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Would They, Should They…Kill Carnaval On Ambergris Caye?

Greetings from Merida.

Carnaval 2014 in San Pedro, Belize is coming to an end.  I was there for the first day (Sunday) of painting and comparsas but missed Monday and Tuesday to fly with Tropic Air on the inaugural flight from Belize to Merida, Mexico.

Carnaval is great fun.  So unique to the island and messily beautiful…



Kids being kids…



And adults getting their party on.

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People drink.  Alot.  And paint gets everywhere…whether purposely or accidentally.  Eggs are hurled.  Belize Tourism Board posted this picture yesterday to celebrate San Pedro’s Carnaval.


Beautiful, yes.  But that’s a public bench in the Central Park!

Has the vandalism outweighed the fun?

IMG_0194It’s interesting to me that Merida, Mexico is asking similar questions right now.   And like San Pedro, it has taken precautionary measures for years.   BUT for 2014, they made a big leap.  One that has been whispered about in San Belize, Belize for a while.  The huge Merida five day carnival parade and party has been moved from the city center (El Centro) to a fair ground on the edge of Merida.   Or as the Yucatan Times heralded this year’s move – “The Day the Carnival Died”.

Not very popular.  At all.

Don’t mess the fun!  As my cute guide, Josue, here in Merida from the Yucatan Tourism Board succinctly stated “It’s what it is.  IT’S CARNIVAL.”

EXACTLY.  It’s supposed to be a crazy, slight hedonistic PARTY before we enter into the 40 days of Lent.   For some, 40 days of restriction and piety.  It’s celebration time.  And yes.  Parents should be more on top of what there kids are doing (not just for these three days) and the police should be out cracking down on offenders and enforcing the guidelines but I hope they never change this festival.  Or try to move it to some field outside of town.  That would ruin everything.

I’ll say it again.  It’s Carnaval.  It’s not supposed to be neat and tidy.

Here are some more photos of the celebrations – of Carnaval being Carnaval.  Some are mine, some from my friend Finn from Rojo Lounge and some from Maya at Conch Creative.

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I’ll just end it with a picture and quote from Niki…a tourist visiting San Pedro for Carnival.


She says:  “The best day EVER” was the quote of the day!!! Thank you to the locals for showing us such great hospitality!!!

See?  Get in there and love it for what it is.

Kill it?  NEVER.   We should work on enforcing the rules and then promoting it to the world.

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9 thoughts on “Would They, Should They…Kill Carnaval On Ambergris Caye?

    1. Belize Blog

      Yeah! I know you can. It’s not for everyone but for a party/spring break crowd…the crowd who is here for late Feb/March? It’s PERFECTION. And if you don’t like it, it’s very easy to avoid town at night. PROMOTION!

  1. Stewart Mandy

    Thanks for linking to my TYT story about Merida’s carnival move. Your conclusion about San Pedro’s carnival is right on the nail!

    1. Belize Blog

      That was you? I’ve met many expats in Merida who are hoping…praying that it is moved back to town. I’ll be watching for sure. Super interesting..

  2. Discusted Tourist

    The indiscriminate painting of personal and commercial property is SHAMEFUL and should not be tolerated in a civil society..Paint your face but don’t terrorize unsuspecting tourists who unwittingly venture into town.
    Can’t Carnaval be fun without the vandalism?

    1. Belize Blog

      Did you personally have a bad experience? I agree…it needs to be policed but still fun!

  3. rjhawkins

    Well, this was our first experience and it was mostly from the fringe but I have to say I can’t recall seeing so many children having so much fun. I met a very nice teacher who was there with his students. He was a quiet observer while they roamed Central Park, smearing each other with paint. I met a mom who was doing the same. Mostly we walked among the kids and all were respectful of the fact that we weren’t quite ready to be smeared. Some shops and sign owners took precaution and wrapped their property in plastic, as did the city. I understand that the fire department gets some practice in hosing down the plaza and street afterward? And the fact that the police went to the schools to personally address some issues is a good step.

    Sounds like a win-win for community, public servants, tourists and especially the kids.It is also what we like to call a great teaching moment for schools! The history of Carnaval is colorful and meaningful and deeply ingrained in the fabric of the community.

    Some Americans are unfamiliar with the concept of free play, having grown up with overbearing adult supervision virtually every minute of their lives. It is just the way the US is now.

    Carnaval is a great way for kids to let off steam, while also learning that society has some guidelines and traditions that benefit all. Hey maybe that’s a good thing for adults, too!

    Next year, I think I’ll get painted from head to toe and then give some willing celebrator (my wife perhaps?) a great big water-based paint hug!

    Viva Carnaval!

    1. Belize Blog

      Very VERY well said. Win-win…and could be even more win. It is true that free play is a dying art. VIVA indeed.

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