Carnivalitos are a smaller version of carnival. It only lasts the weekend (Saturday night and Sunday during the day) and businesses don’t close for them. Despite this, the streets were abandoned Sunday afternoon for the fenced off area in La Chorrera’s main park which is a 90 second drive from our front door.
(By the way, this post is all about our experience Sunday during the day. You can read about Saturday night’s experience here.)
Being forewarned about the culecos, I grabbed the point and shoot as the hubs and I ran out the door to check out the scene. As we were pulling up, we saw a culeco parked on the side of the main road. We were shocked as it wasn’t shooting water. Instead, the peeps atop the culeco were tossing goodies to the crowd below. We couldn’t figure out what was being thrown so I snapped a pic and we headed to the entrance on the other side of the park.
Walking up, we saw the all too familiar PH (Pub Herrerano) sign that we encountered at La Feria de Chorrera in January. There were two culecos right inside the entrance. One was to the left spraying hundreds of people that were dancing to Panamanian folk music. To the right was another culeco spraying those trying to get by unscathed. Mesmerized by the abundance of water flowing out the fire hoses, we were stopped at the entrance and told that we needed to purchase tickets/bracelets at the booth. We u-turned to buy them.
I think we were getting ‘gringoed’ because the ticket girl wanted $14 a piece for us to enter! We thought about it for about two seconds and decided against it. Water being everywhere without a waterproof camera, a dance floor filled with hundreds of people bumping each other for space, and only 6 booths selling adult cocktails and grilled foods didn’t seem worth it.
When we went to carnival in Capira, there was no charge to enter. Just a quick frisk by the police and you could even bring in your own coolers of drink and food. At La Feria de Chorrera in January there was another PH club set up and ladies were free while guys were charged $3 to enter after 11pm and this included an open bar. $14 seemed like a steep price to pay for a smaller place that was elbow to elbow full of people. I’ll definitely be asking our Panamanian friends to see what the ‘local’ price is to see how much we would’ve been ‘gringoed’ out of