Caribbean Carnival Dates 2023: The Full Calendar

Carnival within the Caribbean is a assured good time. In the event you’re seeking to have the form of trip that’s a mixture of exploration and enjoyable, it’s a good suggestion to move to this area to take part in one in all many island carnivals, the place you’ll have the chance to decorate up, dance by way of the streets, and reside life unbounded.

On this article on the Sandals weblog:

Carnival historical past
Masks and legendary characters
Huge enterprise

Caribbean Carnival Path 2023:

Carnival security ideas
Look gorgeous for Carnival

A little bit of Carnival historical past

For islanders within the Caribbean area, Carnival is a time to let free. It’s thought-about a judgement-free time, significantly for conservative islands with a robust Christian background. Individuals who have a good time carnival accomplish that with the appreciation for the tradition of their ancestors, significantly their African ancestors. They have a good time victoriously, understanding carnival’s roots in colonization, and later emancipation. As soon as enslaved individuals had been let loose, and for this area, that is the largest motive to have a good time.


Picture credit score: John de la Bastide/

Along with what is often identified concerning the competition’s roots, there are some points of carnival’s origin which aren’t generally identified. Carnival within the Caribbean may be traced again to Italian Catholics in Europe. It’s mentioned these early celebrations later unfold to French and Spanish colonialists, who introduced with them to the Caribbean Shrovetide traditions, significantly in islands like Trinidad, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Haiti, Martinique, and others.

Masks and legendary characters

Masks and legendary characters type a necessary a part of carnival within the Caribbean. The masks, costumes, and the indulgence of excesses throughout carnival instances all have a spiritual root. It’s thought that each one of those are symbolic of a sort of reversal ritual, which signifies that common guidelines or norms may be damaged, forward of a strict Lenten quick. That is largely a Catholic custom.


Picture credit score: David Pou/

There are a variety of characters which all have their very own tales rooted in traditions and folklore of the islands. Saint Lucia’s djab djab, Dominican Republic’s El Diablo Cojuelo, Trinidad’s Child doll and Bookman are traditional examples. There are numerous others, and all through the islands, the tales differ. Characters can sometimes be seen through the carnival parade (also referred to as mas) in full bodied costumes that may be a mix of bizarre and considerably horrifying. Every character has its personal story to inform, so it’s value discovering out all you possibly can about this custom whereas on island.

Know earlier than you go: ‘Taking part in Mas’ merely means dancing by way of the streets in a costumed carnival band. It’s a time period you’ll hear typically throughout carnival celebrations, so it’s good to know!

Huge enterprise

Carnival could also be a cultural expertise, however additionally it is massive enterprise for the various bands that take part yearly, occasion promotors, costume designers, and each different individual in between. Many islands document elevated vacationer arrivals through the carnival season, and resorts are normally crammed to capability. There’s normally a string of occasions hooked up to the primary celebrations, so in case you’re travelling to any of the islands throughout their carnival season, anticipate to be entertained.

Insider tip: It’s a good suggestion to e book your ticket and lodging early to ensure availability.


Picture credit score: John de la Bastide/

The Caribbean Carnival path

This record contains a number of the hottest carnival occasions within the Caribbean, in addition to some lesser identified festivals, that are surprisingly enjoyable. Needless to say a number of the carnival dates differ on an annual foundation.

November / December

Saint Kitts Carnival

November twenty second – January 4th

Saint Kitts, the bigger and extra populated of two island nations (Nevis), is understood for its lush rainforests, seashores of white, grey, and black sands, and naturally, its carnival celebrations. Carnival in St Kitts, also referred to as Sugar Mas, sometimes begins from the second week of November, and spans till the primary week of January. There’s a packed schedule of actions marking this celebration which incorporates sundown cruises, jouvert, calypso and soca competitions, magnificence pageants and extra. The grand parade normally options colourful carnival bands parading by way of the streets to the sounds of candy soca music!

