Carnaval de ponce puerto rico: Ponce Carnival or Carnaval Ponceño 2023- Feb 16-Feb 21

Ponce Carnival 2023 | New York Latin Culture Magazine

El Carnaval de Ponce or Carnaval Ponceño (Ponce Carnival) is Puerto Rico’s big traditional carnival. Ponce is Puerto Rico’s big southern city, so it is less Americanized than the capital San Juan.

Vejigante is Puerto Rico’s most beloved carnival character. There are two kinds of Vejigante mask. The papier-mâché style is from Ponce.

Ponce Carnival 2023

Ojalá (hopefully), Ponce Carnival returns in all its glory to Ponce, Puerto Rico, Thu, Feb 18 – 21, 2023.

Ponce Carnival 2022

Ponce Carnival is confirmed for Sat-Tue, Feb 26 – Mar 1. 🇵🇷

Carnival and fiestas patronales (patron saint festivals) in Puerto Rico always involve various barrios (neighborhoods) around town. It might be a legacy of the Puerto Rican Parranda tradition where holiday celebrations build from house to house all night long. Anyway, Puerto Rican festivals travel all over town.

The Parque de Bombas (the old firehouse) at Plaza las Delicias in the city center is one of the starting points. There will probably be activities in Barrio San Anton near the famous old Ceiba of Ponce. It’s an African Diaspora community, a center of Bomba and Plena culture, that has produced many famous Puerto Rican musicians.

The festival ends with the big party on Carnival Tuesday (Martes de Carnaval) at Placita 65 de Infanteria on Tue, Mar 1.

Ponce Carnival 2021

All 2021 Carnivals are in cancelled because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Some may go virtual. Normally Ponce Carnival runs for the entire week before Ash Wednesday. Based on last year’s plan, Ponce Carnival would be Sunday, February 14, 2021. However, Puerto Rico is under COVID quarantine, so we cannot gather.

Be good (mask, distance, wash) and hopefully we can gather in 2022.

Ponce Carnival 2020 Schedule

Ponce Carnival is in Ponce, Puerto Rico for just one day this year on Sunday, February 23, 2020.

The party beings with the Dance of the Masks (Baile de las Máscaras) in front of Teatro La Perla at 11am.

At 12 noon the Centennial Municipal Band (Centenaria Banda Municipal) will play a concert at Parque del Quinto Centenario.

The Carnival Parade starts from Centro del Sur Mall from 1pm to 6pm.

The Burial of the Sardine and the Burning of Júa are at 7pm. Pirulo y la Tribu play salsa for dancing into the night.

The festival’s Grand Marshal is Gilberto Limardo, community leader of Playa de Ponce. The Juvenile Carnival Queen is Kayra Figueroa de Jesus. The Child Carnival Queen is Allyson Soley Sánchez Pérez.

Ponce Vejigantes

Vejigantes are the iconic Puerto Rican carnival character. They are the Puerto Rican version of the devil-hero clowns of Caribbean Carnival.

There are two kinds of vejigantes. In the southern coastal city of Ponce, the outlandish masks are made from paper maché and show a more Spanish influence.

In the northern coastal town of Loiza, the masks are made from coconut husks, and show a more African influence.

The name “Vejigante” is a reference to vejiga bladders, which are sort of balloons, used to threaten celebrants and especially children. In 2019, we haven’t seen any vejiga bladders used in Puerto Rico. We have seen them used in New York City by the Dominican Carnival character Diablo Cojuelo.

Worried about Earthquakes? Don’t Be!

The event usually runs all weekend, but is shortened this year because of the earthquakes in the ocean nearby that peaked over a month ago on January 7, 2020. The news makes it seem like all of Puerto Rico was damaged, but only a few counties near Ponce suffered serious damage.

We can’t speak for Mother Nature, but earthquakes usually come as one big one with many small aftershocks that don’t do any damage, but still scare people. The big one already happened. Don’t be afraid. The best thing we can do is go to Ponce and spend money there enjoying Carnival.

[NOTE: We have spent time in Ponce since the earthquakes. It’s quiet now, very quiet. Many old buildings were damaged, but otherwise Ponce is fine. It’s beautiful. Artists should consider opening studios there.]

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Content of this article

What is the Carnival of Ponce?

