México is world-famous for its festivals, and in Yucatán, the Carnaval is one of the most anticipated celebrations of the year. If you love sun, sand, and sea breezes, Progreso’s Carnaval 2024 is an excellent choice for a fun experience.
In ‘Progro’, activities related to the Carnaval begin a week before the parades. The ceremony marking the start of the festivities is the famous “Quema del Mal Humor (burning of bad moods),” when a statue is set on fire to symbolize the arrival of joy. From that moment on, various celebrations take place, including the coronation of kings and queens and the presentation of festive floats.
One of Progreso’s largest Carnaval events is “Paseo Dominical” (the Sunday stroll), a parade filled with dance, music, and fun, famous for attracting a large crowd—last year, an estimated 400,000 people were in attendance! But the celebration is a whole week long, with plenty more parades, each with a special theme, such as “Paseo Regional” (Regional Stroll), or the “Paseo de la Batalla de las Flores” (Battle of the Flowers Stroll). Depending on the day, some parades happen in the afternoon, while others are at night.
But the Carnaval is not just about parades! The beauty of celebrating in the port lies in the multitude of activities waiting to be enjoyed. You can ride amusement park rides, eat shaved ice, participate in contests, swim in the sea… the list is endless. Alejandra Castilla, Director of Protocol, Logistics, and Administration of Boardwalks, suggests heading to the International Boardwalk area if you’re interested in family-friendly activities. If you prefer live music, stay near the Traditional Boardwalk.
Moreover, you really shouldn’t miss out on a stroll around the rest of the city, as you would miss complementary events held in the interior of Progreso. For example, at Casa de la Cultura, there is a Comparsas (Carnaval dance groups) exhibition, where members of schools and academies showcase their best moves to dazzle the audience. Additionally, in the lower levels of Progreso’s City Hall, Vaquerías and regional comedy shows are organized.
As you can see, the Carnaval is a gigantic show, impossible to experience in a single day. That’s why many visitors prefer to arrive and stay on the Thursday or Friday before “Paseo Dominical” and only leave on Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week. If you can’t find a place in any hotel in the port, you can look in nearby areas such as Chelem, Chuburná, and Chicxulub, which are not far from Progreso and usually have a quieter atmosphere.
If you don’t have the opportunity to take several days off for the Carnaval, it’s best to arrive one to three hours before the event you plan to attend, as many streets close, parking is hard to find, and spaces fill up quickly. Diane Villas, who has attended the Carnaval for five consecutive years, shared that her trick is to have lunch and dinner at restaurants or clubs with a view of the boardwalk. This way, you can enjoy the parades from a less crowded spot.
As with any large outdoor event, safety comes first. Wear sunscreen and light clothing, and don’t drink and drive. Herbert Pech, Councilor for Ecology and the Environment recommends identifying safety zones, as well as members of civil protection and the Red Cross, to know where to turn in case of any mishap.
Hopefully, all this information encourages you to attend the Carnaval de Progreso and have a safe, enjoyable time amid the waves of the Yucatecan coast. Keep a constant eye on the social media of the Carnaval Committee of Progreso for announcements, and check the profiles of the Progreso City Council and the Mayor of Progreso for traffic information and to stay updated with the latest news. Don’t forget to wear a costume!
2024 Carnaval de Progreso
February 1 – 17, 2024
FB: Comité Carnaval Progreso
We thank H. Ayuntamiento de Progreso for providing us with information about the Carnaval and Diane Villas of Árbol Creativo for sharing her experiences.
By Carlos Argüelles
Fashion designer and cultural agent. Lover of art, history, coffee, and Yucatecan gastronomy.
Photography by H. Ayuntamiento de Progreso and Árbol Creativo for its use in Yucatán Today.
Esta entrada también está disponible en: ES