Good to know: Jouvert is a carnival avenue get together that occurs within the early morning hours the day earlier than the carnival parades of many Caribbean islands. It’s a pre carnival get together, which usually options revelers dancing with t-shirts and shorts representing their band of alternative. Inventive t-shirt designs are inspired, and paint, powder, and dirt and all a part of the deliriously, messy enjoyable.


Picture credit score: RaksyBH/

Image: Boy celebrating Sugar Mas in Saint Kitts.

Montserrat Carnival

December seventeenth – January 2nd

This competition begins in December and ends in January. Throughout this time, Montserrat comes alive with its largest competition for the 12 months. This can be a lesser identified occasion, however it is extremely fashionable significantly for home-comers to Montserrat who fled the island after the Soufrière Hills Volcano eruption. The love for dwelling regardless of circumstance may be seen on this occasion, as individuals come collectively and have a good time life.

Saint Croix Crucian Christmas Carnival

December 18th – January seventh

Held in Saint Croix, this occasion which unfolds late December to early January has all of it. Round this time, anticipate finding actions all around the island of Saint Croix, as a part of this competition which merges Christmas and carnival in a really fascinating method.

Bahamas Junkanoo

December twenty sixth – January 1st

Regularly in comparison with ‘Kakamotobi’, the Fancy Gown Competition of Ghana, Junkanoo celebrations in the Bahamas are bigger than life. Yearly on Boxing Day (December 26) and New 12 months’s Day (January 1), the attention catching competition takes to the streets and options costumed revelers, themed music, and a great deal of leisure. The parade may be seen on the streets of downtown Nassau between 2am and 10am. Essentially the most superb a part of this competition is how simply the big parade and fascinating beats handle to get spectators off their ft, and into the get together!

Insider tip: Whereas the primary parade is held in Nassau, it’s also possible to get a really feel of Junkanoo on Grand Bahama Island, The Exumas, Eleuthera, Habour Island, The Abacos and Bimini.


Picture credit score: jo Crebbin/

Image: Junkanoo parade in Nassau, the Bahamas.

Turks and Caicos Junkanoo Soar Up

December thirty first – January 1st

In the event you’re in search of a superb time in Turks and Caicos, Junkanoo is an effective choose. Happing inside the lovely islands of Turks and Caicos, this occasion is understood for being a parade of vitality. The Junkanoo parade held on January 1 contains horns, drums and revelers in bejeweled masks, and handmade costumes dancing into the wee hours of the morning. This competition pays tribute to African music and dance.

Searching for a spot to remain? Positively try Seashores Turks & Caicos (all-inclusive resort in Turks and Caicos).


Aruba Carnival

January 1st – February twenty first

Aruba’s Carnival is the last word get together of the 12 months. Carnival celebrations on this island situated on the ABC chain sometimes function Antillean “tumba” music, metal bands with a mixture of pulsating salsa beats, marching bands, and extra. In line with the natives, ‘you haven’t lived till you’ve been to Aruba’s carnival’, and the island’s two-month lengthy carnival calendar (beginning in January) backs up that sentiment!


Picture credit score: Iryna Karbovska/

Image: Carnival parade in Aruba.

Bonaire Carnival

January 6 – February 21

A go to to the ABC islands is incomplete with out testing what Bonaire has to supply. As a part of its carnival providing held in February, in Bonaire you’ll discover music festivals, parades, and different conventional carnival rituals. The burning of ‘King Mono’ is symbolic on this land, which signifies all of the impurities that should vanish earlier than the Lenten quick begins.


Picture credit score: Anna Krasnopeeva/

Image: Carnival parade in Bonaire.

Saint Martin Carnival

January thirteenth – March twenty second

You possibly can have one of the best of each worlds in Saint Martin, an island which is each Dutch and French. The island is a melting pot of cultures, and for a small island, it’s considerably extra developed than others in the identical class. Most individuals are unaware of this, and for that motive, carnival on this territory is underrated. With a fast-growing leisure scene, the occasion is rising in reputation. Carnival festivities within the French facet of Saint Martin sometimes begin in February and finish early March.


Most carnivals in February occur simply earlier than Ash Wednesday. The foundation of this scheduling has non secular connections, however in current instances, these festivals have taken on a lifetime of their very own.

