Santiago is one of the country’s prime places to celebrate Carnival. Festivities take place every Sunday in February at the monument with throngs of costumed participants wearing colourful papier-mâché demon masks and assaulting each other with inflated sheep bladders; don’t wear anything that you feel too precious about. Things culminate on Independence Day (February 27), when the entire city comes out for a parade around the monument, accompanied by mobile freak shows, home-made floats and Haitian gagá bands. If the local baseball team wins the Caribbean Series Championship, the partying lasts for another week. The local fiesta patronal, in honour of patron saint Santiago Apóstol, is held on July 22 and features dancing, drinking and live music in an outdoor bandshell beside the monument.

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