El Salvador Festivals – San Miguel Carnival (Carnaval de San Miguel)

El Salvador Festivals - San Miguel Carnival (Carnaval de San Miguel)

Out of the many places that you can visit in El Salvador, San Miguel is one of those places you can’t miss if you are an adventurer. 

It is home to Chaparrastique volcano, one of the best and most challenging hiking opportunities in the whole country, and a ton of different things to do and tours to try.

The city is also close to many beaches that you should visit, especially El Tunco beach. After a short one-hour drive, you will be there, ready for a day in the sun.

Why Visit San Miguel in El Salvador?

El Salvador Festivals - San Miguel Carnival (Carnaval de San Miguel)
Carnaval de San Miguel is one of the most popular holidays in El Salvador, a lot of people gather and try different Central American foods, dance, and enjoy the colorful parades

The beach is not the main attraction of San Miguel. The absolute best time to visit the city is in November. San Miguel Carnival is one of the most important events in the country and the most popular carnival in El Salvador. 

It happens every year during the last week of November and lasts for a whole week. This huge celebration is in honor of the town’s patron, Virgen de la Paz (Virgin of the Peace). 

During this time, what is usually a relaxed town turns into a party town with all sorts of activities.

What better reason is there to travel to El Salvador for El Carnaval de San Miguel and get the true experience of carnivals in El Salvador?

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📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out 21 Best Festivals and Celebrations in Central America

History of Carnaval de San Miguel

This festivity started as a celebration for the anniversary of the founding date of the town. It used to happen on May 8th. 

The date was moved to November 1939 so that it celebrates the Virgin Mary instead. Back then, it was all about visiting local casinos and dancing to musicians that would be spread around town on the streets.

With time, it kept growing and getting more popular among the neighboring countries until it became one of the most popular festivities in the region.

Presidents from other Central American countries have come to experience it. Plus, singers, groups, and bands from all over Latin America also perform in it every year.

It is definitely not a small-town celebration anymore, and probably the biggest of the carnivals in El Salvador.

view of san miguel Chaparrastique volcano in el salvador
The Carnival can be the main attraction, but you certainly can’t ignore the Chaparrastique Volcano, offering breathtaking views, and challenging outdoor opportunities!

About The Festivities

As I mentioned before, the best part of the festivities lasts one week, but because of its growing popularity, it all starts around mid-October. There are pageants, concerts, parades, mechanical games, everywhere, and lots of alcohol.

Modern and traditional music are everywhere during this lively time.

There are one or two fun activities per day until the 25th of November. During this time there are smaller carnivals in the different areas of the town and a beauty queen is elected. This year, I will get started with a colorful parade.

There are of course also religious celebrations. During the night of November 20th Catholics enjoy music and small plays while they wait for the main day to come. 

It is called “Festival Mariano” (Festival in honor of the Virgin Mary). On the 21st there is a special mass in the San Miguel Cathedral.

man holding a el salvador flag during the san miguel carnivals
San Miguel Carnaval is one of the most important and celebrated events in El Salvador, it’s one of those things you need to experience at least one time in your life.

NOTE: Some of these celebrations can get crazy, so my advice would be to join all the cultural ones and enjoy the parties with care. Don’t stay up too late and don’t get too drunk. It can be dangerous if you don’t have your five senses sharp.

Other than that just relax and enjoy it! Carnaval de San Miguel is one of the best times to visit El Salvador aside from Semana Santa in Sonsonate.

Where to Stay

Below are some of the best places to stay in San Miguel for carnival. They are also listed under low, mid-range, and ‘splurge’ budgets depending on what you are looking for.

But prices and availability can vary quite a bit, especially during the carnival season, so it’s essential to make reservations well in advance if you plan to visit during this time. 


Hostal La Villa: This budget-friendly option offers basic but clean rooms at an affordable price. It’s a good choice for travelers looking to save on accommodation costs.

Keep in mind that during the carnival, prices may increase, and availability can be limited, so it’s a good idea to book in advance.

Hotel Tropico Inn: This hotel provides comfortable and reasonably priced rooms. It’s a popular choice for budget-conscious travelers and is located in the heart of San Miguel, making it convenient for carnival festivities.


Hotel Comfort Inn Real San Miguel: This mid-range hotel offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities. It’s a good balance between quality and cost, and it’s conveniently located for enjoying the carnival and exploring the city.

Hotel San Miguel: Another mid-range option, this hotel provides comfortable rooms with a good range of amenities. It’s known for its friendly staff and convenient location.


Hotel Crowne Plaza San Salvador: This is one of the more upmarket hotels in San Salvador, and is a luxurious option for travelers who don’t mind a slightly longer commute to San Miguel.

It offers upscale rooms, excellent dining options, and premium facilities. If you’re looking for a more luxurious stay during the carnival, this is a good choice.

Hotel Suites Las Palmas: This upscale hotel in San Miguel offers spacious and well-appointed suites with modern amenities. It’s a great choice for travelers seeking a higher level of comfort and service during the carnival.




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carvanal de san miguel

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Last Updated on January 20, 2024

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