Trinidad Carnival

February fifteenth – twenty second

Trinidad carnival is the mom of all carnivals on this area. It’s the carnival occasion that just about each single individual aspires to attend at the very least as soon as of their lifetime. Because the competition continues to develop, these aspirations have prolonged internationally. In current instances, celebrities of all calibers have made Trinidad their vacation spot of alternative in February, primarily to partake within the celebrations. The occasion has seen the attendance of celebrities together with Ashanti, Mya, Lil Kim, Trinidad James, and others.


Picture credit score: John de la Bastide/

Image: Carnival in Trinidad.

Insider tip: Whereas in Trinidad, don’t neglect to take a look at Tobago’s carnival celebrations additionally held in February.

Carnaval de Ponce

February sixteenth – twenty first

Puerto Rico will not be neglected of the enjoyable. Carnaval de Ponce, also referred to as Carnaval Ponceño, is held in direction of the top of February and has lots to supply. The occasion is held in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and it is likely one of the oldest carnivals within the Western Hemisphere. Celebrations on this Spanish territory are continuously likened to that of Rio de Janeiro, however you’ll must go for your self to see in the event that they match up!


Picture credit score: Sean Pavone/

Image: Ponce parade in Puerto Rico.

Martinique Carnival

February sixteenth – twenty second

A competition with a distinction, Martinique’s carnival is ideal for these wanting a extra conventional occasion. Music and authenticity are on the core of this occasion which pays tribute to the island’s French and African roots.

Haiti Kanaval

February sixteenth – twenty first

Carnival on this Creole talking island has come collectively through the years in an enormous method, to pay tribute to the roots of this nation. Whereas Haiti is understood to have a number of carnival celebrations all year long, the primary occasion, Haiti Kanaval, is held in Port-au-Prince from January and into early March.

Curaçao Carnival

February nineteenth – twenty first

Curaçao is a fantastic island, and its individuals are equally so. Held in March, this competition is a vigorous event which serves as a possibility to deliver individuals collectively to have a good time tradition, heritage and freedom. The Dutch island of Curaçao is a part of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao).

Saint Barthélemy Carnival

February twentieth – twenty second

No Caribbean island is left behind on the carnival practice, and definitely not Saint Barthélemy. This island is understood for its festivals, occasions, and regattas, and simply as a lot planning and dedication goes into its carnival celebrations which get underway mid-February and finish in March.

Guadeloupe Carnival

February twentieth – twenty first

The French islands have a particular essence that may be seen in the best way their carnival celebrations come to life. Like many of the French talking territories, the dances, music and different points showcased throughout Guadeloupe’s carnival are one thing distinctive, and fully their very own. Guadeloupe’s carnival is likely one of the largest festivals within the Antilles.

Carriacou Carnival

February twentieth – twenty first

Carriacou is a surprisingly enjoyable vacation spot for carnival. The island is near each Saint Vincent and Grenada and is a part of a sprinkling of islands often called the Grenadines. To attend this occasion, you’re probably going to must fly over to both of the larger islands, and boat throughout to Carriacou. This occasion contains avenue dancers, costumed bands and the common soca events, in a extra intimate setting.

Insider tip: Take a ferry over to Carricou the Thursday earlier than the occasion to soak up all of the carnival enjoyable.

Dominica Carnival

February twentieth – twenty first

Dominicans positive know the right way to get together, and carnival within the nature island is nice time to expertise that. The Creole talking Caribbean island is understood for day to nighttime partying throughout carnival and different main occasions. This occasion is a assured good time, amid an surroundings that’s refreshing and invigorating. Dominica’s carnival is called ‘The Actual Mas’ as a result of it pays tribute to conventional carnival celebrations.

Guyana Mashramani

February twenty third – twenty fourth

Held on Guyanese Republic Day, Mashramani, also referred to as Mash, is an annual celebration that honors Guyana turning into a Republic in 1970. It’s a competition rooted in independence, which fuses collectively one of the best of Guyana – from meals and video games, to events and parades.

