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Streets are full of colours, costumes, dances, joy… We know you’ve been waiting all year for these dates to arrive and it’s no wonder… it’s carnival time in Latin America!
And although the traditions in each country are different, the truth is that they all have one thing in common: parties and parades in colourful costumes that represent the best of each region.
Here we tell you how they celebrate it and which are the best places to experience carnival in Latin America in an incredible way.
Oruro Carnival, Bolivia
The Carnival of Oruro is one of the many traditions of Bolivia and is considered a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
It is a celebration with a mixture of Spanish and indigenous traditions in which the Virgen del Socavón is worshipped. During it, they dance to the rhythm of typical ritual dances such as La Diablada, in which hundreds of devils participate dressed in flamboyant costumes, grotesque masks and striking wigs.
Veracruz Carnival, Mexico
The Veracruz Carnival begins with the tradition of the ‘Burning of the Bad Humour’, a huge paper doll representing a politician or celebrity that is set on fire.
Later on, the Queen of Carnival, the King of Joy and the Children’s Kings are crowned. It ends with the burial of Juan Carnaval, considered to be the most joyful carnival in all of Mexico!
So if you are planning to travel to Mexico and visit Veracruz, we recommend that you do it during one of the 9 days that this carnival lasts.
Carnival of Panama, Panama
Another colourful carnival in Latin America is the one in Panama, also known as the King Momo festivities. They begin with the election of the Carnival Queen and end with the night of the burial of the sardine.
During the four days of the festival, one of the traditions of the carnival is the ‘mojaderas’ in which trucks, hoses and buckets of water refresh all the attendees during the parades.
It’s a great way to keep cool!
Gualeguaychú Carnival, Argentina
The Gualeguaychú Carnival is the largest open-air spectacle in Argentina and the third-largest in the world.
It is a celebration of three troupes with hundreds of artists on stage and a 500-metre long catwalk that allows them to show their dances and costumes to all visitors.
Carnival of Barranquilla, Colombia
The Carnival of Barranquilla is one of the most important folkloric and cultural events in Colombia, also declared Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The festival begins with the Battle of Flowers, a parade of floats and troupes presided over by the Queen, King Momo and María Moñitos and ends with the death of Joselito Carnaval, the most representative character and symbol of the joy of the people of Barranquilla.
Not to be missed if you’re travelling to Colombia, get ready to dance!
Carnival of Puno, Peru
One of the customs and traditions of Peru is the Carnival of Puno, also known as the capital of Peruvian folklore thanks to all its important cultural events.
During this festivity, the Peruvian women called ‘cholitas’ dance the ‘morenada’ or ‘diablada’ with their traditional coloured polleras, corduroy blankets, black hats and white handkerchiefs waving in the air.
So if you are travelling to Peru during the month of February, don’t miss the wonderful Puno carnival. But don’t forget to take a trip to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, the country’s iconic sites.
Now you know which are the best places to experience an impressive and unforgettable carnival. Which carnival in Latin America do you choose? We are undecided!