taboga island blog

Carnival 2010


FIESTAS & SIESTAS during Carnival 2010 – February 13-17th
by Cynthia Cudmore-Mulder

Carnival 2010 promises to be another exciting event on enchanting Taboga Island. Carnival on Isla Taboga is safe and fun on this little island of beaches, quaint candy-colored homes and lush green hilltops. So close to Panama City you can see it, but so far away in terms of hustle and bustle.

SOME TABOGA BACKGROUND: Because of its excellent harbor, Isla Taboga was founded even before Panama City by the Spaniards, and prior to that there were numerous races represented on at least a transient basis: it was a favorite pirate port hosting such infamous pirates as Captains Morgan and Drake, and it is said that Asian and Pacific island fisherman would travel to Taboga after crossing the ocean in search of the big catch, or caught in a Pacific storm. Evidence of indigenous people can be found in several caves on the island. Its rich history gives it a depth and traditions that many communities don’t possess. Carnival, among several other holidays during the year is very important to this small island of less than 1000 people.

We were told, as Taboga is one of the oldest communities in the nation, that Taboga Island was the first place in Panama to host a Carnival.

Everyone who attends Taboga Island Carnival annually say it is one of the best in the country as it is safe, you can walk everywhere, and it is not too big nor too small. While there is no parade this year due to lack of funds to support it, there are discoteques in the park and parties to all hours on the streets. Fortunately Cerrito Tropical B&B Inn is located off the main area so it is not bothered much by the disco music or tipsy party goers.

BURY THE SARDINES! On the last day of Carnival at 5 am (yes, I wrote 5 am!) people will be on the beach in their pajamas concluding the carnival in the traditional fashion by “burying the sardines” after which everyone goes into the sea fully clothed. Later, between 8 – 9 am townspeople will crowd into the church to have a cross marked on their forehead and be forgiven for sins (among others, which may have occurred during Carnival while partying).

WATCH OUT FOR THE WATER! Don’t forget, in Panama during Carnival often there is a wet custom of throwing water at passerby
on the streets so bring some dry clothes.

MUSIC ON THE STREETS: There will often be a typical Panamanian folkloric band (a Murga) and that is always fun. A Murga has been compared to a Dixieland street band with followers… they
often compete against each other… groups from Calle Arriba y Calle Abajo…basically up town
and down town…with brass and drums; Murgas are often followed by a truck with water as
well, hosing the party-goers.

CARNIVAL ON THE WATER: There is a tradition of people taking their boats in a parade around
the island, always a cool way to spend some time and take a break from the street party!

Stay with us at Cerrito Tropical B&B Hotel this Carnival 2010 – or drop by for lunch; we are away from the crowd so you can enjoy the fiestas when you feel like it. A few vacancies are still available for Friday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. CALL TODAY! 6489-0074 or email:



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