Experience the Ecstatic Colors and Joy of Carnaval in Ecuador!

Carnaval, also known as “Carnival,” is a festive season celebrated around the world, and Ecuador is no exception. In Ecuador, Carnaval is a time when people come together to celebrate with music, dance, parades, and more.

Join in the celebrations and immerse in this joyous time with the locals! With our guide to Carnaval in Ecuador, you’ll get all the information you need to make your guests’ experience unforgettable.

When is Carnaval in Ecuador?

Carnaval in Ecuador is celebrated during the days leading up to Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent in the Christian calendar. The dates for Carnaval in Ecuador can vary each year, but it usually falls between late February and early March.

What are the origins of Carnaval in Ecuador?

The origins of Carnaval in Ecuador can be traced back to the pre-Columbian era, when indigenous communities celebrated the arrival of the harvest season with music, dance, and other festivities. With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, these indigenous celebrations were adapted to include Christian traditions and transformed into the Carnaval we know today.

The Carnaval celebration in Ecuador is a blend of indigenous, European, and African traditions, reflecting the country’s rich cultural heritage. The celebration takes place in the days leading up to Lent, which is a period of fasting and reflection in the Christian calendar. The Carnaval is a way for people to indulge in food, drink, and other pleasures before the period of abstinence begins.

Overall, the Carnaval celebration in Ecuador is a vibrant and colorful expression of the country’s diverse cultural heritage.

What are the traditions of Carnaval in Ecuador?

People in Carnaval, let loose, have fun, and enjoy life. It’s a time to forget about any problems and worries and just enjoy the festivities. Here are some of the most popular traditions of Carnaval in Ecuador:

Water fights

During Carnaval, it’s common for people to engage in water fights with each other. This can involve using water guns, balloons, or buckets of water. It’s all in good fun, and everyone is fair game

Throwing flour and eggs

In addition to water fights, it’s also common for people to throw flour and eggs at each other during Carnaval. This tradition is believed to have originated from a time when people used to throw food at each other to celebrate the harvest.

Dancing and music

Carnaval in Ecuador is also a time for music and dancing. There are typically parades with live music, and people dance in the streets. The most popular music during Carnaval is called “marcha,” which is a lively and upbeat rhythm that gets everyone moving.


Like many other Carnaval celebrations around the world, people in Ecuador often wear costumes during the festivities. The costumes can range from simple masks and hats to elaborate full-body outfits.

Where is the best place to celebrate Carnaval in Ecuador?

Carnaval is celebrated all across Ecuador, but there are some cities that are particularly known for their Carnaval celebrations. Here are some of the best places to celebrate Carnaval in Ecuador:


Ambato is a city located in the central region of Ecuador and is known for hosting one of the most popular Carnaval celebrations in the country. The Ambato Carnaval, also known as the Carnaval de las Flores (Carnival of Flowers), is a spectacular event that combines traditional Andean culture with contemporary elements.
The Carnaval de las Frutas y Flores (Parade of Fruit and Flowers) in Ambato is famous for its colorful floats, music, and dancing. The city’s streets are filled with people wearing vibrant costumes, and the air is filled with the sounds of live music and the smell of flowers. The floats, which are adorned with thousands of flowers, represent various themes such as folklore, history, and culture.

Another important part of the Ambato Carnaval is the foam fight. Translating to “Carnaval foam,” it is a practice that involves spraying foam on each other as a playful way of celebrating and having fun. During this event, participants take to the streets and spray the foam on anybody that comes across, all in good fun.


Guaranda is a city located in the Andean region of Ecuador and is famous for its unique Carnaval celebration known as the “Carnaval de los Diablos” or the Carnival of the Devils. This Carnaval celebration is one of the oldest and most popular cultural traditions in Ecuador and has been celebrated in Guaranda for more than 100 years.

The Carnaval de los Diablos in Guaranda is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show, and it involves people dressing up in elaborate costumes that represent the devil, known as “diablos.” The devil costumes are made of brightly colored fabrics and are adorned with bells, mirrors, sequins, and other decorative elements. The devils also wear masks that are designed to be frightening and intimidating.

During the “Carnaval de los Diablos” in Guaranda, the streets are filled with the sound of drums, flutes, and other musical instruments as the diablos dance through the town. The devils also interact with the audience, trying to scare and tease them. It is believed that the “Diablos” represent the struggle between good and evil, and their costumes symbolize the triumph of good over evil.

In addition, the Guaranda Carnaval also features other events such as bullfights, horse races, parades, and beauty contests. The bullfights in Guaranda are unique in that they are not fought by professional bullfighters but rather by amateur participants who are not allowed to harm the bull. Instead, they try to grab a ribbon tied to the bull’s horns, and the winner is the person who manages to grab the most ribbons.

The horse races in Guaranda are also a highlight of the Carnaval celebration. The races take place in the city’s main square, and they feature horses and riders from all over the region. The riders wear traditional costumes, and the horses are decorated with colorful ribbons and flowers.


The city of Esmeraldas, located on the coast of Ecuador, is known for its vibrant and colorful Carnaval celebration. The Esmeraldas Carnaval is one of the largest and most important cultural events in the region, drawing thousands of visitors from around the world each year.

The Esmeraldas Carnaval is a celebration of the region’s Afro-Ecuadorian heritage, and it features a blend of African and Ecuadorian music, dance, and food. The highlight of the Carnaval is the marimba music, a type of music that is unique to the region and is played on a large wooden xylophone.

The Esmeraldas Carnaval also features street parties, parades, and beauty contests. The parades are a highlight of the Carnaval, and they feature colorful floats and costumes that showcase the culture and traditions of the region.

In addition to the traditional events, the Esmeraldas Carnaval also has a modern side, with concerts and dance parties that attract young people from around the country. These events feature a mix of traditional and modern music, and they are a great way to experience the energy and excitement of the Esmeraldas Carnaval.

Carnaval in Ecuador is a time for people to come together and celebrate with music, dance, parades, and more. Whether your guests are looking to engage in water fights, dance in the streets, or just enjoy the festivities, Carnaval in Ecuador is an experience they won’t soon forget.

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