Carnaval in Ecuador feels a bit like if Spring Break had a baby with Halloween. There is a lot of children running around with squirt guns and throwing water balloons and eggs at you, lots of cans of colored foam getting sprayed in your hair, and parties all day and all night. This seems pretty standard for party holidays, like New Years of Saint Patrick’s Day, but what I find so interesting is this one it is government recognized. Everyone has the whole first half of the week off. If only the States would give people a four day weekend to have as much fun as possible right before Lent.
Obviously I had to go back to the coast for Carnaval and was surprised by Sarah and Melissa, two amazing friends of mine from the CELTA course, who came in from Loja for the weekend. Apparently I’m not the only one who can’t stay away. We stayed mostly in Manglaralto since Montañita went from being that slightly crazy but fun hippy that you know who maybe drinks a bit too much, to a slightly scary manic guy that you don’t want to know who has a substance abuse problem. Luckily, all our Ecuadorian friends had the exact same feelings about it that we did, and we all decided to party it up together at “Iguana Mar”, our friend Fabien’s cabaña bar, without venturing into Babilonia.
The day started with a local surf competition. As soon as the tide came in the conditions peaked, all the chatos got on the waves and to show their stuff. ‘Mind’, a local clothing brand started up my a couple friends of our sponsored the event, and the beer started flowing as we cheered our friends on. As the sun started to the set, the winners were announced and the Carnaval celebrations began in full. The air was filled with so much foam and beer being sprayed, that it felt like it was snowing. The music and the dancing pumped up, and the mojitos and caiperiñas were passed around didn’t stop until the sun came up. Oh yes, that was just day one, did I mention that Caraval is a 4 day holiday?
Original published March 9, 2011, on tumblr as “Carnaval”.