Carnaval in Merida


As we do every year, the Yucatecans are preparing for a great Carnaval party…because Mérida asked for it and deserves it! This municipal government dares to do things differently, the change of venue for the Carnaval of Mérida to the Xmatkuil fairgrounds south of the city (see our map on page 8 of the magazine or click here) will be called PLAZA CARNAVAL, with ample and sufficient spaces which will offer attendees a great variety of activities and shows for the whole family. Let’s get ready for a renewed Carnaval, with a better party, better spaces and options for mingling, and improved order and security based on a family atmosphere. We want to spread the magic, color, and joy of this Mérida Carnaval 2014 THE KINGDOM OF FUN! FREE ENTRY.


Children’s Category: Ana Paola Cimé Gongora “Ana Paola I” and Ary Alejandro Colli Campos “Ary I”.

Physical Disability Category: Estela Trinidad Tzuc Meza “Tita I” and Emmanuel Antonio Cardenas Sosa “Emmanuel I”.

Mental Disability Category: Teresita Del Socorro Gonzalez Vazquez  “Teresita I” and German Emmanuel Ortiz Cervantes “German I”.

Seniors Category: María Concepción Mena Che “Conchi I” and Jorge Carlos Ballote Caballero “El Padrino I”. 

Queen: NATALIA VILLANUEVA DENIS “NATALIA I”: Born in Mérida, age 26, degree in Preschool Education, was Miss Youth 2009 and Queen of Maya Coast International 2012, dancer of various disciplines including jazz and folklore. She considers herself an idealist, perseverant, and she has promoted and enjoyed Mérida’s carnaval in various facets, and now will enjoy the most important role as Queen of Carnaval Mérida 2014.

King: KENNY CALDERÓN RODRÍGUEZ “CHAYAK I”: Born in Mérida, age 28, Administration degree, actor, singer, director, and announcer; studied theater at the Centro Estatal de Bellas Artes, and in regional theater he has become known for his character “Chayak”. Kenny sees life in a simple way, but always seeks new challenges to continue his personal and professional growth. He is currently the announcer for the radio program “La Frutería” on the Comadre 98.5 radio station, and from Wednesday to Sunday we can find him on the regional theater stages.

PLAZA CARNAVAL, XMATKUIL, opening and parade times:
Friday, Saturday, Monday: 4 pm - 1 am, parade at 7 pm.
Sunday and Tuesday: 10 am - 10 pm, parade at 1 pm.

The  BURNING OF THE BAD MOOD and the BURIAL OF JUAN CARNAVAL will remain at the Palacio Municipal and Plaza Grande respectively. The Pre-school parade takes place on Thu. Feb. 27 in Centro, from Palacio Municipal to Santa Lucía Park, at 4 pm.


Mon.-Fri. 9 am - 6 pm
Sat.-Sun. 9 am - 2 pm

Calle 64 No. 493 x 59 y 61 Centro 
Tel: 923 1092 

Complete box for 5 days - (8 seats): purchase from 5-10 Feb., cost 1200 pesos.

Complete box per day (8 seats): purchase from 11-16 Feb., cost 240 pesos.

Pairs of seats (2, 4 or 6 seats - one in front of the other): purchase from 17-23 Feb., (2) 60 pesos (4) 120 pesos (6) 180 pesos.

Individual seat, third row and bleacher seats: at box office at Plaza Carnaval: 30 pesos.

Carnaval schedule for 2014:

Wednesday February 26 
Palacio Municipal, Calle 62 x 63, Centro
8 pm

Thursday February 27
Palacio Municipal, Calle 62 x 63, Centro, to Parque Santa Lucía, Calle 60 x 55, Centro 
4 pm

Friday February 28
Plaza Carnaval, Xmatkuil
7 pm

Saturday March 1
Plaza Carnaval, Xmatkuil
7 pm

Sunday March 2
Plaza Carnaval, Xmatkuil
1 pm

Monday March 3
Plaza Carnaval, Xmatkuil
7 pm

Tuesday March 4
Plaza Carnaval, Xmatkuil
1 pm

Wednesday March 5
Plaza Grande, Calle 62 x 63
7 pm

Click here to read a blog about Progreso Carnaval 2013, written by Kelly, a Canadian mom spending some time in Progreso with her 2 kids.

[email protected]



What is the process for tickets for the new location? Reserved seating?? Parking?


re. tickets

Please note there are some new details in the article above.


"This municipal government

"This municipal government dares to do things differently"??

You mean this government prefers to pander to the desires of a few business owners along Paseo de Montejo, rather than listen to the wishes of Meridanos, who overwhelmingly expressed that they wanted the carnaval to stay exactly where it was (i.e. in centro and Paseo de Montejo)?

Do you know any other world class carnaval which takes place in a park 30km out of the city, rather than in the street at the heart of the city?


re. this municipal government...

