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When I booked my Winter escape to Aruba, I wasn’t aware that we would be visiting during Carnaval. We ended up being there for the final weekend of Carnaval and the most important celebrations on the island. During our stay, there were several events to choose from. On Friday there was the lighting parade in the evening in San Nicolas, the second largest city in Aruba, less frequently explored by tourists. Saturday they hosted a parade in the same town during the day. On Sunday they have the biggest event, the parade in the capital city of Oranjestad. The parade is followed by an evening event where they burn the MoMo. In an effort to balance our time between experiencing Carnaval, the beaches, and some of Aruba’s other attractions, we opted to attend the evening parade in San Nicolas and the day time parade in Oranjestad. Here’s a photo essay of Carnaval in Aruba.
Carnaval in Aruba Lighting Parade in San Nicolas
Carnaval in Aruba Sunday Parade in Oranjestad
Tips for attending Carnaval in Aruba:
- San Nicolas is far from Oranjestad (45 min) and even farther from the high rise hotels (about 1 hour). Rent a car or make sure you have a reliable taxi service to transport you to and from the event.
- The evening parade is VERY long. It lasted a few hours. You can bring drinks, snacks, and chairs to sit on the side of the road to watch.
- You can show up as the parade starts. It did start shortly after 9pm, maybe closer to 10pm.
- The parade in Oranjestad starts around 12, but we were at the tail end of the parade route and it did not reach us until 4pm.
- We arrived at our spot along the route around 3pm and had a good view.
- It is HOT HOT HOT. Bring water, but you can buy from vendors walking along the route. Bring a hat or an umbrella for shade.
- The crowds are not bad (this coming from a New Yorker though).
Carnaval in Aruba was an amazing experience! I am glad I was able to experience it once in my lifetime. They put on a great show full of wonderful music and beautiful costumes. If you have the chance to experience, I suggest you give it a try!