The 2017 final, national carnival paradeel Desfile Nacional de Carnavalcame and went with a bang last Sunday on Santo Domingo’s waterfront boulevard.

The best comparsas from the Dominican Republic’s 31 provinces, plus the Distrito Nacional (Santo Domingo), paraded down the Malecon. This year’s costumes were even more impressive and colorful than the last, though the participants were also more rushed in an effort to keep things running on time. This made the photographer’s job that much harder, but it was a great time overall.

The parade kicked off at 4pm, with crowds arriving and staking their positions from 2pm, and ended around 7:30pm.

The colors, the energy, the craftsmanship and creativity behind each handmade costume were unparalleled. I’ll say it again: there is nothing like Dominican carnival anywhere else in the Caribbean. The size and diversity of the DR, and its zest for life continue to take my breath away even though I’m obviously not new to the country nor to its carnivals.

It was fantastic to have access to the Ministry of Culture’s platform again this year to take a break from photographing, and enjoy the open bar. A big thanks goes to the Ministry of Tourism for their continued support.

The main carnival season has now officially closed–perhaps these images will show you it’s worth visiting the DR in February for its biggest, most colorful month of culture and… carnaval dominicano!

The winners of the grand carnival prize (see two images above) – Rio San Juan with their marine and fish-themed masks.
Cotui’s papeluses

These ladies from Cotui blew me away with their detailed costumes.

Puerto Plata (and below) picked up several awards for costumes and band talent.

Samana’s impressive devil masks.

I loved the shades on this Guloya from San Pedro de Macoris. Sun protection is important!

View the slideshow below for more images.

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I’m already looking forward to February 2018!


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Lebawit Lily Girma

A former corporate attorney, Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning travel writer, photographer, and author of several Caribbean guidebooks for US-publisher Moon Travel Guides, including Moon Belize and Moon Dominican Republic. Originally from Ethiopia, Lily calls herself a “culture-holic”–fluent in four languages, she has lived in eight countries besides the U.S., including Belize, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. Her articles and photography focusing on culture, adventure, and sustainable travel in the Caribbean region have been published in AFAR Magazine, CNN, BBC, Delta Sky, The Guardian, and others. She is the recipient of the 2016 Marcia Vickery Wallace Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

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  1. Pingback: What's Hot: February 2018 Events around the Dominican Republic–DRVisitor's Highlights |

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