Carnival blurs through the streets of Willemstad during the closing night parade (Nathan Borchelt)

As with other Caribbean Carnival festivals, this one is a multi-day event that typically culminates on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. There's always an opening parade (with locals claiming prime viewing spots the night before), a special children's parade, and a parade to mark the end of the Carnival. The locals go all out, with groups executing year-long plans when it comes to their costumes and floats.

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Review of Carnival

Travel Review of Carnival

Away Travel Editor: Nathan Borchelt
editor favorite Editor Favorite
Editor Rating 5.0 out of 5
Editor Tips & Helpful Hints
  • Unlike some of the other Caribbean Carnival celebrations, this one is very convivial and while unilaterally wholesome, is fairly family-friendly. Expect dancing, mind-blowing costumes, and doses of public intoxication (especially during the night parade).
  • Carnival consumes Curacao, especially in Willemstad, the capital. Expect most stores to be closed, and traffic to be at a near-standstill during the parades. So, either join in, or head out and hit some of the other tourist attractions, which will likely have less people in attendance.
  • For the best photos, find a spot on the parade route (on the street, not the stands). Locals start coming out early, but it's relatively easy to find a good spot. And you can (mostly) hop around the barrier and get the revelers to strike a pose. Just hop back back if you see police.

Netherlands Antilles
Parking: Annually each February

Visitor Information

Neighborhood: Downtown region
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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