Best Carnival Celebrations Around the World
Panama City, Panama
Panama City’s version of Carnival tends toward the casual. Expect street parades full of dancing, drinking, and culecos, large 18-wheel trucks carrying water tanks that spray down the crowd. Put any expensive electronics away, as water balloons and buckets are also common (the sensation is more pleasant than it sounds; February is the dry season here).
Insider Tip: While the party crowds wear summer clothing (or very little at all), Carnaval is also a time for women to don the pollera—the traditional embroidered dress that’s native to Panama—along with family heirloom jewelry. For the best photos of this finery, go to the Cinta Costera on the Sunday before Fat Tuesday.