Although we had been in Panama for a while, 2013 was our first opportunity to celebrate carnival in Panama City. The only thing in America that’s even slightly similar is in New Orleans, where it’s called Mardi Gras. Carnival—or carnaval, as they prefer to spell it—is a mega-day holiday throughout Latin America. Many businesses in Panama shut down for the entire five days leading up to Lent, and they party hearty.
Highlights of Panama Carnival 2013
The street started filling up with people early in the day.
Musicians performing on stage for carnival crowds
Indigenous Kuna Yala dancing during Panama Carnival
Lots of things are available for sale while partying … this little boy is helping his parents at their table.
Carnival Parade Floats
People dress up for carnival
People dress up for carnival, either in colorful and creative costumes or as the traditional diablos. These devil costumes vary by region, and while they carried (and used) real whips in Bocas, at Panama City’s carnival their whips are mostly just props.
And then there’s the food …
Besides the soda, water and cerveza, there’s a huge variety of really delicious food. You can eat to your heart’s delight.
More about Carnival in Panama
- Postcard: Proud Big Sister in Panama
- Postcard: A Panama Carnival Devil
- Our Panama Carnival photo gallery has additional shots of the event.