- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
Although situated in the picturesque and serene valley of La Vega Real, 125 kilometers north of Santo Domingo, La Vega lacks significant tourist sights, and for 11 months out of a year there really isn’t a reason to visit. But for that one month, February, the best reason to come here emerges during the pre-Lenten celebration of Carnaval, when La Vega explodes with energy and activity.
Most Dominicans agree that the Carnaval of La Vega is the best, rowdiest, and most fun in the whole country and that no other can rival it.
Every Sunday in the six weeks before Lent, La Vega virtually doubles in size when almost 100,000 visitors pack the town dancing in the streets, and it seems that all hell breaks loose. La Vega’s mask (each town has its own) is an ornately decorated and colorful devil with bulging wrathful eyes and teeth. These costumes alone are reason enough to come to Carnaval.
These magnificently gruesome devils march along the parade in jingle-bell covered costumes wielding vejigas (traditionally, inflated cow or pig bladders) that they use to thwack bystanders on the backside.
To stay clear of this tradition, stay on the bleachers set up along the parade route, find a balcony to watch from above, or don’t step off the curb into the street—that is a sign that you are fair game.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition