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In Search of Carnival

The Story Begins…

When our Airbnb host picked us up upon our arrival in Panama, the first thing she told us was that Carnival starts this week. “Yeah”, we said with excitement in our eyes, we instantly turned to each other with big smiles on our faces. The party was about to begin…or so we thought… This is our short story about our search for the illusive Carnival…

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Traffic backed up for miles heading out of Panama City. During Carnival the police open the lane from the opposite side to make 3 lanes. Good Idea

Not having a car means taking the bus, so on Saturday we took off down the dirt road with pep in our steps. We hopped on the small white local bus and rode out to the Pan-American #1, we got off with everyone else and immediately jumped on another passing bus going to ???? Our lack of understanding rapid fire Spanish is quite obvious so the steward just waved us on the bus and we were off on an adventure.

We leaped off the bus at the town of Capira. Yes, literally jumped because these buses do not stop! They just slow down a bit. The town is about 50 kilometers from Panama City and about 30 kilometers from Gorgona. When we stepped off the bus we got a feeling right away that this town loved to party. The entire square and surrounding streets were closed to traffic and filled with revelers, food hawkers, beer vendors, and water trucks called culecos. People standing on the culecos douse the partiers with water from fire hoses; the only way into the party is to pass through the massive crowds getting sprayed with water. If you go to one of these celebrations you will get wet. This tradition has become an issue in recent years because of the water shortage in Panama (we lost water three times in our building during Carnival, as well electricity and internet-oh no tragedy). The water supplies all over Panama have been depleted and several cities had to cancel their celebrations due to lack of water.
Prepare to get soaked!
Water trucks spray everyone as they enter the party
Party On!
Don’t mess with these boys! They are keeping everyone in line!
Panamanians love to party and let their hair down, especially during Carnival. For four days the country comes to a virtual standstill, while locals and visitors alike sing, dance, and drink, joining the queens their comparas(dance troupes) and tunas(bands) on the streets.
“The Queenies”
The competing Queens of the Carnival. Towns are divided into two sections during Carnival. Each has a queen who competes for the ultimate honor of being crowned.
Lunch Delivery Service
The float in our small town of Gorgona.
We never found the big parade but we did find a great Super Bowl Party
Ahhh! An awesome way to end the weekend! Cold Beer and wings!

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Spencer & Mary Jurrens
  • Anonymous
    Posted at 00:49h, 17 February

    You guys sure do know how to have fun. Here we are taking the grueling hikes to get away from the crowds and you guys go full force into the middle of it. Glad you are having the time of your life!

    • Spencer & Mary
      Posted at 21:52h, 21 February

      Hi Guys, Any blisters or Shark Bits?