Dominican Republic Carnival

February twenty third – twenty seventh

Carnival within the Dominican Republic is a wild time. A lot because of Spanish influences, the ambiance of this competition may be in comparison with that of Rio de Janairo on a a lot smaller scale. A vibrant celebration, festivities on this a part of the world normally fill all the month of February. It’s a ‘celebration of tradition and identification’, which extends all through the DR. Costumes, masks, and symbolic characters are an enormous a part of this occasion, and are tied to folklore traditions and beliefs.


Virgin Gorda Easter Competition Celebrations

April eighth – tenth

Virgin Gorda is a tropical paradise. In late March/early April, the island situated within the British Virgin Islands (BVI) heats up for some carnival enjoyable. Easter is get together time on this island, so get able to wine and grind.

Bacchanal Jamaica

April twelfth – April 18th

Beginning with three carnival bands in 2000, Bachannal Jamaica is at this time one of many largest carnival occasions held on the island. Occasions begin in December and wind down in direction of the top of Easter. A great deal of actions lead as much as the Street March finale, which is massively fashionable. The occasion has featured Caribbean stars together with Machel Montano, Destra, Kes, Bunji Garlin, Fayann Lyons, Kerwin Dubois and extra. The wealthy tradition of Dancehall and Reggae is fused into conventional carnival celebrations in Jamaica.

Sint Maarten Carnival

April 14th – Might third

Sint Maarten, the Dutch facet of a twin island, is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It’s one in all many Dutch territories within the Caribbean that host their very own carnival celebrations. With a combined tradition, carnival on this island is all embracing, so you possibly can anticipate an action-packed time in a traditional Caribbean setting. Sint Maarten’s carnival is held late April/early Might.

Ocho Rios Carnival

April 14th

Seaside events, breakfast fetes, parades, and concert events are all a part of Jamaica’s carnival, and Ocho Rios is likely one of the finest locations in Jamaica to soak up the celebrations. With a schedule of actions beginning in January and ending in April, you gained’t be bored on this rock.

Insider tip: Sandals’ all-inclusive seashore resort in Ocho Rios is close by the carnival celebrations in Ocho Rios.

Saint Thomas Carnival

April twenty third – thirtieth

Yearly, Saint Thomas within the Virgin Islands hosts their carnival celebrations through the month of April. The island hosts arduous core events main as much as the primary occasion, a carnival parade that lights up Principal Road. Whether or not you sit on the sidelines, or bounce in a band, you’re assured a enjoyable time in Saint Thomas.


Bahamas Carnival

Might 18th – twenty first

Probably the most lovely locations on this planet, The Bahamas is a best choice for a lot of vacationers. Throw in a spectacular carnival occasion and also you’ll have much more motivation to go to this island to get acquainted with its tradition. Carnival within the Bahamas is normally held within the first week of Might, although there are many different occasions taking place year-round.


Picture credit score: jo Crebbin/

Image: Junkanoo parade in Nassau, the Bahamas.

Insider tip: Heading to Bahamas Carnival? Plan your lodging early. E book one of many all-inclusive resorts in The Bahamas for limitless gourmand meals and premium spirits.

Cayman Carnival Batabano

April twenty ninth – Might seventh

Held within the Cayman Islands, Batabano is normally noticed within the first week of Might. This competition is the one carnival held within the Cayman Islands, and options occasions for adults and juniors.

Barbuda Caribana

Might twenty ninth – June 2nd

Off the shores of Antigua, Barbuda’s carnival beckons carnival lovers from throughout to an intimate and conventional occasion. Smaller islands are inclined to have much less crowded celebrations, that are nice for many who really feel extra comfy in a close-knit setting.


Bermuda Heroes Weekend

June sixteenth – nineteenth

Bermuda is that fairly little island within the Caribbean with beautiful pink sand seashores and superb individuals. Carnival on this territory occurs within the third week of June and is a part of Bermuda’s Heroes Weekend. Although small, this competition is steadily rising, and it is likely one of the extremely really useful occasions within the Caribbean.


