Carnaval ready to roll in Merida, Cancun and elsewhere in Peninsula

Nearly one million spectators and participants are expected for 2016 Carnaval in Merida. (PHOTO:

It’s almost time for Carnaval, and musicians, dancers, drummers and floats are ready to roll in Merida, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and other cities and towns in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Merida’s colorful pre-Lenten blowout, set to unfold over several days starting Wednesday Feb. 3, is expected to attract more than 900,000 participants and spectators to the Plaza Carnaval, on the state fairgrounds in Xmatcuil in the city’s southern suburbs.

More than 70 troops of dancers and drummers will march in parades, 18 more than last year. The spectacle will also include 17 floats and several giant hot-air balloons, Mayor Mauricio Vila Dosal announced.

Nearly one million people are expected to pass through Plaza Carnaval, where this year for the first time there will be free bleachers for spectators. Spectators can arrive on three free bus routes covering the East, West and Center of the Yucatecan capital.

Nearly one million spectators and participants are expected for 2016 Carnaval in Merida. (PHOTO:
Nearly one million spectators and participants are expected for 2016 Carnaval in Merida. (PHOTO:

It addition, there will be a line of “pink” buses exclusively for women and children, and the City will transport people with disabilities who will leave from the parking lot of City Hall. A thousand police officers will maintain order at Plaza Carnaval.

While the celebration will formally open on Friday, Feb. 5, with the Corso parade, partiers are already gathering for pre-events like the coronation of kings and queens 8 p.m. Friday Jan. 29 at the Carta Clara Entertainment Center,  which will feature the performances of musical groups Banda Limon and Calibre 50.

The traditional “Burning of Bad Humor” will be presented at the same location on Wednesday Feb. 3, with concerts by Margarita The Goddess of Cumbia, and Rayito Colombiano. More concerts, including performances by Gloria Trevi and Gente de Zona, will take place before celebrations conclude Tuesday Feb. 9, the day before Ash Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Cancun is also gearing up its program of celebrations in Carnaval City. Cancun will unleash its spectacle Feb. 5 to 9 in Region 228, for the third year.

Cancun Carnaval attendees can enjoy the performances of the dancer-drummer groups and elected kings and queens, besides costume contests and a parade of floats. The event is open to the general public.

Many other cities and towns across the Peninsula will stage their own Carnaval celebrations. Consult local tourism offices and city government websites for more information.

By Robert Adams for TYT