Dominicans know that the New Year will quickly usher in the country’s Carnival celebrations, celebrated throughout the country.
Thousands of national and international visitors come together to celebrate the beauty of local carnivals.
The country’s most popular Carnival activities are held in the country’s main cities: Santo Domingo, Santiago, Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, as well as in many other towns. However, the country’s most popular Carnival is held in the central-region town of La Vega.
During the month of February, La Vega becomes the Caribbean capital of Carnival festivities.
Well-known Dominican travel agencies and tour operators organize trips to the carnival in La Vega.
The Puerto Plata and Punta Cana Carnival festivities also attract many international visitors.
The Punta Cana Festival usually takes place in March, while the rest of the country’s Carnival activities are held in February.
La Vega’s Carnival is celebrated every Sunday during the month of February. La Vega Province is situated in the country’s heartland, 1.5 hours north of Santo Domingo, and two hours south of Puerto Plata.
The town’s popular Carnival celebration officially kicks off the last Sunday in January with the coronation of King Momo, or Carnival King. All Carnival celebrations in the town conclude on February 27th.
The Carnival’s most important figures are the traditional “Diablos Cojuelos,” or “Devils” Dominican style. These colorful devils, decked out in beautiful handmade costumes, are the Carnival’s main attractions. They take over the streets with their dancing, carrying balloons made of pig bladders to “intimidate” the thousands who fill the town’s downtown streets.
The capital city of Santo Domingo is home to the National Carnival Parade, where representatives from all over the country bring their floats and costumes to participate in the parade, held annually in the city’s seaside boulevard. Hundreds participate in the event, held simultaneously to celebrate the country’s Independence Day.
Carnival celebrations in Puerto Plata will begin on January 24, 2015. Next year’s Carnival slogan is “Puerto Plata’s Carnival: An International Experience.” Carnival festivities will be held every Sunday in February, from 3:00 p.m. – 10 p.m., in the city’s oceanfront boulevard.
The Puerto Plata Carnival highlights the presence of the “Taimascaros,” a mythical creature inspired by the gods once worshipped by the native Tainos, the island’s original inhabitants.
The Punta Cana Carnival celebrations began in 2008, becoming in just a few short years an important attraction for national and international visitors in this important tourism region. In just a few years the Carnival has attracted representatives from various Caribbean islands, who also participate in the celebrations. Next year’s Carnival in the region has been scheduled for Saturday, March 7, at 4:00 p.m. in Puntacana Village.
The country’s second largest city also boasts a colorful Carnival celebration. The local “Devils” also dress in colorful costumes and masks. In Santiago’s “La Joya” community, the main Carnival theme centers around the figures of runaway slaves.
Carnival in this small agricultural town, situated in the country’s heartland, features Carnival figures dressed with dried banana peels and fig leaves.
Carnival in Bonao is held every Sunday in February.