La Ceiba Carnival and other events

There is an old saying in Honduras that says: Tegucigalpa thinks, San Pedro Sula works, and La Ceiba parties... There really is a lot of truth in the above.

La Ceiba’s warm, friendly atmosphere, its proximity to the Caribbean Sea, and a happy go lucky attitude that its inhabitants have adopted, makes of it the perfect place for fun! Although the Carnival in La Ceiba is world famous, there are actually many other dates that are worth keeping in mind when planning your visit to La Ceiba. Following is a list of events in chronological order:

January. Around mid month, the Garifuna community at Corozal celebrates its town fair with a Garifuna Carnival! Corozal is a Garifuna village that is located about 8 km (5 miles) east of La Ceiba on Highway CA13. Corozal’s patron in our Lord of Esquipulas, and their fair is very, very Garifuna. This is a great chance to see some of Garifuna traditions and dances, as well as to enjoy some great Garifuna cuisine. Come and discover this unique culture that has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO!
February. The 2nd of February is World Wetlands Day. On this date, the Fundacion Cuero y Salado, who manages the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, which is one of the protected wetlands in Atlantida coordinates an event. The celebration takes place at the refuge, and it’s a great opportunity to visit this iconic protected area of Atlantida. La Ceiba also celebrates St. Valentines. The weekend closest to St. Valentines day, (February 14) is the venue for a series of celebrations, that include domestic and international singers, as well as different activities throughout the night clubs in town. This is a great weekend to plan on visiting La Ceiba with your valentine!
March. Although the dates vary from year to year, March is usually the month when Latin America celebrates Easter Week. This is a holiday that is “sacred” to Christians, and they all take full advantage of it to flock to the beaches. La Ceiba is one of the preferred options for Hondurans. If there is one week when having hotel reservations is a must, it is during Easter Week, so make sure have confirmed reservations at your hotel during this week! Keep in mind that there is no public transportation operating between cities within Honduras on Good Friday. Local airlines, ferry boats and bus companies stop their services all day long on Good Friday!
April. This is the month when Honduras celebrates is African Heritage! The Garifunas arrived to Honduran territory on the 12th of April, 1797, and since then, have been an important part of our national Heritage. Most of the celebrations during this month are more cultural than actual party, but you can see many colorful dances throughout the month. The Garifuna culture is an important part of the History of Atlantida, and the Garifuna are the largest and most important ethnic minority in the department of Atlantida.
May. Party time! La Ceiba celebrates its patron, St. Isidore, and there are two complete weeks of cultural activities, as well as parties and celebrations. The city gets dressed up with banners throughout the main avenues, and the different neighborhoods compete between themselves to see hosts the best and biggest “Carnavalito” or little carnival in their area. The event ends with a float parade on the fourth Saturday in May and ends with a huge public party with many different bands playing live music all night long. This is without doubt the largest, funnest party in Honduras, and probably in all of Central America. Keep in mind that this particular weekend hotels are usually full, so plan ahead and make your reservations!
June. Sambo Creek, the other Garifuna community in La Ceiba celebrates its community fair in June. The event is a great Garifuna party, and although most of the events actually take place at night, there are always things to do and see during the day. If you visit Sambo Creek during this event, make sure you bring some cash in small bills. You might need them if you encounter the “barbaric Indian” a masked fellow who will certainly ask you for money if he encounters you. A good reason to appease this barbarian with some money is that it will prevent you and your group from being smeared with tar for not responding positively to his request! This is part of the tradition and is a the source of a lot of fun, as you see villagers running desperately to escape from this barbaric fellow with tar on his hands trying to punish those that do not comply with his demand!

The City of El Porvenir, located just west of La Ceiba also celebrates its fair during this month. Saint John is their patron saint, and the main celebrations take place on June 24, which is precisely Saint John’s day. There are a variety of events throughout that week in El Porvenir.

July. This is turtle hatching month in Cayos Cochinos Marine Monument, and the Fundacion Cayos Cochinos organizes a variety of activities and vigils to protect the little turtles in their voyage from the beach to the sea. If you would like to participate as a volunteer in the efforts to save the turtles, contact the foundation at The Festival de la Leche, or “Milk Festival” also takes place in July. Their venue is at the agricultural fairgrounds located adjacent to the airport. These grounds are known as Campo AGAA. Atlantida is an important dairy producing region, and this is a great opportunity to purchase dairy products direct from the producers, as well as to see different exhibits and events. At night there are even some good national and international artists at the fairgrounds.
August. La Ceiba celebrates its birthday in August! Although the exact beginnings of the city are somewhat obscure, it is clear that La Ceiba was declared a municipality on the 23rd of August of 1873.
September. This is independence month for Honduras, and all of Central America for that matter. In the days leading to independence day, which is September 15, you will hear the beating of drums as the different bands from the local schools prepare for the independence parade that takes place between the 13th and 15th of September. The parade marches down Avenida San Isidro in downtown La Ceiba. The Community of Yaruca, located in the Cangrejal River Valley also celebrates its community fair during this month. This event is known as the corn festival, and celebrations begin the 7th of September. This is a great opportunity to get to see a local agricultural community near La Ceiba. The trip to Yaruca is relatively short, and the route, via the Cangrejal River Valley is an extremely scenic route that you will enjoy.
October. Honduras has three one day holidays in October, and in the last years, there has been a move to join them into one longer holiday, with the intention of creating a holiday opportunity for Hondurans. This holiday usually takes place the last weekend in October, and because it is a long week there are many different activities that take place in La Ceiba. National and international artists are invited and there are great concerts to be enjoyed. Make sure you book your room in advance to insure that you are not left without one!
December. La Union, in the adjoining municipality of El Porvenir celebrates its patron: the Virgin of Guadalupe on this month. Festivities take place between the 3rd and the 14th of December. La Union is the community where you board the train to go to the Cuero y Salado wildlife Refuge, as well as the site where the largest cassava factory operates. This is good opportunity to combine your visit to Cuero y Salado and stay for a few hours to experience this festive opportunity!