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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.

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

But that is not the main attraction of San Miguel. The absolute best time to visit the city is in November. San Miguel Carnaval is one of the most important events in the country. It happens every year during the last week of November and lasts for a whole week.

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

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.

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 in 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 popularity 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.

El Salvador Festivals - San Miguel Carnival (Carnaval de San Miguel)
Chaparrastique Volcano in San Miguel El Salvador

About The Festivities

As I mentioned before, the best part of the festivities last one week. but because if it’s growing popularity, it all starts around mid-October. There are pageants, concerts, parades, mechanical games, for 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 (2019) 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 the 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.

NOTE: Some of these celebrations can get crazy so my advice would be to join all of the cultural ones and to enjoy the parties with care. Don’t stay up too late and don’t get too drunk. I 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.

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