Just wondering if you had a business on Paseo de Montejo that had to endure thousands of pesos in lost business…as well as put up fencing at your own cost to keep the drunks and urine away from your business…even if you were in the minority…how would you feel? In Rio, the largest Carnaval in the world, there are still many street events, but the main parades were moved to the Sambadrome in 1984. Most of the events there are not even free, but ticketed events. It might be worthwhile to do some research to find out why this venue was created; perhaps some of the same problems faced by Merida? Rio of course is a much bigger city, with a bigger Carnaval and more spectators, so presumably the negative aspects were bigger too. Let's wait and see how this Carnaval turns out before we judge its success or failure.


Comment from a reader

Xmatkuil Carnaval 2014
On Mardi Gras we attended the final parade of this year’s Carnaval season. We had purchased reserved seating at the kiosk on the Gran Plaza a few weeks before and thought that we were ready for our new adventure. Boy did my planning go awry. We had procured a site plan and selected what we believed were seats toward the end of the parade. We selected our parking space based on this assumption. The map provided showed that the parking area ran across the top of the ‘U’ that formed the parade route surrounding the Xmatkuil Fair Grounds.
I’ve been told on many occasions that ‘assuming’ is a bad thing to do. We got to the site about 9:45, parked in a nice shady spot in the nearly empty lot and walked to the main gate. We wanted to check out exactly where our seats were located. Much to my chagrin our seats proved to be at the beginning of parade and therefore we had parked as far away from our seats as was possible. This fact gains importance later.
We strolled around the grounds for a short while and were impressed by the set-up. Shops were grouped in one area, food stalls in another, exhibition spaces in another, and push carts around walkway intersections offering all the various Carnaval treats. We loaded up with our cooler and bags of snacks from the car sometime around 11:30 and headed towards our box. As we entered the grounds we hit our first real snag. Security was very tight and I was almost not allowed to bring in my cooler. It seemed that five beers were too many for two people. I have no idea of the exact conversation – my Spanish isn’t good enough - but the Carnaval Staff person over-ruled the policeman and allowed me to pass. At all levels the staff was very helpful. One person proudly wearing his ‘Carnaval Staff’ T-shirt led us right to our seats. As it turned out we were seated directly opposite the Carnaval Committee seating.
Push carts worked the crowds before the parade began selling everything from fresh pineapple to beer, bolis, cotton candy and much more. A brisk business was being done on anything cold as it was getting very warm and the metal folding chairs might as well have been comals. We had been told that the parade would start at noon. I was hoping for 1 PM but the police cordon that indicated the start of the parade went by at 1:30.
The vibrant colors and infectious music were everything we could have hoped for. The children and adults all worked very hard at the routines they had been practicing for weeks as they danced and strutted down the street. The usual floats were present – Sol, Bimbo, Corona, Donde, Coke and others. So were the provocatively dressed young women and men that proceeded or rode the various floats. There were many small gifts thrown to the crowd as usual. We managed to score a couple of T-shirts, a sun-visor, some carnations, cold drinks in plastic bags and a bunch of packages of Bizchochitos.
All in all the parade was very familiar in look and feel from the days of watching while lining Paseo Montejo. The main difference was the unfamiliarity with the site itself. The location simply did not lend itself to the spirit of Carnaval in Mérida. The real difference came after the parade was over and thousands of very hot and tired people left the bleachers and reserved seating. Our first thought – along with hundreds of others - was for shade, food and cold drinks – not necessarily in that order. We ended up in a large area on the left side of the food vendor’s area. We placed our food and beverage orders and waited – and waited – and waited. It appeared that the place was simply overwhelmed by the huge influx of hungry and thirsty people.
After our food and drink we headed towards the main gate for the long trek to our car. After several hours of sun and fun we were exhausted. As we approached the entrance gate it became obvious that we had to use a different gate to exit the grounds. I can only assume that the exit gates were designed to slow down the pace of getting to the parking lots. If so they performed wonderfully! They crowds were reduced to a slow shuffle. Which is just as well as that slowed the disruptions to the lines forming for the numerous buses waiting to take people back into Mérida. The vehicular traffic leaving the Feria grounds actually flowed fairly smoothly once one got out of the parking lot. I attribute that fact to the experience gained by the traffic controllers from the previous day’s parades. I sincerely hope that’s true.
In summary, I’d like to say that there were pluses and minuses to moving Carnaval out to Xmatkuil. One big plus - every staff member we encountered throughout the day was unfailingly friendly and helpful. One has to hope that there are many people studying this first year’s Carnaval events. I sincerely hope they are already working diligently on ways to improve things. I believe that the hospitality and restaurant businesses in Mérida lost a great deal of revenue by this move. I hope that ways to lessen that loss can be found. It has been said that all change is painful. I hope that this year’s pain proves to be worthwhile for future Carnavals.
Gil Beyer & Sherry Casamento
Sandpoint, ID & Telchac Puerto, YUC, MX

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Yucatan Today is the leading tourist guide of Merida, Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula and was recently voted the best tourism website in all of Mexico! In our companion monthly magazine, we bring you the information you need to enjoy your experience while you are here. Read more