Dominican Carnival In Puerto Plata.
The Dominican carnival started on Puerto Plata boulevard on February 2 and it will last until March 7. All along the large seawalls, one can watch every Sunday of Frebruary from 2:00 p.m- parades, Taimáscaros tribes, colorful costumes, and live performances.
Carnival Excursions on the North Coast of DR
If you are in Puerto Plata, you can also attend other carnivals in the country. La Vega carnival is the most popular one in the Dominican Republic happens in La Vega. Below are three ways to get there:
- Booking a tour: There are several tour companies to La Vega. Prices depend on the number of passengers and if you want VIP seats. They range from 35.00 USD to 55.00 USD.
- Driving to La Vega: It is easy to drive to La Vega. From Puerto Plata, take the Navarrete-Puerto Plata Highway, then in Santiago, this road connects to Joaquin Balaguer Highway, which becomes Duarte Highway once you leave Santiago. In case you want to continue to Santo Domingo, the same highway will take you there.
- Taking the local bus: We recommend you take the Caribe Tours bus, which will take you to La Vega City. Buses to La Vega from Puerto Plata Station are available from 6:00 a.m., departing every hour until 7:00 p.m. On the other hand, in La Vega Station, buses to Puerto Plata are available almost every hour, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The cost of the ticket is 200 RD pesos or 4.00 USD one way. When you arrive in La Vega, you can take an Uber or local Taxi to Las Palmas Park in the central area; the cost will be approximately 200.00 RD pesos or 4.00 USD.
If you are driving to La Vega or Santo Domingo, download our eBook “HOW TO RENT A CAR IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.” On the other hand, if you are taking the public bus, you can get useful tips from our previous eBook “GETTING AROUND ON THE NORTH COAST OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.”
On Sunday, February 16, there will be no carnival due to the municipal elections.
Other Major Events During February On the North Coast
The North Coast offers many attractions throughout the whole year, in addition to the friendliest locals in the country. The Dominican carnival is just one of the many activities to enjoy in this exciting destination. In February, water sports enthusiasts gather to attend the popular annual surfing competitions, Masters of the Ocean, in Cabarete.
Every year, the north coast also becomes the center of one of the most impressive acts of nature, the humpback whales. From January to March, people from all over the country and world come to Samaná Bay to experience this incredible activity.
In fact, you can visit the North Coast all year round. Its warm beaches combined with endless summers await you. But it is more than the sun and beach. You can find everything in Puerto Plata from nature, culture, history, people, affordable and relaxed lifestyle, and much more.
Top 5 Dominican Carnival Characters
It is helpful to be familiar with the main characters to have a better understanding of the carnival. In general, characters are a way of expressing the Dominican culture. We could say that the main character is the Diablo Cojuelo. Diablo means “devil”. Every city has its own main character. Below are the most popular carnival costumes and their backgrounds.
Los Diablos Cojuelos:
This character wears a colorful costume with small mirrors, rattles, ribbons, and cowbells, as a parody of the medieval Spanish knights. A mask with long horns covers the devil’s face while carrying a hard balloon in which he or she delivers a blow on the back of unsuspecting spectators. This character is a representation of African slavery on the island back in the colonization period.
Roba La Gallina:
Some people claim that this character originates from the Haitian occupation in DR (1822-44). During that time, people who were caught stealing hens were punished by dressing in feathers and forced to walk in public this way. “Roba La Gallina” literally translates “hen rubber.” This character is typically a man dressed as a woman. She goes around the streets with a colorful dress, exaggerated hips, and makeup. Roba la Gallina usually carries a wallet full of candy to throw to the spectators. The oversized purse symbolizes where the hen would be placed if it would have been stolen. It is one of the most colorful and popular characters in the Dominican carnival. She walks around dancing and singing.
Los Taimáscaros: Puerto Plata Carnival
This is a unique character that displays the rich Dominican culture. It is worthy of admiration because it honors the first inhabitants on the island – the Tainos, a culture that only remains in history today. The word “Taimascaros” does not have a Spanish translation. It is the combination of the word “Taino” and “Mascaro”. Since 1991, Los Taimascaros, is a mix of three cultural influences in their costume: A mask to represent the Taino gods; blouses and coats representing Spanish heritage; and handkerchiefs that symbolize African gods. The Taimáscaros is the main character from the Puerto Plata Carnival.
Los Lechones: Santiago Carnival
“Los Leachones” means “The piglets.” This character is a variation of the Diablos Cojuelos. The difference is that their mask represents the face of a pig (hence its name) adorned with a long snout and tall horns.
Also known as “Los Africanos” or “the Africans,” they are characters whose faces and bodies are painted black with coal and burned car oil. They represent oppressed Africans while dancing on the streets.
To sum it up, the Dominican carnival is an experience that you should not miss. Not only because it is fun and interesting, but it provides you an opportunity to interact with the best feature of the country – its people!
On behalf of Dream City, we hope you enjoy the Dominican Carnival season!