Puerto Lopez beach during Carnaval

Family Friendly Carnival in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

I’m a huge festival fan. I love to dance and dance all night long.
–Douglas Booth

Laughing children, water guns, espuma and full beaches are sure signs that it is Carnival in Ecuador. During this pre-Lent festival running Friday evening through Tuesday, many families flock to beach towns to swim, hang out on the sand and relax. Puerto Lopez beach’s busiest day of the year is Monday of Carnival.

If you are picturing Carnival in Brazil with huge costumes and parades, it is not quite the same. The Ecuador festival is very family friendly and less flamboyant than its Brazilian counterpart.

Crowded Puerto Lopez beach
Puerto Lopez beach on the busiest day of the year
Monday, February 12, 2018


All Ages Party Together at Carnival in Ecuador

Other holidays have happy kids and beach goers but only Carnival brings out water guns and espuma. While walking around you are likely to be sprayed with one or both. Espuma is basically water soluble sudsy foam sprayed from aerosol cans. It is all in good fun and adults get into it as much as kids, often spraying one another.

Spraying each other with foam
Smiles all around as kid shoots water gun while adult sprays espuma

Some people take it to another level, chasing one another around with raw eggs. Simply throwing the egg at your target is too easy. If you choose to arm yourself with eggs, you must chase and catch up to your target person and physically smash the egg into the top of their head. Try to take some extra time to smear it around in their hair as much as possible while they are still trying to run away but laughing too hard. Hey, raw egg is good for hair, right?

There is a powder mixed with water to make a fingerpaint-like substance. People coat their palms with it then sneak up behind others and smear it all over the target’s face. When you see someone with blue, yellow, green, or other color smeared randomly on their face, you know someone got them. Fortunately, it cleans off easily with water or a wet towel.

Man with blue paint on face
Someone got him with fingerpaint

I have read stories about people in other parts of Ecuador throwing flour at each other but I have not seen that in Puerto Lopez.


Vendors and Security on the Beach

With so many people on the beach, entrepreneurs bring wheeled carts to the sand. Ice cream, coconut water and flavored shaved ice are popular choices. Military police are added to the normal police force for the festival duration to assist with security.

Crowded Puerto Lopez beach
Vendors and military police (in center on four wheeler) mix with people on the beach

Music is heard throughout Carnival in Ecuador

A huge temporary stage is set up for music, which is played throughout the festival. The crowd resembles an outdoor nightclub with the number of people under the tent.

Concert on Puerto Lopez beach
The music stage is popular, for their content and the shade provided by their tent

Each night, the party continues until early morning, full of music, dancing, spraying, and laughter.

Douglas Booth would love it. If you like having fun with thousands of your new closest friends, you might, too.

See more about Puerto Lopez on Emily in Ecuador here.

Crowded Puerto Lopez beach - from bridge

Which holiday brings the most visitors to your town?

I am a US Expat in Ecuador. I grew up on a Minnesota farm, worked in IT in California's Silicon Valley, then moved to a coastal Ecuador fishing village. My goal is to share Ecuador with you, one snippet at a time. Topics include attractions, compassion, ecotourism, Ecuador products, everyday Ecuador, and flora and fauna. Please let me know what you would like to read more about!


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