Celebrating Carnival 2018 in Panama

Carnival is a non-stop party that transforms the country and one of the biggest holidays in Panama! Panama Carnival 2018 begins Saturday, February 10th and ends Tuesday, February 13th with Ash Wednesday falling on the 14th of February.

Expect heavy traffic, and empty grocery store shelves in the Coronado and Pacific Beach areas starting as early as Thursday, February 8th. 

 While some might want to stock up and bunker down at the beach, other might enjoy venturing out to experience one best representations of festival fun in Panama! 

“Los Carnavales” take place throughout the country with the epicenter in Las Tablas. While each festival differs a little there are a few things they all have in common, Carnival queens and water. And while the crowds and partying of Las Tablas might not be for you, that is no reason not to celebrate! Wherever you are spending Carnival, take the time to enjoy time with friends and family. 

Carnival in Parita, Herrera 

A few years back, when Playacommunity was Publishing a monthly newspaper in Coronado, we had the opportunity to speak with Elssy Vasquez Barrera, who was  Carnival Queen of Parita in 1981. 

Elssy told us that Parita, her hometown, is a great place to experience Carnival. While the festival is not as big as it is in the nearby town of Las Tablas, it is just as exciting! The town has a colonial heritage and a large open plaza next to a church, that makes the stage for carnival and fireworks. 

In the small colonial town, the Queen’s coronation occurs on Friday night, and the parades begin. The queen rides around on a special float along the parade route, usually along the main road of town. She is followed by her supporters and a band and of course her supporters. Each day the Queen wears a new outfit and rides a new float. 

Carnival in Parita is the same as 30 years ago – only bigger. Another difference is that the parades start later in the day, which means they end later into the night. The rivalries between different parts of the city/town continue to be upheld and of course, the Carnival tradition of getting sprayed down by cold water!