It’s party time again in La Vega Dominican Republic. While it always kind of seams like there is a party going on, the month of February brings it to new heights. Each weekend during the month of February there will be parties going on throughout most of the Dominican Republic but the most famous area is Carnival Vegano in Le Vega.

The carnival is known for its costumes and in particular the masks. Groups of people spend month creating elaborate costumes called “diablos cojuelos” , or Devils with the competition centering around who can create the most grotesque masks.

Part of the celebration include “vejigas”. Originally dried cow bladder but now can be made out of almost anything similar. These are used to whip people in the streets. While usually this is done by the “devils” if you are heading through La Vega you will see kids as well as many other adults with them. As a rule they don’t whip people on the sidewalks only the streets but this rule isn’t always followed.

Stages are set up during this time and band will be playing over the weekend. One of the biggest attractions this year will be “Daddy Yankee” who will be playing at the Estadio Olimpico. Others like Crazy Design, Chimbala and El Fother will be playing on the 4th of February at the Parque de Las Flores in the middle of La Vega.

While many foreigner like to be part of the festivities this can likewise be a more dangerous place to be at this time. Heavy drinking, partying and the general atmosphere of anything goes probably makes this a good place to avoid for most foreigners, but if you choose to be part it is probably best you be with a larger group. It’s best not to have anything on you that your are too worried about having stolen pick pockets and other theft is pretty common.

If you are planning a trip to the DR during this time and you do not wish to be part of the Carnival Vegano you can usually be pretty safe in the all inclusive resorts. While much of the partying does happen there also, it is usually far more restrained.

I’m putting this down as one of the things to avoid because of the danger involved for unwary foreigners. Being in the midst of this is probably not something your average tourist will be safe in. If the unrestrained partying is your thing, then you’re on your own.