This spring, consider the Dominican Republic (DR) among your top destinations to head to for Carnival. Drawing more than 100,000 during Carnival season throughout February and early March, this Caribbean hot spot celebrates with costumes, elaborate masks and parades at festivals all over the country.
Expect to choose from the country's many hubs, including Puerto Plata, Rio San Juan, Constanza and Montecristi, as well as Samana, Higuey, La Romana and Santo Domingo. Floats, dance groups, chants and crowd-interaction feature prominently. Among the mirrors, rattles, ribbons and bells decorating the cities' kaleidoscope of costumes, keep an eye out for one of the most distinguished costumes in "El diablo cojuela," a devil. We hear Santiago and La Vega host the largest celebrations in the country and are known for some of the season's most intricate masks. Get a first-hand glimpse at Santiago's mask-making competition between local artisans. Alternately, decide upon La Vega's popular carnival or social carnival, designed to receive the thousands converging on the city.
"Dominican carnival is an ideal festival, unlike any other, because it embodies our deep sense of hospitality and graciousness, as well as passion for design, love of the arts and zest for life ingrained in all that we do in the DR," said the Ministry of Tourism's Vice Minister of International Promotion, Magaly Toribio. "During Dominican carnival season festivals, history, art, music and culture combine to vibrantly express Dominican spontaneity and creativity with enchanting and outrageous costumes, dances and masks."