Ponce Carnival or Ponceño Carnival is a 5-day celebration that has been held every year for more than a century. Today it constitutes one of the oldest and most important carnivals in the country. The carnivals feature a large repertoire of activities, including the coronation of the Carnival Queen, the Grand Parade, artistic presentations and the corresponding Burial of the Sardine. .

Also, the carnival has the particularity of maintaining in its traditions the characters called “Vejigantes”. These characters are characterized by wearing masks somewhat grotesque with open jaw, exposed teeth and horns from his face and head. In addition, they carry pigtails and inflated bladders, painted in colors with which they annoy people. These charactersrepresent good over evil.



Ponce Carnival is considered “the carnival of Puerto Rico” and attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year with its name. In addition, the Carnival is a great contribution to the city’s economy, with around US$500,000 per season.

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The Ponce Carnival in Puerto Rico is distinguished by the presence of the Vejigantes with colorful masks and horns



When is the Ponce Carnival[/h3>?

The Ponce Carnival will take place from approximately February 10 to 16.



History of the Ponce Carnivals

It is believed that the Ponce carnival has influences from the Nice carnival, when the tradition was carried through Spanish immigrants who arrived in Ponce..

At present, there is no specific date as to when the carnivals in Ponce began to be celebrated, however, they are first mentioned in 1858. In that year a mask dance was held, carried out by José de la Guardia. The dances were perpetuated as a tradition until the mid-20th century, when other traditional elements were added to the festivities. In the 1960s, carros alegóricos, which were performed by the different sectors of society, including the educational, private and public sectors, began to be integrated.

In 1995 different artists took to New York the different elements of thePonce carnival to the Puerto Rican Day Parade, where they also participated in mask making and exhibitions.


Where is the Ponce Carnival

The Ponce carnivals are held in the Autonomous Municipality of Ponce, Puerto Rico..


The vejigante is one of the main characters of the Ponce carnival



How the Ponce Carnival is celebrated



The Ponce Carnival or Carnaval de Ponce is a celebration full of color, music and cultural manifestations. Year after year, thousands of tourists come to the town to be part of one of the most emblematic carnivals in the country. Its colorful and mysterious characters, the Carnival Queens and the cultural performances are undoubtedly the most festive elements of the carnivals. However, there are a number of lively refrains that stand out during the carnival season that have characterized this celebration for several decades.


As people pass through the streets they are heard chanting the following refrains:

“Vejigante a la bolla, pan y cebolla.”

“Toco toco toco toco, Vejigante come coco”.

“Prucuta prucuta y bueno que’tá”

“Esa vieja e’ bruja, bruja es y tiene los ojos color cafe”

“Vejigante ate mango and even his nails were lambió”

“The Vejigante is painted in yellow and corolla”.


Tips for going to the Ponce Carnivals

If you want to attend the Ponce carnivals, be sure to plan your trip in advance, make a travel itinerary and book your lodging with some time to spare.

Also, we recommend you bring a raincoat or umbrella, as there is a chance of precipitation.

If you want to know more about tourism in this country, I recommend this guide:



Events in Ponce Carnival

The first day of the celebration is the entrada del Rey Momo. During the day, cultural activities and musical presentations take place. Also, the farewell parade of queens and the entrance of the King Momo take place.

The following day, thecrowning of the Children’s Carnival Queen and the crowning of the Carnival Queen take place. During the day some parades are held with the presence of bands, musical presentations, dances and presentation of flags.



The following day takes place the Grand Carnival Parade with the presence of the Carnival Queens, the comparsas with their carrozas and the bandas musicales. The dancers take to the streets of the city to perform their choreographies. The Vejigantes also make an appearance with their inflated and painted vejigas.

Finally, theBurial of the Sardine takes place, bringing the carnivals to an end.


Los vejigantes se encuentran en el carnaval de Ponce haciendo alboroto y festejando


Ponce Carnival Parades

The carnival parade takes place on the last day. The streets are filled with people who want to witness the arrival of the floats and comparsas.

From afar you can see the dancers with theircolorful and bright costumes, performing choreographies andenjoying the festivities. Also seen is the presence of the Vejigantes, who with their inflated and painted bladders make a ruckus and slap the people. The streets of the city are filled with music with the bands, prolonging the celebration for several hours.


Parade route


In the carnivals of Ponce there is a parade where you can see the Vejigantes. The parade starts at Centro del Sur and ends at Plaza de las Delicias



Normally, the parade starts at Centro del Sur and ends at Plaza de Las Delicias.


