Action-Packed, Colorful Celebration of La Ceiba Carnaval in Honduras
The La Ceiba Carnival in Honduras is a joyful celebration full of color and music that you don’t want to miss!
La Ceiba is a beautiful city with kind people, breathtaking beaches, and awesome venues. It’s a newly popular ecotourism destination that offers hiking, ziplining, rafting, scuba diving, biodiversity, and a vibrant nightlife.
This carnaval (carnival) inspires all of La Ceiba to celebrate!
It’s a massive party where you get to soak up the Honduran culture and make unforgettable memories. At this event, parades, pageantry, commerce, gastronomy, art, and religion converge in the heart of Central America.
Read this article to explore all that this action-packed celebration has to offer!
A Brief History of La Ceiba Carnival
Also known as the Feria Isidra or the Gran Carnaval Internacional de La Ceiba (Grand International La Ceiba Carnival), La Ceiba Carnival is the biggest Central America celebration. More than 500,000 attendees flock to La Ceiba for this event, temporarily tripling its population.
Every year Honduran people pay tribute to their Catholic patron saint Isidro el Labrador (Isidore the Laborer). People from all over Honduras and the rest of Central America come to experience this Latin American festivity that has gained International attention.
The first Gran Carnaval de la Ceiba was held in 1917. During the celebration, the city picked the first Queen of the Fair. The parade was added in 1967. Today, it has evolved into a two-week celebration with great culinary, cultural, artistic, religious, and sports activities.
Where is La Ceiba Carnival?
La Ceiba is a Caribbean port city located in the north of Honduras in Central America. It’s the gateway city to popular destinations such as the Bay Islands of Guanaja, Útila, and Roatán.
Mini-carnivals take place in various neighborhoods, and everyone comes together to Avenida San Isidro (San Isidro Avenue) to see the great parade on the last day of the festivities.
Fun fact: La Ceiba Carnival is the Honduran Mardi Gras. In fact, New Orleans is its sister city! Due to a major shipping route that connected them, New Orleans has the largest population of Honduran immigrants in the U.S. Many of them attend La Ceiba Carnival to celebrate their heritage.
When is the La Ceiba Carnival?
La Ceiba Carnival dates are movible, so they start and finish on a different day every year. The only fecha (date) that is immovable is May 15th, day of the patron saint Isidro which is a national holiday.
The two-week celebration culminates with the great parade. The first week of La Ceiba Carnival consists of mini carnivals in different neighborhoods of La Ceiba. The main characteristic of the second week are the carnavalitos and all-night parties that these same neighborhoods host with concerts and food.
On the last day of the carnival, the party steps up to another level for El Gran Carnaval Internacional de la Amistad (Grand International Carnival of Friendship). There’s music, food, dancing, and good vibes everywhere.
Carnavalitos or Mini Carnivals & Night Parties
They sound sweet and small, but carnavalitos are wild public street parties that start at 10 pm and last until the next morning. Every neighborhood that throws a carnavalito tries to outdo the others.
These parties feature live music, artists, feasting, dancing, and hundreds of thousands of people flowing through the streets. Every neighborhood set up one to three different stages with live music, especially Latin and Caribbean genres like soca, bachata, and reggaeton.
The music variety widens to rock, pop, and techno as night falls. International bands and DJs are part of the celebration every year. Watch and dance with the Garifuna, while they perform typical Afro-Honduran dances and music.
Central America’s greatest party takes place at the Malecón Turístico (tourist boardwalk), in the Zona Viva (lively zone), on San Isidro Avenue, and on Paseo de los Ceibeños.
Gran Carnaval Internacional de la Amistad – La Ceiba Grand Carnival Parade
The grand parade is the culmination of the holiday. The long-awaited event on the last day of the carnival kicks-off on the south end of San Isidro Avenue at noon and ends up at the beach.
The atmosphere is joyful and electric as you walk down the street lined by delighted and exhilarated spectators watching the floats, dancers, drummers, and comparsas. Comparsas are carnival groups made of musicians, singers, and dancers that are common in many parts of Latin America.
La Ceiba Carnival Timeline 2022
The 2022 La Ceiba Carnival will be from May 7-21.
Here’s the schedule of events (remember it is subject to change!):
Saturday, May 21, 2022
12:00 pm: Feria Isidra Inauguration
12:30 pm: Queens Tour starts
07:00 pm: Queen’s Coronation
Sunday, May 8, 2022
5:00 am: Honoring the Ceibena Mothers
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
4:30 am: San Isidro patron saint procession
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
8:00 am: Artisanal fair at central square
5:00 pm: Songwriters presentation
5:00 pm: Cinema shows
8:00 pm: Carnavalito at Kawas
Friday, May 13, 2022
8:00 am: Artisanal fair at central square
8:00 pm: Carnavalito at Barrio Solares Nuevos
Saturday, May 14, 2022
8:00 am: “Recess Tracks for Peace” (street fair games)
8:00 pm: Carnavalito Pizzaty
Sunday, May 15, 2022 (Day of Isidro El Labrador)
4:00 pm: Artistic presentation
8:00 pm: Carnavalito Sierra Pina
Monday, May 16, 2022
10:00 am: Mass at the San Isidro Cathedral
04:00 pm: La Ceiba Ballet Center Presentation
05:30 pm: Artistic presentation
08:00 pm: Carnavalito at the San Isidro Market
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
2:00 pm: Traditional Games presentation
8:00 pm: Carnavalito Mall Mega Plaza
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
9:00 am: School artistic presentation
3:00 pm: Drama presentation
8:00 pm: Carnavalito Barrio Inglés
Tuesday, May 19, 2022
8:00 am: Commerce expo
9:30 am: Motorcycle show
5:00 pm: Artistic presentation
8:00 pm: Carnavalito Paseo de los Ceibeños
Friday, May 20, 2022
8:00 am: Fire Department marathon
8:00 pm: Carnavalito Barrio la Isla
Saturday, May 21, 2022
12:00 pm: Great Parade and Friendship Carnival
No trip is complete without trying the local food. Street food stalls line the parade route and sell typical Honduran delicacies like beans, rice, grilled chicken, and meat skewers.
PRO-TIP! Look out for a dish called baleadas, which are handmade tortillas stuffed with refried beans, cheese and toppings of your choice.
Check out these tips to have a meaningful, safe, and enjoyable experience:
- Buy souvenirs and support local artisans. Stalls with handcrafts, handmade clothing, artisanal cheeses and jewelry are everywhere to be found.
- The weather at La Ceiba Carnival is hot and humid. Wear breathable clothes, bring insect repellent, and stay hydrated.
- Be sure to book your accommodation in advance, as 500,000 beds will be reserved by the time you get there.
- Take precautions like not carrying valuable things in easy to reach places to avoid being pickpocketed.
- Stay alert in crowded places, and don’t go out at night unless it’s necessary, especially on beaches.
Speak Spanish at La Ceiba Carnival!
Get the full immersion experience at La Ceiba Carnival by overcoming the language barrier and learning Spanish. Travel easier to Honduras and other Spanish-speaking countries and engage in meaningful conversations with the locals!
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