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Aruba's 64th Carnival Celebration

The biggest party of the year in Aruba: Carnaval!

Carnaval has been celebrated every year since the beginning of the 20th century in Aruba.

You probably know what Carnaval is, but I can assure you it’s so much more! The parades and beautiful costumes are just a part of it. It’s a sequence of all kinds of festive activities in which we locals dance into the new year. The first-ever Carnaval parade took place in San Nicolas, initiated by immigrants from Trinidad and other British islands in the Caribbean. Nowadays, it’s something the whole island looks forward to starting in November of every year. In this blog, I’ll share some Carnaval tips so you can get the most out of the party season while visiting the One Happy Carnaval Island!

Pictures of Aruba's 66 Grand Parade in San Nicolas.

Carnaval activities

The best way to keep track of all the Carnaval activities is to check out our Calendar of Events on Carnaval starts with the “torch parade,” which brings the “spirit” of Carnaval to life. It’s held on the first Saturday after New Year’s day. The days following the torch parade are filled with different activities, such as the Carnaval queen elections and musical events. The Carnaval queens, from different age groups, are then featured in the upcoming parades in Noord, Oranjestad, and San Nicolas. If you happen to be in Aruba during the Carnaval season, you must experience the parades firsthand. The Carnaval parades are nothing without the thousands of spectators, after all. I’ll list out the most notable ones below!

Children’s parade in Noord

As a kid, this was my favorite! My grandma’s house was located on the parade route, and my entire family would meet up there to watch it together. My cousins and I would wear any costume that was popular at the moment. Picture me in a pink Power Ranger costume. Yeah, I’m old. This parade is the perfect introduction to Carnaval. It’s not too long; people are pretty mellow since most are preparing for the lighting parade that same night, and you get to see cute kids in cute costumes.

Pictures of Aruba's 66th Carnival celebration by Wings Global Media

Lighting parade in Oranjestad

This parade is during the nighttime and is my second favorite of them all. Not only because the temperature is cooler at night (and I hate sweating) but because the lights are really a unique sight. Participants decorate their costumes with little string lights and dance the night away. Groups go all out with their floats, and they become these magically lit works of art. Remember that if you are an early bird, opt to stand on Vondellaan because the parade won't pass by completely until about 2 a.m. on L. G. Smith Boulevard.

Pictures of Aruba's 66th Carnival celebration by Wings Global Media

Grand parades in Oranjestad and San Nicolas

The name says it all: GRAND! It’s the main Carnaval event, and it’s what spectators and participants look forward to the most. Get ready to see the most beautiful costumes, colorful feathers, and happy people. I challenge you to find an unhappy-looking person during the parade! It’s really a whole community coming together and celebrating life. Both drunk and sober. Make sure you secure your spot on time, as it will get very crowded very quickly!

Pictures of Aruba's 66 Grand Parade in San Nicolas.

Carnaval Tips

For the daytime parades, make sure you wear sunscreen and pack cold beverages! Please Contact us for more information.

Please don’t forget!

  • Wear sunscreen and re-apply every 2 hours!
  • Bring lots of water
  • Bring snacks! You’ll be there for hours
  • Bring a cooler to keep your beverages cold
  • Earplugs, especially for kids!
  • Hat and sunglasses


Carnaval, Party, Colors, Parades, Beautiful costumes, Drinking, Lighting Parade, Children's Parade, Happy people, Feathers

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