So what's it like to go to the Fat Tuesday parade? Is it family-friendly event, or a wild, drunken adventure? Or maybe it's a little of both?
If you've never experienced a Carnaval event, most people will say they differ from each other on the....wildness scale. Cozumel Mexico is a strongly catholic country, so if you're expecting the drunken debauchery that is New Orleans, you may be disappointed. That bag of beads you dragged down will likely be handed out to small children rather than ladies with ongoing "wardrobe malfunctions". However if you're just generally looking for some fun watching dancers, elaborate costumes, sparkling floats and jamming along to music as each of them pass - Cozumel's Carnaval is for you.
There are multiple events leading up to the big week, including the voting for the King and Queen in each category. There are usually several live concerts, held after the voting events and some, in the park in front of the Palacio or on stages set up along Melgar.
Here are a few tips to make the most of your Cozumel Carnaval experience:
- "Like" Carnaval Cozumel pages on FB. To follow the event schedules and info shared on them.
- If you go to any of the Pre-Carnaval events at Moby Dick event center, consider bringing ear-plugs. Anyone that lives here can attest to the volume used at these events.
- The parade route is fairly long, if you don't want to be out late with kids, choose a viewing point close to the Palacio as the route begins near there.
- For a great view without the crowds, consider booking a spot at a restaurant on the malecon with an upstairs balcony. Keep in mind, these spots will cost more and they are limited - so book early and be sure to confirm with the business as the date approaches. Hotels with balconies above the street are also popular for those who enjoy the party. So if that's you, make inquiries and a booking early.
- Several businesses offer special seating in front of their establishments during the parades or Fat Tuesday. Keep in mind the sidewalks become fairly jammed with people and the fact you're sitting there will not matter to them, so you may want to specifically inquire about reserving a spot closer to the building, to avoid being bumped or crowded.
- Carnaval can be an all-night affair. You may be done celebrating and ready to sleep by midnight - but the throngs of people wandering, drinking and listening to live bands set up along the malecon...? Well they might be just heading to bed, when you're already getting up. If you're an early riser, early morning diver, or just like your sleep - keep this in mind when booking your accomodations and consider looking further in town for that week, especially Fat Tuesday.
- If you're looking for the party on Fat Tuesday, after the parade finishes, stages get set up at various points along the malecon and the road stays closed off. So you can spend hours walking, drinking and enjoying the music.
- There are very few public bathrooms around the parade route, so if you have young children or a teeny bladder, you may want to scope out bathroom locations for them (or yourself) - before the parade day.
FB Carnaval pages to check out:
Carnaval de isla Cozumel 2020
If you want a real peek at a Carnaval parade night, check out this great video by local photographer/videographer Abraham Elizalde!