In so many ways, the Caribbean Carnaval is unique, both in Costa Rica and around the world. Unlike most “carnivals” in existence, the weeklong festival in Puerto Limón takes place in October instead of February. While the people of Limón celebrate their Carnaval in familiar ways – feathered costumes, glittery masks, parades, drums, and calypso – Costa Rica’s most famous Carnaval has nothing to do with Lent or Easter or overweight Tuesdays.
Then there is the city itself: Puerto Limón, a community unlike any other in Costa Rica. The picturesque peninsula, the industrial landscape, the stone walls that frame the oceanfront – the nation’s busiest port is singularly scenic, and its long, wide avenidas make it the perfect setting for a massive street parade. (And with major renovations like the Moín Port project coming up, this will be your last chance to see Limón in its current form.)
Most importantly, Puerto Limón is the epicenter of Costa Rica’s Afro-Caribbean culture, and there is no better excuse to visit the city and relish its food, music, and heritage. For more whole fish, coconut rice, diced fruit, and agua de sapo than you can handle, Carnaval is exactly the right occasion.
Carnaval continues throughout the week, but the real party takes place this coming weekend, with a Sunday morning parade, fiestas in the streets, and live music all night long. Stay tuned.