Mysteries of the Seas: Carnaval in La Paz
For a six-day stretch each winter, the quiet waterfront town of La Paz, Mexico, becomes a lively hub of festivities. This year’s Carnaval occurred February 7-12, 2013 and the theme was “Mysteries of the Seas.”
The Malecón, or main waterfront street, is lined with vendors, music thumps from oversized speakers, and people mill about enjoying the jovial atmosphere complete with street parties, costumes, parades, games, and local fare.
This is Carnaval – literally meaning the end of ‘carne,’ or meat, for Lent, taking place in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. Established in Europe in the Middle Ages, Carnaval was brought to Mexico by the Spanish and celebrated in a variety of forms during the colonial period. Today, Carnaval is still celebrated by many communities in Mexico, with the La Paz festivities being one of the larger celebrations. People from all over Mexico visit La Paz during this time to take part in the annual event.
The La Paz waterfront set up for Carnaval
As the Safari Endeavour drops lines from the dock in La Paz and heads into the Sea of Cortés, the thumping music fades, the brightness of the stars overhead intensifies, and we ponder what mysteries of the sea we’ll encounter in a place that never ceases to amaze us.