The International Costa Maya Festival is a celebration of the Mundo Maya countries throughout Central America. The first festival was held in 1991 and was called the Sea and Air Festival. All eight Mundo Maya countries (Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama,) participated. Dancers, cultural performers, and musical entertainers from these countries are hosted in San Pedro Town for three days of celebrations.
The festival is held during the month of August, and commences on the first Thursday of the month and ends on Saturday with the presentation of an International artist.
Beginning in 1996 the first ever Reina de la Costa Maya Beauty Pageant is held on the first night of the festival. Contestants from each Central American country compete to offer the best representation of the Central American coast using the categories of cultural costumes, swimwear and evening gowns.
Entertainers offer festival goers a wide array of music including Punta, Reggae, Soca, Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, and traditional Maya music. Cultural presentations are usually presented in the form of theatrical dances. These dances tell of the Mayan culture, traditions and rich heritage.
Organized by a non-profit committee to promote goodwill among Central American countries and to encourage visitors to Belize, the festival grounds also has booths displaying arts and craft, games, clothing, food, as well as rides and carnival games for the young and young at heart.
The people who have been responsible of staging the festival for the last fourteen years are Gach Guerrero, Einer Gomez, Milo Paz, Marisa Salazar, Wil Alamilla, Ilna Nunez, Ada Graniel, Dorian Nunez, Marlena Gomez, Santiago Vasquez, Marivel Gomez, and David Marin. Wally Nunez, Jan Brown, Mary Rodriquez, Greg Vernon, and Leilah Pandy are new additions to the committee.
Mr. Fernando Trejo, Mrs. Melanie Paz, Eiden Salazar and Mr. Pedro Vasquez have been volunteering their service ever since the festival started.
Special mention must be given to Bruce and Victoria Collins of the USA for their unselfish guidance and advice to make the festival a success.