7 Places to celebrate Carnival in Central America

Cities, towns and villages all over Central America celebrate carnival. Here are some of the best places to attend.

Las Tablas Carnival, Panama

10 central america carnivals

What is carnival in Panama? Las Tablas Carnival in Panama is considered to be one of the best carnivals in Latin America. This carnival celebration has been running since the early 1900s and is a four-day celebration that attracts over 100,000.

The whole city will shut down for carnival and there is incredible procession full of incredible creative floats, gorgeous carnival costumes which is all led by the Carnival Queen. Be prepared to get wet during carnival because they also have big water fights with water being shot out of water cannons!! Everyone is in good spirits and expect to see lots of dancing and drinking.

Antigua Carnival, Guatemala

10 central america carnivals

What is carnival in Guatemala? Antigua has big carnival celebrations during Semana Santa which means Easter week. Antigua is home to a spectacular carnival celebration that attracts some 200,000 people. Carnival is all about celebrating religion and art and hosts huge processions that wind through the city streets.

The processions feature the most incredible giant statues of Jesus Christ that are carried by purple-robed men. There is also a Virgin Mary float that is accompanied by hundreds of women dressed in black robes. Beautiful traditional carpets that are made from flowers and sawdust called Alfombras are laid over the city streets so that carnival parade can roll over.

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Limon Carnival, Costa Rica 

10 central america carnivals

What is carnival in Costa Rica? Carnival occurs in the port city of Limon and occurs in October. This is because it is a tiny period where the town actually experiences dry weather. Carnival celebrates the unique local Caribbean-Costa Rican culture.

The Limon Carnival features lots of parades, parties, rum and endless Caribbean tunes. It is a celebration for where the whole community takes part. There is no better place to celebrate carnival then this gorgeous tropical paradise.

Carnival Road March, Belize

10 central america carnivals

What is carnival in Belize? Carnival Road March is an Independence Day Carnival that takes place in September during the national day celebrations in Belize. Belize does have some pre-Lenten carnival celebrations, but the Carnival Road March is the biggest and best carnival celebration that takes place in Belize City.

Belize City is home to the biggest Creoles population in the country, so the carnival has had a lot of influence from the Afro-Caribbean Culture particularly because a vast number of Belizeans attending university in Jamaica and Trinidad. The Road march is an incredible colourful spectacle full of Caribbean tunes.

The La Ceiba Carnival, Honduras

10 central america carnivals

What is carnival in Honduras? The La Ceiba Carnival in Honduras is an annual celebration that occurs every third Saturday of May. The La Ceiba Carnival is a celebration that honours the cities patron saint – Saint Isidore the Labourer. 

Carnival here features a huge parade down Avendia San Isidro that is followed by a huge all-night street party. The local people wear colourful national costumes. There are lots of street vendors who come and sell farm products, clothing, souvenirs and other typical Honduran things.

Rio San Juan Carnival, Nicaragua

10 central america carnivals

What is carnival in Nicaragua? The Rio San Juan Carnival in Nicaragua is quite a spectacle that features over 17,000 participants. The carnival actually takes place on the San Juan River for two weeks during January. It is unique because the parade actually takes place on the river and they have an aquatic float parade. It is a fun event that the whole region attends.

San Miguel Carnival, El Salvador

10 central america carnivals

What is carnival in El Salvador? The San Miguel Carnival actually occurs on the last Saturday in November, in the city of San Miguel. The day is also known as being the “Dia de la Reina de la Paz“, which in English means the Queen of the Peace Day. 

San Miguel Carnival features a huge procession that features dozens of musical groups, floats and costume dancers. Up to a million people attend this event making it one of the biggest not just in El Salvador but one of the biggest carnivals in all of Central America.

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