Finally, the days of Carnaval parades in Cozumel have arrived. They are similar, and yet each day seems to top the last. The last night is definitely the largest. There can be a lot to keep up with, so make sure you check the official website of Cozumel’s Carnaval celebration. So, are the Cozumel Carnaval parades accessible? Yep! They sure are. I tried my best to capture the spirit of the parade nights in these photos because this is one of my favorite accessible ways to enjoy Carnaval in Cozumel!
The Cozumel Carnaval Parade Route
In Cozumel, the parade route is a long loop. It starts near the municipal building at Parque Andres Quintana Roo, and extends nearly to Airport Road, before looping to the other side of the median in the street and returning. While exhausting as a parade performer, this means you get two chances each night to see your favorites. You get a view of the right side of each float, and the left side as well.
Once the parade makes it’s first pass down the road, you’ll notice that everyone grabs their chairs and starts rotating around or running to the opposite side of the street to find new positions for the second half. If you plan ahead, this gives you a chance to improve the position you have chosen for viewing.
This will also give you time to make purchases from food and drink vendors, both in stalls and walking the streets. Restaurants will have reserved tables and seating outdoors, some with buffets. I usually will find a spot along a sidewalk to park my chair and my family will set up folding chairs or rest on a curb.
Pro Tip: Bring water. Many local families will pull a large cooler full of ice and drinks, then use it as seating.
When watching the parades with my family, we bought small carnival light-up toys and I played with the small children around me. We are always in it for the food and we have bought so many delicious things from street vendors: Grilled kabobs, Flan, Tamales, Savory pastries, All sorts of drinks, and Elote corn. Bags of puffed snacks with tiny plastic bags of hot sauce to squeeze over the top, Cotton Candy, Tacos, Marquesitas, Ice cream treats, and even Pozol- a corn and chocolate drink. The point is you will not go hungry and these parades last for several hours, so bring your pesos!
What will you see?
You’ll see nearly every type of float during the Carnaval parades, which makes me happy these events are accessible. There are families with small home-made floats, countless musical groups, dancers in their elaborate costumes, and of course the kings and queens. There’s also an impressive number of giant and over-the-top floats rolling along as well. Cozumel Carnaval is an event that includes everyone, young and old, which you’ll see represented during the parades.
Only in Mexico!
As you watch the parade, you’ll no doubt notice that some of those floats are tall…. really tall! In fact, you may find yourself wondering how they’re going to clear the powerlines as they slowly make their way along the road. Well, keep a close eye on the crew on the float. You’ll no doubt see someone with a long wooden tool that almost looks like a broom. If you watch carefully, you’ll see that as they approach the lower-hanging powerlines, it’s the stick-holder’s job to carefully lift the lines up and over the tall points on the float! This is so wild to watch and something we had a good laugh about during the festivities.
What’s with the Bulls?
Another wild thing you’ll notice is a few groups in the parade that are accompanied by a giant bull. Not a real bull of course, but something the group has crafted as part of the “Torito Wacax Che” competition. Since this area of Mexico was once colonized by Spain, this competition is a nod to Spanish bullfighting, and the groups take turns acting out a bullfight with hilarious results!
Who should go to the parades?
The parades are designed to be friendly for everyone. Trust me, you’ll be so glad the Cozumel Carnaval parades are accessible, because they are so much fun! Since they run along the major street in Cozumel, they are easily accessible by those using wheelchairs. You can easily claim your spot to watch along the sidewalk as long as you show up ahead of time. The parade is friendly for families too, with only a little bit of Carnaval craziness. Families with kids will want to head home as the parades wrap-up, as many bands start to fill the street and the vibe turns a bit more into an outdoor nightclub. But don’t worry, you’ll have fun music to listen to the entire way back to your rental or hotel. Then, once you’re rested, check out more accessible destinations in Cozumel!