Saint Lucia Carnival

July 1st – nineteenth

Saint Lucia carnival, now a part of the Soleil Summer time Competition in Saint Lucia, culminates with two days of revelry by way of the streets. The island’s carnival celebrations had been beforehand held in February, forward of Ash Wednesday, however have now been transitioned to July. The transfer was made by the island’s authorities in an try to be extra aggressive on the tourism entrance. Saint Lucia’s carnival has grown and adjusted for the reason that transfer, however the island stays one of many prime spots for carnival within the area.

Insider tip: Luxurious resort Sandals Halcyon Seaside in Saint Lucia is situated alongside the island’s carnival route.

Havana Carnival (Cuba)

July 1 – August 31 (actions happen each weekend throughout this era)

Cuba is a very vibrant nation and it’s no shock that the liveliness of the individuals makes its method into carnival celebrations. Held in August, carnival festivities in Cuba date again to 1573. The primary Havana carnival of the 20th century was held in 1902, and the occasion has grown leaps and bounds since then.


Picture credit score: Lia Koltyrina/

Image: Carnival within the streets of Havana

Saint John Competition

July 1st – fifth

Within the months of June and July, the Saint John Competition is likely one of the main sights for this isle which is a part of the US Virgin Islands. Saint John’s Competition, a carnival celebration, is tied to Emancipation Day on the island, so anticipate a culturally diversified expertise.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Carnival (Vincy Mas)

July third – 4th

There’s a commencement of kinds that appears to occur when you set out on the carnival path. Maybe you may start with milder occasions and finish in an epic method at one of the best carnival of the area. Vincy Mas is someplace on the prime of Caribbean carnival scores. Held late June to early July, this occasion in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines contains carnival actions for the younger and younger at coronary heart. A few of the finest Soca stars come from Saint Vincent, so anticipate nice music and events!

Carnival of Santiago de Cuba

July seventeenth – twenty seventh

A big competition that’s as well-known as it’s conventional, Santiago de Cuba’s carnival occurs in July yearly. This occasion is beloved as a result of it highlights Cuba’s pursuits and influences in an genuine method. The parades which are a part of this occasion are nothing wanting spectacular, and whereas attending this occasion, you’ll actually really feel such as you’re being sucked right into a tradition, that welcomes you with open arms.


Picture credit score: Angela N Perryman/

Image: Carnival parade in Castries, Saint Lucia.

Saint Eustatius (Statia Carnival)

July thirteenth – twenty fourth

Late July into early August the individuals of Saint Eustantius welcome foreigners to their shores, in addition to individuals born on island who’ve since migrated. The small Dutch island with a inhabitants of simply over 3,000 individuals is a hive of exercise throughout this time with occasions meant to spice up the island’s tourism product.

Saba Summer time Competition

July twenty fourth – thirtieth

This Dutch Caribbean island hosts its carnival celebrations in late July to August. One of many smaller Caribbean occasions, the Saba Summer time Competition options good meals, music and a cultural showcase value taking in.

Insider tip: There’s a lot you possibly can find out about this island on the chain of the Lesser Antilles by way of this occasion, so remember to get on the market and discover.

Nevis Culturama

July twenty seventh – August eighth

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a duel island nation. Many individuals are aware of Saint Kitts, however barely much less acquainted with the latter. Culturama held late July into early August is a chance for Nevis to showcase its cultural identification, and that the little island does nicely with a collection of exhibits and a grand parade which is one in all its largest highlights yearly.

Anguilla Summer time Competition

July thirtieth – August seventh

Simply off the shores of Saint Martin, Anguilla is a paradise for carnival lovers looking for an expertise which is just a little totally different from most. Boat races, pageants and events are all a part of this occasion which has gained reputation through the years. Make sure you try August Monday, jouvert and the Caribbean Seaside Get together whereas on this island.

Insider tip: You possibly can fly to Anguilla from the Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten or take a ferry throughout.


