Been here four months now and my wife joined me from Australia just two days before Carnaval began.
Carnaval is part of the Lenten Christian tradition in Roman Catholic countries of Central and South America. The festivities precede “Ash Wednesday” which is the official beginning of the six-week religious season of Lent, a time for atonement and introspective reflection. Traditionally Lent is a “meatless” season, so the carna (meat) in “Carnaval” refers to the meat we will all be giving up. It is the last celebration and outburst of non-reflective joy before Lent which sets a more solemn stage for Easter.
“Carnaval 2013” was February 7 thru February 12 with three days of parades with floats, street vendors, a true street-carnival midway complete with hawkers, and of course, Ripley’s Believe it or Not (in Español ).
I am not misspelling “Carnaval” as that is how it is spelled on the event posters. The colorful event is most notably celebrated along the Malecon, the beach walkway along the short front of La Paz. It is an event not to be missed. It also includes wonderful street vendors and stage performances by noted celebrities.
Unlike the more hedonistic Carnaval celebrations, this one is definitely family oriented (as you will see from the pictures that accompany).
Events typically start in early evening, around 5:30 pm, near dusk which is 6-7 pm this time of year here. This leaves you with good light to take photos and wander about. The evening will then not wind down till midnight for you late night wanderers.
We are currently in Marina de La Paz which is at the south end of the Malecon,and near the center of the city, which makes almost everything walking distance from your boat. So for us, the walk was about the length of a football field to see the start of the parade on Monday night. The parade start alternates north and south so all have a chance to be near the start.