Monday, 6 January 2020

Dive into Curacao Carnival - for a vacation you'll never forget!

Curacao Carnival is one of the largest and longest Carnival spectacles in the Caribbean
and one of the best times to visit this amazing island.

So if you’re looking for a unique, incredible and highly memorable Curacao dive vacation experience?


Check this one out.

Originally a Catholic rite to represent the Christian practice of “Carne Levale,” or giving up meat for Lent, Curacao continues the tradition now known as Carnival, with incredible masquerade parties and and huge, colourful, gigantic Parades ("marches").

Curacao Carnival is the Curacao's biggest party of the year and amazing to experience - and join in.

With fantastic parades, floats, costumes and characters, including Carnival "Royalty" elected during full-scale, island-wide beauty contests, impromptu street parties, dancin' and even more music than usual, it's a wonderful, incredible and unique opportunity to experience the passion of the islanders.

It’s HUGE.


And you're welcome.

You're welcome to join the tens of thousands of road-side spectators and be amazed by the impressive, energetic and amazing array of multi-colored floats and the lavish, intricate, hand-made costumes.

You're welcome to enjoy the music that plays such a huge part in daily Curacao life: "Tumba", which is, effectively, the “soundtrack” for Curacao Carnival.

And you're welcome to dance your flip-flops off to the complex rhythms of the live Tumba bands - or just watch, absorb and enjoy the whole massive, lavish and incredible Curacao Carnival experience.

Whether you're spectating or participating, it's just about impossible to prevent your feet from moving to the complex rhythms of the Carnival music. Originating in Africa and named after a 17th century Spanish dance, Tumba has evolved through influences including jazz, merengue and other Afro-Caribbean beats, to become Curacao's most popular dance and music style:

But participating in Curacao Carnival Parades doesn't come cheap.

Once Curacao Carnival season is officially "opened", islanders set about raising the necessary funds for their favourite Tumba bands to participate in the Grand Parade - by arranging parties!

While their favourite band plays at these "Jump Ups” (parties held outside, in, on and through the streets in mini-Parades of their own) and "Jump Ins" (parties held inside), friends, family and fans sell the band’s official t-shirts to the dancing crowds, to raise the funds.

If you happen upon any of these parties, you don’t need to ask: you are welcome. Make sure to buy a t-shirt or 3 now you know the cool reason behind them - and they make awesome souvenirs to illustrate your cool story of how and why you got them…

The Grand Parade (“Gran Marcha”) is the first of the two main Carnival Parades, on Sunday during the day.
The second is the Farewell March (“Marcha di Despedida"), the following Tuesday evening, with the floats adorned with sparkling lights.

The dramatic Carnival finale takes place at midnight when King Momo and all that he symbolizes is banished...

(Until Carnival 2020, that is.)

Both the 2 main Parades - and the various others in between, including the hugely popular Kids Parade - are the product of months of incredible amounts of work and preparation, featuring fantastical floats, lavish costumes and head-dresses, as well as traditional Carnival “characters”. 

The Carnival Queen is the most important Carnival character. Representing Mother Earth, she’s a symbol of fertility and peace, elected through a series of full-scale, island-wide beauty contests. 

The Carnival King (Momo) is a symbol of the exact opposite: infertility, sins and bad luck. Momo is a straw–filled dummy - which is fortunate, given that he’s center-stage at the dramatic and spectacular ritual that marks the official close of Carnival at the Farewell March…

The trick to getting a great viewing spot along the Carnival route for the Grand Parade is to get there early. Islanders set up their prime, road-side seating days, weeks and sometimes months in advance, to reserve their favourite spots.

But the best way to experience Curacao Carnival isn’t to sit and watch it pass by.

The best way to experience Curacao Carnival is to hang out in and on the streets, mingling and dancing with and like the locals (who forgot to reserve their favourite spots in time).

And if you are invited to join the Parade? Do it. It’s fun, safe, friendly – and the experience of a lifetime.

The Curacao Carnival route effectively splits the island in two. And with thousands of spectators as well as the floats and participants, it can be pretty tricky crossing the route to head West or East, as you can maybe imagine.

So if you're planning on diving Curacao during Carnival, you may want to prepare for random “delays” or “alternative routes” - and keep a cooler of cold beer and your phone handy.

And if you're diving with us at The Dive Bus, we plan our dive schedule around the Parade routes / days ... and carry cold beer just in case the plan doesn't quite go according to, erm, plan.

(If you’re going to be be here on a Dive Bus DIVE + DRIVE Package, ask to rent one of our coolers...🍺🍺😉.)

With all of the above, plus the Curacao kids and teens Carnival festivities running alongside, the Tumba Festival and awesome diving,
you may need another vacation to recover from your Curacao Carnival Dive experience.

Or an additional week. (Don't say we didn't warn you!)


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