Carnaval Miami – The Largest Hispanic Party in the U.S.

The Miami Carnaval like many people call it, is a must for Hispanic culture lovers. It is the biggest Hispanic carnival in the U.S. that allows you to party Latin style.

It is a 10-day celebration generally during the month of March that attracts more than one and a half million visitors to South Florida every year and encompasses typical Hispanic food, concerts, sports, culinary competitions, a live Jazz festival, art, and dancing (especially salsa en la Calle Ocho Festival) for the enjoyment of residents and tourists alike.

Tons of Activities To Enjoy…


Dominoes on Calle 8
by Bnito Denise

The premier domino tournament in Miami happens at the Carnaval Miami and is held at Domino Park. Of course there is a Latin food feast after the tournament to indulge your senses.

“An Evening of Indulgence” is a night where the carnival mixes fine arts and culinary expertise by bringing together well known local artists with celebrity chefs during an interactive dinner.

For the golf lovers Carnaval Miami has a carnival-flavored golf tournament where local business executives participate every year.

A great cooking contest is also part of the events in the Miami Carnaval where famous chef Jack Pepin plays the role of Master of Ceremony. Celebrity judges choose the winner based on presentation, flavor and originality of the dish.

If you are into Jazz the “Carnaval on The Mile” offers a Latin Jazz series of concerts that runs from Friday to Sunday. Did I mention admission is free? Yes, and that is not all, the entire family can also enjoy movies under the stars, and music all in a safe environment.


Typical Plate of Arroz Con Pollo
Picture by Chef daíz

There is an 8-kilometers race that started in 1982 in Miami’s “Little Havana” and includes many participants from different ages under several categories like men & women, high school, college, etc. When the race is over a typical “arroz con pollo” cookout follows which makes this race a unique experience

But the most incredible celebration happens at the culmination of the “carnaval” with the “Calle Ocho Festival” which is a street party that more than 1 million people attend. This party is well known for its music where top Hispanic artists perform at every street intersection at the designated stages.

History of Carnaval Miami

In the 1960s Cuban refugees began settling around Miami’s “Calle Ocho” and another major influx of Cubans occurred during the Mariel boatlift of 1980. “Calle Ocho” became “Little Havana,” the perfect spot to enjoy any Cuban food, music, art, and even “botanicas” or places that sell the products for Santeria.

It would take Cubans 18 years after their arrival in 1960 to invite the neighborhood to know more about Cuban culture.

Little did they know the 15,000 people they were expecting on the first day the “carnaval” was celebrated would turn out to be 100,000. That was the start of “Carnaval Miami” in 1978.

The non-profit civic club “Kiwanis Club of Little Havana” is the main sponsor. Did you know that the money generated by the “carnaval” goes towards educational, sports and outreach programs? It is a noble cause all in the name of fun!


Dominoes at Carnaval Miami

This festivity evolved from being a “Cuban Carnaval” to a total Hispanic experience that includes customs, music, foods, and events rooted in Hispanic Central and South American countries.

Next time you think about enjoying the sunshine state stop by in March when “Carnaval Miami” happens and transforms Miami into another world, the vibrant and lively world of Hispanic Culture!

Interested in Getting a Booth?

The Club Kiwanis starts taking applicatios in December. Contact Felipe Aviles at or at 305-644 8888 to ask for a booth application. They accept applications up to the day of the event, depending on availability.

Booths are generally 20′ x 10′ and you are allowed to sell food, clothing, crafts, etc. For more information contact Felipe A. direcly.

Carnaval Miami 2010

Carnaval Miami 2013

Carnaval Miami  Tablao

Carnaval Miami

Calle 8  Street Sign

Calle 8
Street Sign


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