Nightlife & the Arts in Belize City
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Belize City Nightlife
Travelers who like to use their vacations to catch up on their nightlife rather than sleep will find Belize City's scene limited at best. Although locals love to party, safety concerns keep visitors away from most nightspots except hotel bars, such as the bar at the Radisson Fort George. After dark, take a taxi, or, if driving, park in a fenced and secured lot, such as at the Riverside Tavern.
Karaoke is a craze among many Belizeans. A hugely popular, locally produced karaoke television show, Karaoke TV, has been running on Channel 5 in Belize City since 2001. Most of the hotel bars have karaoke nights once or twice a week. Even in Belize you'll hear tried-and-true karaoke favorites such as "Crazy" by Patsy Cline and lots of Elvis and vintage Sonny and Cher, and you'll also hear songs like "Bidi Bidi Bam Bam" by Selena and "Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston. Singers may go from country to Motown and hip-hop to funk and R&B to reggae, ska, and Latin soca. Belizean taste in music is nothing if not eclectic. At live music shows and clubs in Belize City you can hear an equally diverse mix of music, although rap in all its variations is as popular in Belize City as in Los Angeles.
One uniquely Belizean style of music is punta rock. It's based on the traditional punta rhythms of the Garífuna, using drums, turtle shells, and rattles. In the late 1970s Pen Cayetano, a Garífuna artist in Dangriga, began writing punta songs, updating the music with an electric guitar, keyboard, and other electronic instruments. (Cayetano now lives in Germany, although he visits Belize regularly.) Punta rock, earthy and sexy, swept Belize and later became popular in other Central American countries, a result of the export of the music by the likes of Andy Palacio, "the ambassador of punta rock," who died unexpectedly at the peak of his career in early 2008.
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