Desfile de Carretas

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The “Desfile de Carretas” (in English: Cart or Wagon Parade) is truly one of the nicest cultural festivals that Pedasí has to offer.  Witnessing it immediately brings you back to the colonial times, when women wore traditional “polleras” and ox-drawn carts were the norm.  

Polleras are the traditional dress of the area and the national costume of Panama, their roots traced all the way back to Spanish settlers.  As the story goes, women and girls wore them with their arms outstretched to herd and collect the “pollos” (chickens) on their homestead, hence the name POLLeras.

True polleras can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars and usually take around a year to hand make.  The ladies are adorned with gold jewelry and handmade pearl and bead hair pieces called “tembleques” that are passed down through generations.

Typically, these ladies are pulled around on floats or wagons led by oxen or bulls accompanied by men and boys on horseback.  The sign on the float below reads “My Grandparents’ Porch”.

Photo credit:  Karen Miles, one of our most fantastic students and clearly an awesome photographer.   Check out her blog at