Carnival in Aruba

Aruba Carnival

Planning to travel to Aruba to attend the biggest event and celebration of the year? Aruba’s famous Carnival will not dissappoint! Most Carnival parades and celebrations take place in February (depending on the year) with the biggest parades ending the Carnival season always falling in the weekend prior to Ash Wednesday.

Listed are some must-see events during Carnival in Aruba.

Lighting Parade

Aruba Carnival

The Lighting Parade in Oranjestad is a twinkling nighttime extravaganza. Tiny lights sewn into costumes create a magical effect as marchers make their way along the Aruba carnival parade route. Best place to watch is in front of Café Chaos on the LG Smith Boulevard, as you’ll have the convenience of a bar and restrooms close-by and can enjoy the great ambiance there. Other suggestions are Vondellaan or the Talk of the Town area of LG Smith Blvd. Note: Oranjestad basically closes down for the parade, so make sure to go downtown early to find parking space, or (better) take a taxi. The Lighting Parade always takes place on a Saturday night between 10 PM - 2 AM. A second lighting parade takes place in San Nicolas, usually a week after the parade in Oranjestad.

Grand Carnival Parade San Nicolas

The Grand Carnival Parade in Aruba's second capital San Nicolas is truly a joy to watch and experience. Bring an ice jug and folded chairs (available at the Front Desk) and make it a day filled with live entertainment as thousands of colorfully dressed marchers pass you by. The san Nicolas Carnival Parade takes place on Saturday in the last weekend prior to Ash Wednesday.

Those who really want to dive into the local Carnival scene can join Jouvert Morning, a combination pajama party and jump-up, beginning at 3:30 AM and lasting until dawn. Usually the Jouvert Morning takes place on  Friday night leading up to the big (final) Carnival weekend in Aruba.

The Grand Carnival Parade in Oranjestad

The Grand Carnival Parade in Oranjestad takes place on the Sunday following the Grand Parade in San Nicolas, making for an exhausting but exhilarating weekend. This is the largest and longest of all the Aruba Carnival parades with the most spectators and participants. See ‘Lighting Parade’ for route and tips where to watch. Get there early as the city will be jam packed and roads are closed off. The Parade usually starts at 11 AM and lasts until 5 PM, depending on the amount of groups and pace of the parade.