There is nothing like a Caribbean island in full carnival swing and, arguably, there is no better time to visit this part of the world. Explosions of colour, riotous parades, eye-popping costumes where barely-there bikinis are bejewelled beyond belief and headdresses are adorned with heaven-tickling feathers. This is the Caribbean in essence: bold, beautiful and spirited. So grab yourself a glass of punch and get the soca beats going – this is the carnival hitlist by Kenwood Travel.
If there’s one thing we know, it’s that Jamaica like to celebrate. Better still, they are really good at it. One of the largest islands in the Caribbean, Jamaica offers multiple options for carnival, or Bacchanal as it’s known locally. Head to Ochos Rios or Kingston for lively events spanning March and April, where sounds of reggae, dancehall and soca fill the air and tantalising smells of jerk chicken and saltfish flood the street. Register with a costumed ‘band’, for extra perks (like fete tickets, premium drinks, truck access, and upgraded goodie bags). Otherwise take it easy and march to the beat of your own drum – the party will follow wherever you go, as long as you have a Red Stripe in hand and a smile of your face.
Perhaps Antigua’s greatest cultural festival of the year, carnival is an eagerly anticipated chance for locals and international visitors to let down their hair in the most spectacular way. Hundreds of events in July and August each year make up the rich fabric of Antiguan carnival. Beauty pageants, parades, competitions, music performances and dance shows draw in swelling crowds. Meanwhile, there is an underlying message to the festivities as the 10-day celebrations also commemorate emancipation from slavery. J’ouvert takes place on Carnival Monday, when the capital of St John is packed out with dancing revellers, whilst Carnival Tuesday brings the party to a complete crescendo of costumed craziness.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
The St. Vincent Carnival, or Vincy Mas, has its very own distinctive flavour. Heating up in May and stretching all the way through to July, this one shouldn’t be missed. Alight with energy and ringing with steel pan music, the streets come alive at this time of year. Whilst there is a massive sense of unity, make no mistake: there is also a taste for competition (however friendly). Don’t miss the Miss Carnival Show or the well-attended Mardi Gras Parade of the Bands, where groups compete for the coveted title of Band of the Year. You’ll want to line your stomach with a hearty seafood dish and wash it back with fresh coconut for hydration and stamina because you’ll be dancing from dawn until dusk.
Feeling Inspired? Your holiday to the Caribbean
Our article doesn’t even scrape the surface of the countless carnival experiences you can have in the Caribbean. To find out the best destination for you, be sure to visit the Kenwood Travel website or call 020 7749 9245 to speak to one of our Caribbean travel experts. Pair your carnival experience with deluxe accommodation that’s sure to leave you feeling refreshed and revived throughout your stay. The party starts here!