Carnivales is a celebration filled with lots of partying and dancing and apparently very little sleep.  It occurs 4 days before Ash Wednesday every year and people come from far and wide to take part in the festivities.  This time of year is Panama’s summer where school is out and the weather is hot, hot, and hot.

The dates for Carnivales February 2013:

Fri 8 Sat 9 Sun 10 Mon 11 Tues 12 Wed 13 Thurs 14
Work day:

Considered “dead day” because people leave work early to travel to Las Tablas or other destinations for the holiday.


Some shops close early at 5pm and do not open until Wednesday after 1pm.




Some employees are required to work.  Sucks to be them!


The official holiday.

Ash Wednesday:

I believe some people go to church in the morning and return to work at 1pm.

St. Valentine’s Day:

The joke I was told is that some couples will break up before Carnivales, so the couples that make it to this day have gone through the test of time lol!

Most of the time there are celebrations leading into Carnivales and lasting up to the following weekend after Carnivales.   I was told by a local the history behind this celebration is to eat, drink and be merry before the 40-day fasting of ‘sins’ and meat begins.  Think of it as Toronto’s Caribana Parade but the difference is that everyone gets drenched in water! And with the heat you’ll be screaming for it “Agua! Agua!”  Another tradition is the crowning of the Queen and/or Princesses.  There are festivities that happen small and large in small towns and major cities such as Las Tablas (well renowned for the competition of Queens between the lower and higher streets), Bocas del Toro, Penonome and of course Panama city.

For more information please follow the link:


My roomates and I were in Penonome.  Word of advice, wear clothes you can get drenched in and comfortable shoes (not sandals) because the crowd is thick and your feet are bound to get trampled on!


Cell phone in a zip lock bag because you are guaranteed to get soaked!  And my roommate Jessica Chester, Centennial College student in the Youth Worker Program doing her placement and enjoying Carnivales!


Do you see the water hose?!


Notice all the companies that partake in the celebration as well?!


My $6 super soaker!

So if I ever come back to Panama, it’ll probably during carnivales!

Since I have to catch up with my blogging, you guys get a 2-for-1!


I met John Baird, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada at a small reception hosted by the Canadian Embassy while he was on tour visiting some Latin American countries.  Canadian companies in Panama were invited and there were a lot of older ladies and gents at this reception with lovely hors d’oeuvres and wine being served.  I wasn’t sure what to do at an event like this.  Mingle?  Talk to random people?  Network?  I ended up “hanging out” with people representing Canadian Colleges.  When the Minister of Foreign Affairs was announced, he made a brief speech about some agreements Canada is working on with a few Latin American countries and as an international business student, his speech was inspiring and humorous.  The minister then made his way around the room meeting everyone, shaking their hands, doing some small talk and even taking pictures.  We waited patiently for “our turn” as others swooped their way in at every opportunity, I think that was a networking technique or something lol.  When we were introduced to the minister by the Canadian ambassador, what I really wanted to say was “I’m gunning for your job sir!” but instead I said “Can we take a picture with you!” I guess I just needed the evidence lol.


In photo from left to right:

Lisandro De Leon – International Liason for Centenial College (Panama)

John Baird – Minister of Foreign Affairs

Soupy – Intern at Centenial College (Panama)

Thank you for tuning in…until next time…



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