You’ve heard of Mardi Gras – grand celebrations, frenzied soca music, costumes adorned with feathers and jewels. The festival is a must-see for travelers looking to explore Caribbean culture. Next year, the carnival will resume in earnest after the pandemic subsides. Tourism is booming around the event, so book early and check out our mini-guide to not-to-be-missed parties—we highly recommend working with a carnival concierge company like Carnival Jumpers. Secure party tickets, costumes, and hotel rooms that often sell out months in advance.
Trinidad and Tobago Carnival
The birthplace of the celebration as we know it today, Trinidad‘s carnival is known locally as the biggest show on earth, but it’s the biggest event of the year and 2020 before the world shuts down. Build up your stamina for non-stop partying like the popular MC Boat Experience and Soca Brainwash, and sign up early for popular mass bands (parade groups) like the Tribe. and get the season’s best costumes.
Accommodation: Port of Spain is the hub of activity. Hyatt Regency Trinidad Downtown is close to the airport and the hottest festivals.
Jamaica has cemented its reputation as one of the Caribbean’s premier destinations, but it’s new to the annual Carnival calendar. These days, alongside the legendary reggae and dancehall scene, it attracts soca performers. It’s the perfect place for avid attendees to experience everything they know and love at a more affordable price. Work with the concierge to secure a costume for local mass his band Xodus and book tickets to popular parties like SunKissed and Duck Work.
Where to stay: The centrally located (and affordable) Courtyard Kingston is a great base for hopping parties and exploring local attractions such as the Bob He Marley Museum.
St. Lucia Carnival
Best known as a destination for romance and luxury, Saint Lucia gets euphoric when the summer heat and carnival kick in. Visitors flock to the island for local music (the Denley segment) and join mass bands such as Legends. It’s the perfect place to ‘get along’ with stunning mountain and ocean views.
It’s only a 20 minute drive from Jade Mountain Resort to Emerald Estate Farm, but not 20 minutes on St. Lucia. Fuchsia bougainvillea and green palm trees dance in the wind along the winding, bumpy roads. Fruit trees provide hanging merchandise in pastel-coloured home gardens, and laundry lines flutter in the breeze.
Hummingbirds are everywhere. In the midday heat, the few passers-by outside were focused but in no hurry, nodding their heads or waving their hands at my driver as they drove through the narrow streets of the common. It may shake. Being in Saint Lucia means bowing naturally. Time is not irrelevant. Time is irrelevant.
In a natural style, freshly harvested cocoa beans are dried in the sun on a sunny day. When it rains, wooden trays lined with fermenting beans are brought to the hut to make chocolate. Seasonal mangoes can be eaten as they are or made into chutneys, jams, and juices. After the vanilla pods have bloomed for a few days, pollinate them quickly so that a small number of pods emerge. In Saint Lucia, Mother Nature controls when and what we eat. In recent years, resort restaurants that mainly welcome tourists from the United States and England have become more local and creole in their menus.
Where to stay Most events are held in the Rodney Bay – Gros Islet area and the Harbor Club. The Curio collection is right at the heart of it.
One of the region’s most distinctive events, Grenada’s Carnival (called Spicemas) is a celebration of culture, local cuisine and glitz and glamor with mass bands like the Oro. But for the true His Spicemas experience, head to the island’s unique Jab Jab J’Ouvert, which signals the unofficial start of the event. Jab is Creole and comes from the French diable (“devil”). Revelers mock the island’s former settlers by wearing devil horns, draped in black oil, blowing out conch shells, and dancing until dawn.
Where to stay: The luxurious Silversands Grenada on Grand Anse Beach near the action offers discounted Spicemas packages.