Mofongo is a typical dish of Ponce


What to eat at the Ponce Carnival

One of the foods you can try during the carnivals of Ponce is the Mofongo, a dish that is made with fried green plantains, seasoned with salt, garlic and onion. You can also try the sancocho, a meat, vegetable and corn broth.

In addition, the city of Ponce offers you some alternatives to eat out. Some of these are: Lola, El Negocio de Panchi and La Casa Del Chef.


El sancocho es tradicional de Ponce y de Puerto Rico


Travel Insurance


From we recommend to hire a good insurance to visit this carnival and to know the rest of the country. For being our readers we offer a 5% discount on all IATI insurances. Read more information about all insurance offers here:



What to see and do inside the Ponce Carnival

Within the Carnival you can attend the entrance and parade of King Momo which is accompanied by some cultural performances, music and dancing. Likewise, you can alsoattend the crowning of the Carnival Queens with their respective parade.

In addition, you cannot miss the Grand Parade with the presence of the carrozas, comparsas, dancers, cultural presentations and Vejigantes. Finally, you cannot miss the Burial of the Sardine, the culmination ceremony of the festivities.

During the festivities there aremusical presentations and traditional dances in which you can also attend.

If you don’t want to complicate things, you can book interesting excursions in Spanish in this city here:.


What to see and do outside of the Ponce Carnivals

The city offers you some tourist attractions such as:


Parque de Bombas

It is a historical monument where you can find articles and historical pieces of the city.


Ponce Art Museum

It is a museum that was inaugurated in 1965. Within its facilities are thousands of pieces in the different galleries, which are composed of paintings from regions such as Spain, France and England.


Caja de Muertos

(Box of the Dead).
It is an island located a few kilometers from Ponce. It is currently uninhabited and is listed as a nature reserve.

Also if you want to visit museums and important buildings in this city we recommend that you book your entrance ticket in advance through Tiquets: .


Safety at the Ponce Carnival



The city of Ponce is relatively safe. We recommend you implement basic preventive measures that you would use in your hometown. Also, we recommend the following products to store your items safely:



Weather at the Ponce Carnival

The weather is pleasant during the celebration of Carnival in the city of Ponce, with temperatures ranging from 21 to 29 degrees Celsius. However, there is some possibility of precipitation.


Ponce’s carnival parades are comprised of colorful costumes and attire


How to get to the Ponce Carnival


How to get there by plane

The closest airport to Ponce is the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, the main air gateway to Puerto Rico. From here you can use different means of transportation to get to the city of Ponce.

We recommend buying airline tickets through or Skyscanner where they are usually cheaper. More information on this link to review


How to get there by car

From the airport you can take the PR-52 Highway to Ponce. The drive is 1 hour and a half.


Where to stay in Ponce Carnival



Boutique Hotel Belgium

3-star hotel 250 meters from the center. Rooms have satellite TV and private bathrooms. The hotel offers parking and free wifi.


Ponce Plaza Hotel & Casino

4-star hotel 150 meters from the city center. Rooms have television and private bathrooms. Facilities include laundry service, swimming pool, bar, parking and free wifi.


Hotel Melia Ponce

3-star hotel 250 from the city center. Rooms have air conditioning, cable TV and private bathrooms. The hotel offers 2 swimming pool, bar, parking and free wifi.

We recommend you use to book hotels at a good price, check more information here:.


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Carnival and fun in Puerto Rico


9000 is an annual celebration held in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The celebration lasts one week and ends the day before Ash Wednesday. Thus, it is usually held in February and sometimes in March. It is one of the oldest carnivals in the Western Hemisphere and has been running since 1858. Some authorities, such as the Smithsonian Institution, believe that the Ponce Carnival can be traced back as far as 250 years. Carnival coincides with Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnival in Venice and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Estimated attendance is 100,000 people.

One of the carnival traditions is the appearance of «vejigantes», a colorful costume traditionally representing the devil or evil. The Vejigants carry inflated cow bladders, with which they make sounds and beat the participants of the carnival throughout the procession.

The traditional Ponce Carnival vegigante masks are made of papier-mâché and feature multiple horns. The mask was designed by the masters of Ponce in the early 20th century. They are made from newsprint mixed with homemade glue and paint. The ornate Ponce carnival masks are sought after by mask collectors, and Ponce masks have become a symbol of Puerto Rico as a whole.

The carnival ends with the burial of the sardine, after which everyone sings a song in Spanish, which translates as: The event of the burial of the sardine began in 1967.

