Carnaval in La Paz

Hector and I have never been to a Carnival celebration. Our original schedule put us in La Paz around the end of February so we slowed down our southbound journey to experience Carnaval in La Paz in early March.

There are three parades during Carnaval and the final one takes place on what we know as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras day.

The parades take place on the malecón, a beautiful three mile esplanade along the La Paz waterfront.

We learned, to our amusement, that the three parades are all exactly the same. The first one begins on one side of the malecón and ends in the other. The second starts on the other side and ends on the first. The last one returns to the original route. Okay.

We decided to check it out from the street on the first day to make sure the photography angle would work. We found a prime spot along the street right alongside the spot where the parade was to begin. Of course, once there we had to stay for the entire parade.

Carnaval parades in Mexico are a family affair and this one began around 5:45. To our surprise, the queen’s float opened the parade. I thought she might be the last float.

The theme of this year’s parade was “Grandes Navigantes” loosely translated to Great Explorers.

One of the first things we noticed were people carrying signs saying “no lanzar objetos al desfile” (do not throw objects towards the parade). The signs showed a drawing of an egg with a red circle with a line across it on top. Interesting.

The main focus was seafaring Vikings, pirates and Egyptians but the floats also featured space exploration, airplanes and even characters from an animated film about penguins exploring New York.

The next few floats represented dance schools in the area including Middle Eastern dance, modern dance and others.

Every few floats a person would go by with the signs asking people not to throw objects. Huh.

Then there were a number of non-profit organizations each in their float.

Another organization had a huge banner – Desplastificate – a made-up word referring to reducing use of and recycling plastic.

Of course, there was lots of music, There were many children participating in the parade, some riding floats and others dancing or walking along the route. It was definitely a family affair.

Interspersed among different floats were members of the royal court in their glittery costumes.


A group that stood out were the rocking senior ladies. They were shaking and shimmying along as they say to beat the band. A family affair that definitely included all ages.

And there was a float with drag queens promoting a show in town that they are featured in.

Our plan for Fat Tuesday was perfect. After seeing the parade from the ground we were going to have a “bird’s eye view” from above, while having a slow dinner and drinks.

We watched the crowd assemble and the vendors sell their wares.

On Fat Tuesday vendors were selling painted egg shells that were broken on one end and taped up with painted tissue paper. We found out that the eggs were filled with confetti. Hector bought a couple of bags and we waited to see what people would do with them.

But when the parade began there were more people carrying the signs about not throwing objects. Oh well. Anyway, we saw the parade again from our upstairs vantage point.  And being the Tuesday before lent we thought the parade participants were more energetic.  As if the prior parades were a warm up to this night.

The dance groups, the beauty queens, the floats all seemed brighter and more beautiful from our perch.

One group called Il Principito we called the “school of rock”. They had about a hundred kids playing rock music on a long trailer.  Very cool!

The senior ladies danced even more. The vikings paraded by.


The plastic eating whale shark came by …The kids danced and the parade continued on a beautiful night.

And of course, the drag queens who pulled up the rear of the parade were even more fabulous.

And about the eggs … we waited until the end of the parade and…nothing.

So what did people do with their eggs. Well, the table next to us which was full of children threw them back and forth at each other. So Hector and I threw a couple of eggs at each other.

Confetti is not something you want all over, and tons of confetti is definitely not something you want to throw in the sea, which just happens to be right next to where the parade took place. So that is why we think they have stopped this practice. Good for them!

We were glad to have seen the parade twice as it was quite different from the ground than from above.

The Carnaval Parade in La Paz was a little bit of song, a little bit of dance, a little sweet, a little hoaky, a little activist and a lot community and family. We loved it.





14 thoughts on “Carnaval in La Paz

  1. We got there a day after the festivities ended as had been afraid we couldn’t get a camp spot but heard it would of been no problem at aquamariina Rv Park, where we stayed! ☹️Thanks though for the great pics of what we missed! Just had the fabulous fillet that I think You recommended Hector, at Guerrero Negro!! Yummy!!!

    • We were back in La Paz with mechanical issues (covered in a post soon) and stayed at Aquamarina RV Park. Maria Luisa (MaryLou) the owner has a fascinating story!

  2. Love it! So sorry we only saw the floats in repose, parked in the lot at the end of the route, since we arrived on Thurs., but at least we got to see the last carny booths, including the fantastic kitchen booths. We too looked for something we didn’t have that could be transported in a carry-on, but alas, nada. My friends in LA always told me the confetti eggs were a flirting device. At big fiestas, you were supposed to go up to someone you had a crush on and crush the egg on their head, covering them with confetti and marking them as ‘claimed.’ But obviously in La Paz, people have longer range ideas for the eggs. Looking forward to the next installment!

    • We have had such a great time. In Ensenada now and will cross the border on Sunday. A few posts behind, surprise! Glad you’re enjoying, Nina.

  3. Seriously, though… GREAT pix! Love it for a bar or kitchen. When are kids have homes, your photography will be our housewarming gift! 😀 Loving the options. 🙂 Godspeed. xo

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