa Maya Festival was the Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant. Eight lovely ladies representing the Central American countries and Mexico vied for the title of Miss Costa Maya 2017-18. With the show starting shortly after 8:30PM on Thursday, August 3rd, Miss Belize Michelle Nuñez, Miss Costa Rica Glennys Medina Segura, Miss El Salvador Iris Yazmin Guerra, Miss Guatemala Lesly Fernanda Flores Sagastume, Miss Honduras Andrea Nicolle Salinas Godoy, Miss Mexico Ximena Cardoso Gutierrez, Miss Nicaragua Danielle Nicole Hodgson Joseph and Miss Panama Maria Fernanda Jaspe, competed in four segments for the chance to win the crown. In the end, it was Miss Belize’s Michelle Estrella Nuñez who charmed the judges and captured the crown and title. The first San Pedrana to take the title, Michelle also took the award for Best National costume. The second runner-up title went to Miss Miss Nicaragua Danielle Nicole Hodgson Joseph and Miss Panama Maria Fernanda Jaspe took the title of first runner-up.
The first night concluded with an after-party, where Caribbean Kings Band kept the crowd, newly crowned Miss Costa Maya, and other pageant delegates dancing the night away.
Day two of the festival is considered the official Opening Gala and was held on Friday, August 4th just after 9PM. Giving the official speeches at this year’s Costa Maya Festival were Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Festival Committee member Einer Gomez and Minister of Tourism and Civila Aviation Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. All three reiterated the importance of the festival for the island’s economy, as well as the bond it fosters with Belize’s neighboring countries. Mayor Guerrero specifically thanked the festival’s organizers for going above and beyond to make the festival a huge success. Throughout the years, the Costa Maya festival has brought much business to establishments on the island, from hotels to restaurants to bars and other entertainment venues. Gomez reminisced on the artists that have delighted the Costa Maya stage throughout the years, and promised even better things to come in the future. Miss Costa Maya 2017-2018 Michelle Nuñez was also called to the stage, where she delivered her first official remarks as queen. She thanked everyone and promised to represent the region with pride and honor.
Following the speeches, the entertainment segment of the night commenced. First to take the stage was a clown and puppet show for the children. They were followed by cultural presentations from both the Ballet Folklorico de Quintana Roo and Ballet Folklorico de Peten, displaying traditional dances of their regions. Not even some unexpected showers could dampen the evening’s scheduled performances!
As the night progressed, it was time for the party to get started. Felix LT of Panama brought the reggaetton vibes on stage, while Grupo Yerbaklan of Honduras delighted everyone with a high energy performace. Next up was Belize’s punta king Super G, who got the crowd off their chairs and ready to dance. As the night neared the end, Soca Queen Alison Hinds took to the stage for the performance of a lifetime. Her Caribbean vibes permeated the festival ground, and everyone couldn’t help but get up and dance.
The Costa Maya Festival climaxed on Saturday, August 5th with Noche Internacional. A night of only live performances, this was the place to be in San Pedro Town. Opening the show were the talented dancers from Grupo Crash from El Salvador. Coming to Belize for almost 10 years now, Grupo Crash performed acrobatic dance routines to some of the latest musical tracks. They definitely started the night off on the right vibe!
Next up three great Belizeans showing off their talent. From Belmopan City, Stig di Artist delighted everyone with his rap and dancehall songs, while San Ignacio’s World Culture Band entertained the audience with their original Afro-Caribbean music. With their traditional Garifuna rythms and dancing, Larubeya Band was the last performance before the main event.
As midnight drew near, Colombia’s Sonora Dinamita took the stage. The crowd immediately gather in front of the stage, ready to dance to their cumbia beats. Playing popular songs like “Que Bello” and “Macumba”, many in the audience joined along in singing and grooving to the contagious music. The party went well into the early hours of Sunday, August 6th, when everyone finally left the showgrounds having enjoyed a most entertaining night.
Closing off the 2017 International Costa Maya Festival was an all-day beach party on Sunday, August 6th. Attendees took time to unwind and enjoy the beaches of Ambergris Caye.
The night saw a free performance by Gilharry 7 Band at Honorable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex from 6PM to 10PM. Many enjoyed the free night of entertainment and opportunity for their children to have fun on the mechanical rides. It’s was definitely a family event!
The International Costa Maya Festival Committee would like to thank everyone that came out and supported the event. Special thanks to all those who sponsored the 2017 Costa Maya Festival.
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