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Ponce is a city with amazing and incredibly interesting traditions, acquaintance with which should become an obligatory part of the holiday. One of the most interesting traditions that the locals observe from year to year is the carnival, which has a history of more than 250 years. This carnival is considered one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere, it starts a week before the start of Lent. Most Ponce residents are Catholics, so for them the observance of Lent is an important part of the culture.

Ponce is not distinguished by a variety of large shopping centers and outlets, but shoppers will not be left without interesting purchases. Travelers should pay special attention to the original … Open

During the six days before the start of the fast, locals have fun and enjoy their favorite food. Colorful costumed processions are an obligatory part of the carnival. It is believed that one of the founders of the annual carnival was the Spaniard José de la Guardia. The wealthy colonialist was one of the first to arrange a fancy-dress masquerade ball. The locals liked the idea of ​​holding it so much that it turned into a large-scale and colorful celebration.

For the holiday, locals make bright papier-mâché masks; such masks look quite intimidating. They are called «vejigante», the locals borrowed the image for creating such masks from local mythology. The program of the traditional carnival in Ponce is very intense and is considered one of the most interesting in the country. It includes performances by folk groups and musicians, special entertainment for children, as well as numerous gastronomic programs. Visiting the city during the carnival period will be interesting not only for fans of noisy street festivities, but also for gourmets, because it is during this period that you can taste the most popular dishes of regional cuisine. Copyright

The second largest city in the country, it was founded in the middle of the 17th century. Ponce has been declared a «national treasure» as it contains priceless historical and cultural … Open

The complete opposite of the noisy carnival is the Christmas holidays. For the locals, Christmas is considered a typical home holiday. Only in some city churches, official ceremonies can be held on the occasion of the holiday, but they do not arrange any street festivities during the Christmas holidays. It is customary to celebrate one of the main religious holidays in the family circle. On Christmas Day, a rich table with traditional dishes is necessarily set.

One of the most colorful holidays celebrated in Ponce throughout the year is the Festival de Bomba y Plena. This festival is dedicated to playing one of the main national instruments — the drum. It is attended by musicians and folklore groups from all over the state. Absolutely everyone can take part in some entertainment programs. One of the main events is the performances of drummers, which are arranged right on the city streets and squares. They can be accompanied by performances of dancers and street performers; absolutely everyone can watch such performances. As part of the festival, a lot of interesting competitions are held, and the holiday is always accompanied by folk art fairs and gastronomic entertainment.

Puerto Rico’s port city of Ponce is definitely a good vacation option. And you should certainly visit it together with the whole family – each member of it will appreciate the rest … Open

The people of Ponce have a friendly and cheerful nature, they are very good-natured to foreign visitors who are interested in the traditions and history of their hometown. To show your respect for the locals, you should definitely learn a few simple phrases in their native language, such a gesture will certainly be appreciated by them. Despite the fact that local residents pay great attention to the observance of historical and religious traditions, they are not indifferent to modern culture.

During the summer, the city often hosts festivals of contemporary music, as well as holidays dedicated to youth culture. Be sure to note the love of local residents for baseball, this sport is one of the most popular here. When the next championship starts, all local bars and restaurants are filled with sports fans who want to watch the match of their favorite team on the big screen.

Puerto Rican cuisine is very distinctive and never ceases to attract the attention of gourmets from all over the world. The tradition of cooking some dishes has been preserved for hundreds of years, but … Open

Distinguishes local residents and love for nature, it is no coincidence that they consider the image of a rare frog Eleutherdactylus coqui to be one of their main national symbols. Her image flaunts on many national souvenirs, and in souvenir shops you can find beautiful crafts depicting exotic flowers and fruits. Many tourists note that modern Ponce is characterized by a traditional American lifestyle. At the same time, the city has not lost its national charm, historically established traditions and customs are manifested literally in everything.

This guide to traditions and festivals in Ponce is protected by the copyright law. Full reprinting is permitted only if the source is indicated with a direct link to

Ponce — guide chapters

National traditions of Puerto Rico

While Puerto Rico is a welcoming and friendly place, it’s important to remember that the country’s crime rate is high, especially in the big cities. Tourists should try to blend in with the locals so as not to attract the attention of potential robbers, scammers or kidnappers. It is a good idea not to go out after sunset, but to move around in the company of friends during the day. Walking alone should stay in crowded places.

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