Antigua Carnival

August 1st – eighth

Antigua options one of the vital organized carnivals within the area. Held yearly in early August, Antigua’s carnival attracts scores of regional and worldwide visitors. From convertibles driving previous with lovely carnival contestants, to day and night time events, Antigua is fingers down among the finest Caribbean carnivals round city.

Searching for a spot to remain? Antigua boasts plenty of lovely all-inclusive resorts which shall be excellent for you!

Emancipation Competition – Tortola (BVI)

August fifth – seventh

This island’s Emancipation Competition is held in early August, and it is a nice time to go to Tortola as you possibly can anticipate actually good native and worldwide meals, music, pageants, parades, and even gospel celebrations. The choices are countless for this competition which focuses on celebrating the historical past and tradition of the nation and paying tribute to the liberty of the ancestors.

Barbados Crop Over

August seventh – 14th

Held in early August, Crop Over is understood to function stars like Rihanna, who was born and raised on Barbados. Rihanna’s attendance of this occasion has considerably raised the scores for this now high-profile carnival occasion. Crop over is ready other than different carnival occasions within the area as a result of its origins must do with the season marking the ending of the native Sugar Cane Harvest.

Insider tip: Resorts on Barbados refill rapidly throughout Carnival time. Plan your lodging early.

Grenada Spicemas

August tenth – fifteenth

There’s no going unsuitable with an occasion with such a spicy connotation. Spicemas is likely one of the finest marketed occasions within the Caribbean, and it lives as much as the hype. Held early to mid-August, this occasion in Grenada options metal pan showcases, parades, magnificence pageants, and extra.

Insider tip: Keep near celebrations whereas in Grenada to attenuate transport prices. Try Sandals’ all-inclusive resort in Grenada, which is close to to the parade route.


Belize Carnival

September seventeenth

Rounding up the carnival path is Belize Carnival, held in September. This occasion is a mix of avenue theatre, music, costumes, and really enthusiastic and pleasant individuals. Combined origins discover the individuals of Belize paying tribute to their Mayan, African, and European roots, in a celebration that’s uniquely Belizean. Though this celebration wraps up the primary occasions within the area for the 12 months, it doesn’t imply the carnival street map is completed. Preparations for many carnivals held in February start round this time, and by November, some bands would have already hosted their launch events for the upcoming 12 months!

Carnival security ideas

Hold secure as you are taking within the sights and sounds of carnival. Listed here are a number of the most essential issues to remember.


Picture credit score: John de la Bastide/

  1. Plan your transportation early when attending carnival occasions, so that you’re not left stranded after the actual fact.
  2. Put on minimal jewellery to keep away from attracting undesirable consideration.
  3. Put on sunscreen, a hat or each.
  4. Keep hydrated. Sometimes, individuals drink extra alcohol than standard throughout carnival, which might dehydrate your physique.
  5. Keep watch over your kids, particularly in crowded areas as they will get misplaced.
  6. Don’t go away your drinks unsupervised, and guarantee all bottled drinks are opened in your presence.
  7. Journey in teams when heading out to actions. Guarantee all members of your group are current if you’re prepared to depart.
  8. Don’t settle for drinks from strangers.
  9. Individuals from the Caribbean may be pleasant, however keep in mind, not everyone seems to be your pal.
  10. Keep away from carrying giant quantities of cash and maintain your pockets or change purse someplace discreet.

Look gorgeous for Carnival


Picture credit score: John de la Bastide/

Carnival is a celebration of magnificence, as seen within the vivid colours surrounding the occasion. Girls and even males within the area pay nice consideration presently to wanting their finest. Some individuals go on strict diets and train for months main as much as the most important occasions simply to allow them to look gorgeous on the massive day. Whereas some individuals favor to only throw on a dressing up and have a superb time, others favor to look glittery and lovely whereas feting the day away. Both method, carnival within the Caribbean is an effective time, so ensure you take plenty of pictures to memorialize this as soon as in a lifetime occasion!

Disclaimer: All info on this weblog web page could change at any time with out prior discover. Think about the precise carnivale dates may change from 12 months to 12 months, which influences the accuracy of the data. Sandals won’t be responsible for loss or inconvenience arising from the usage of this info.

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