Cancun Carnival

February is just around the corner and that means it’s nearly Carnival time in Cancun, Mexico! Nationwide throughout Mexico, Carnival takes place during the 3 days preceding Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. In addition to Cancun, the most popular cities that have incredible celebrations include Tepoztlán, Huejotzingo, Chamula, Veracruz, Cozumel, and Mazatlán. In some places including Veracruz, Mazatlán, and Cozumel, the celebration is so eccentric and exciting that it resembles New Orleans’s famed Mardi Gras party.  The festive atmosphere and parades make it a not miss activity for visitors to the area. Continue reading below to see why you can’t miss the Carnival in Cancun this February.

Carnival History

Carnival which is known as “Carnaval” in Spanish, is celebrated each spring throughout different destinations in Mexico. It is held the week before Ash Wednesday which is known as “miercoles de cenizas” in Spanish, which marks the beginning of Lent which is the period of sobriety before Easter. Although the specific dates of celebrations do vary a bit depending on location, the Carnival is always held prior to Ash Wednesday. This year in 2024, Carnival festivities will be held from february 8th to february 13th and will reach a climax of celebrations on Mardi Gras, which means “Fat Tuesday” in English or “Martes de Carnaval” in Spanish. The specific dates for this annual event is determined by Easter, which is always held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox.

Parades and Caribbean Costumes

In Cancun, the Carnival is a huge party that shouldn’t be missed. Cancun in general has a festive and party atmosphere all year round, so that energy is ramped up even more during Carnival. Visitors to the area will be thrilled with the festivities including colorful parades and energetic dancers dressed in colorful and bright Caribbean style costumes. There are even special cars that are specifically decorated for Carnival that drive along in the parade. When the cars stop, everyone in the crowd gets up and dances which makes for an incredibly fun street dance party like you’ve never experienced before.

Live Music and Great Food

In addition to the parades, several  Caribbean music concerts are organized that will highlight both national and local talent. As you enjoy the exciting music and people watching, visitors will be treated to a large variety of delicious food offerings, drinks, and souvenirs set up within a space similar to a fair venue. In Cancun the parade and Carnival festivities take place in downtown Cancun. The Cancun Carnival is one of the most popular events all year, so transportation and hotels are generally packed and booked early. We recommend you make reservations as early as possible in advance and plan to arrive a couple of days ahead of the beginning of celebrations.

Playa del Carmen Carnival 2024!

Get ready for a week full of joy, color, and fun in Playa del Carmen, with the Carnival 2024.

Thursday, February 8th:

  • Starting at 6:30 pm, say goodbye to bad humor and welcome the party with the burning of the bad humor!
  • Don’t miss the reading of the Bando de Carnaval, where you will know the rules of this great celebration.

Friday, February 9th:

  • At 6:00 pm, enjoy a colorful and joyful parade with the children’s comparsas.
  • Say goodbye to the Kings of Carnival 2023 and crown the new Kings and Queens of Carnival 2024.
  • Admire the comparsas of the royal court and get ready to dance all night long with the bands Corpusklan and Grupo Cañaveral.

Saturday, February 10th:

  • Starting at 5:30 pm, experience the main carnival parade, a route full of music, dance and fun!
  • Don’t miss the comparsa competition in its Infantil, Juvenil and Soberanos categories.
  • Enjoy a great closing night with the groups Emerald Band and Los Ilegales.

Sunday, February 11th:

  • Starting at 5:30 pm, enjoy the Carnival parade and get ready for an incredible Coco Bongo show.
  • Experience the excitement of the comparsa competition in the Juvenil category.
  • At 9:00 pm, admire the presentation of the Kings of Gold, Kings of Sexual Diversity, Kings of Disability and Sovereigns of Carnival.
  • Dance all night long with the bands La Fortuna and Merenglass.

Monday, February 12th:

  • Starting at 5:30 pm, the party continues with the parade, the comparsa competition in the free category and various regional shows.
  • Enjoy the presentations of the Senior Citizens, the Youth Kings and the Carnival Sovereigns.
  • Close with a flourish with the Mariachi Femenil Azul Turquesa and Edwin Luna y la Trakalosa de Monterrey.

Tuesday, February 13th:

  • Starting at 5:30 pm, experience the traditional closing carnival parade.
  • Admire the winning comparsas in the Infantil, Juvenil and Libre categories.
  • Enjoy the presentation of comparsas and allegorical floats, as well as the show of the Children’s, Youth and Sovereign Kings 2024.
  • Don’t miss the great concert by Playa Sur and Los Super Lamas, the perfect grand finale for this great party!

Headed to Cancun late February 2024? Don’t miss the Cancun Carnival for the party of your life!