The celebration is a huge party, yes that's
exactly what it is. In fact it is the most famous
of all parties in Panama. You might be familiar
with carnival of Rio de Janeiro, and Mardi Gras
in New Orleans. Well the carnival in Panama is
also celebrated on the same dates and it is celebrated
in one way or another by the whole country.
If you are wondering about when is the carnival
this coming year, Click Here to See. So gear up and separate
those days ahead of time.
Carnival in Azuero is by
far the most exhuberant and most popular celebration where
in Las Tablas, in particular, two streets in
the same town battle it out to outdo eachother on parades
during the day and night for the 5 days that the carnival
Arriba (High Street) and Calle
Abajo (Low Street) put out excellent shows with very
expensive thrones and dresses for each of their queens
that rival those in Rio de Janeiro. This carnival is one
you will never forget if you attend. In Azuero, Chitre,
and La Villa de Los Santos are also known for celebrations
but cannot compare to the one in Las Tablas.
Carre Abajo Carnival Queen in Las Tablas,
Panama City also celebrates
the carnival by closing main arteries of the city for
parades and the traditional "mojadera"
(people throw water at eachother) which a characteristic
of every carnival celebration throughout the country.
Eighteen-whellers with water tanks show up and pump water
out of it to throw it at the crowds celebrating the parades.
This, you might think, is weird but if you attend this
carnival, you will soon find out that it is actually nice
because Panama is hot and the carnival takes place during
the summer ( dry season in Panama takes place in February...yes
February!) a good splash of water is very welcomed to
beat the heat of the radiant sun.
The government is very involved in this
carnival, settingg up huge stages where salsa, merengue
and local "Tipico" music singers perform for
crowds as large as 20 thousand strong. Gilberto Santa
Rosa, Juan Luis Guerra, Don Omar, Olga Tanon, Calle 13,
Wilfrido Vargas, Eddie Herrera, Oscar De Leon, El Gran
Combo, Celia Cruz(rip), Marc Anthony and many more have
performed in stages.
Click on the following videos
to see how is the Carnival in Panama.
At Las Mendozas de Penonomé there is
a parade that takes place in a river and the
floats actually float carrying their Queen in all their
elegance and beauty. Santiago de Veraguas,
David, Dolega and Las Lajas (Chiriquí); La Pintada
de Coclé, Colón
and Bocas del Toro all also
The Las Tablas carnival days is organized in
the following way. Friday night kicks off the
party with the formal presentation and crowning of the
queens and a parade follows. Everyone is dressed nice
and the all attend the parade celebration and the crowning.
Following the parade there is a fireworks show which
lasts tor about 30 minutes. Afterwards, everyone is
free to either hang out at the park or go to various
parties organized around town. Drinking is of course
allowed on the streets but drunks disturbing the peace
are quickly round up by police and locked up until the
end of carnival because the government courts are shut
down. The party doesn't stop until about 5am.
Saturday morning comes with the start of the
"mojadera" at 10am. By that time
the eithteen wheelers with are lined up around the town's
central park and the crowds are already showing up.
An ocassional short pants, a shirt you might not be
wearing again, cheap snickers, sunglasses and a cap
or hat is all you need to wear.You don't need to worry
about how clean you look after the party because everyone
will be wet, maybe dirty from colors people use to color
other people's cloths among other things. Dancing, drinking,
hanging out while you get wet is mostly what is going
to happen all day until 5pm. There is a parade with
the Queens rolling by that come through while people
standing on top of the water trucks spray the water
over tons of people. After 5pm, everyone except the
drunks start heading out to go home to change into nice
clothes to go have dinner and then go back to the central
park to enjoy the night parade, followed by more of
what happened on Friday night. This is basically repeated
Every carnival day is themed as follows: Friday is
the Opening, Saturday is the International Day, Sunday
is Pollera day, Monday is costume day, Tuesday is Queens
day and on the hours before 5am on sunday is the "entierro
de la sardina"(the sardine burial).
The next question you might ask yourself is: "How
do get to the best carnival and where do I stay?"
Well, the question is answer with two short words: Plan
ahead. In reality you need to plan ahead well
in advance if you want to participate in any of the carnivals.
Understand that the whole country is participating and
ALL hotels are going to be booked to capacity just like
you would expect any city in the world preparing for any
carnival. Reserve your hotel months in advance you can
stay at a nice one.
In Panama City, there are very many hotels and
it might be easier to find accomodations that if you decide
to go to Las Tablas or any other city. Consult
section of Panama1.com to book your stay at your desired
We recommend that you make friends in Panama and try
to go in a group to any of the cities in the country.
That will be the best way you will reassure yourself to
have a blast while staying safe.
Visit the Panama1.com Forum and
start your own thread to ask questions or make comments
about the carnival.