Saint Lucia Carnival: Journey Ideas & What To Count on


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Most islands within the Caribbean establish with carnival being part of their tradition ultimately. Saint Lucia has some of the in style carnival celebrations on this area, making it an amazing place to start out when discussing all issues carnival.

In case you’re questioning the place Saint Lucia is, this island is south of Martinique and north of Saint Vincent & the Grenadines. When carnival rolls round, residents of neighbouring islands fly in or take a ship to Saint Lucia to be a part of the enjoyable, and many worldwide guests take part as nicely. Saint Lucia is roughly 238 sq. miles and the capital metropolis of this island is Castries, the place the primary carnival festivities happen. The principle seaport in Saint Lucia can be positioned in Castries.

Other than carnival, Saint Lucia is understood and liked for its gorgeous Pitons, the dual mountains which can be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage web site. Different fantastic issues about this island are its stunning seashores and waterfalls, wonderful diving alternatives, and delectable chocolate. In case you journey to Saint Lucia in July, you possibly can have a style of nearly all the things, together with the carnival!

What’s the Saint Lucia Carnival?

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Saint Lucia Carnival is a cultural celebration that occurs on the island on an annual foundation. This occasion first occurred in 1947, simply after World Warfare II. Like different carnival occasions across the Caribbean, the carnival in Saint Lucia is impressed by an historic pagan pageant rooted in historic Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In case you go to the island in the course of the month of July when the carnival is held you’ll have an opportunity to attend a number of events, concert events, boat rides, and different occasions in addition to take part within the grand Carnival Parade.

Saint Lucia’s carnival attracts guests from all around the world. Some Saint Lucians residing in different nations make some extent of returning house for this occasion. With a number of leisure, glittery costumes, and alternatives to socialize, let unfastened, and dance, the carnival on this island appeals to anybody who simply desires to have an excellent time in opposition to the backdrop of paradise.

Saint Lucia Carnival was beforehand held in February/March forward of Lent. The occasion’s date was modified for a wide range of causes, however largely to keep away from competing with Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival, which is the most important within the Caribbean. Saint Lucia Carnival continues to develop, and, in the event you’re on the island throughout this time, you possibly can anticipate to listen to a number of soca and calypso music, be dazzled by vibrant costumes, and parade by way of the streets with a fun-loving crowd!

Professional Tip: Apart from carnival time, the most effective time to go to Saint Lucia is between the months of December to mid-April, which is taken into account the height season for this island. Very similar to July, peak season is when you’ll find extra actions to do in Saint Lucia and extra constant climate as nicely.

How will you take part in Saint Lucia’s carnival expertise?

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In case you’re planning on being in Saint Lucia round carnival time it is perhaps a little bit tough to withstand being a part of the enjoyable. In case you’re questioning how one can take part, you possibly can both join with a Mas Band (carnival band) or watch the carnival festivities from the sidelines. We’ll begin with the band choice. There are many carnival bands to select from in Saint Lucia together with Simply 4 Enjoyable, Crimson Limitless, Legends Carnival Band, XUVO Carnival, Fuzion Mas, and extra. Costs for costumes range for the completely different bands (which we’ll focus on later). It would assist to observe some movies or seek for opinions on these bands upfront, so you possibly can determine which will likely be greatest for you.

As soon as you have chosen a carnival band you can begin counting down the times to play Mas. Mas is brief for masquerade! You will get the ball rolling by making a down fee on the costume of your selection. Nearer to the carnival parade, you’ll be capable to choose it up at a delegated location. As soon as you set in your costume on carnival day, you’ll be part of the remainder of the masqueraders on the carnival route. In Saint Lucia, this route is often from Union to Castries. Stick together with your band as that’s the place you’ll get all of your provisions for the day, inclusive of drinks and meals.

One other choice to take part in Saint Lucia Carnival is solely watching the festivities from the sidelines. This would possibly sound a little bit mundane, but it surely completely just isn’t. In case you discover the proper spot you possibly can really feel such as you’re a part of the carnival celebrations even in the event you’re only a spectator. Costume for the event, notably the recent climate, and prepare to have some enjoyable! After the parade, you possibly can even plan to go to one of many ‘final lap’ carnival events!

What are carnival costumes like in Saint Lucia?

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Costumes for the Saint Lucia Carnival vary from vibrant and charming to elaborate and ginormous. These costumes are what you may put on in your Mas Band on the 2 days of the carnival parade. Carnival costumes can be found in a vary of colors and kinds, which suggests you are able to do some procuring round earlier than deciding on the costume and band that you just like greatest. Most costumes embody a number of feathers, rhinestones, and different assorted costume gems. The carnival costumes for girls are usually extra elaborate than these for males, though there are a couple of choices for males which can be extra intricate and detailed. Take your time wanting round earlier than you determine!

Carnival music

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Round carnival time in Saint Lucia, you possibly can anticipate to listen to a number of conventional calypso, in addition to high-energy soca music, virtually in every single place you go. The native music has African and East Indian influences, notably by way of the catchy rhythms. There are particular occasions you possibly can go to in Saint Lucia if you wish to expertise extra of the native music. These occasions embody the Groovy Soca and Energy Soca competitions, in addition to the Nationwide Calypso Monarch competitors.

Carnival in Saint Lucia makes room for regional soca as nicely. You’ll discover music from islands like Saint Vincent, Antigua, Trinidad, Jamaica, and different islands enjoying at a few of the main occasions. Numerous artists from these islands commonly come to Saint Lucia to carry out throughout carnival. Different genres like hip hop and dancehall are generally performed on the island at carnival occasions however these are usually within the minority.

Carnival occasions

There isn’t any quick provide of occasions occurring in Saint Lucia throughout carnival time. This contains the Parade of the Bands and different nationwide occasions in Castries, in addition to neighborhood occasions held in locations like Soufriere, Vieux Fort, Gros Islet, and different areas. Extra festivities and particular person occasions happen in Reduit Seashore, Rodney Bay Marina, and Pigeon Island. Carnival occasions in Saint Lucia are inclined to span a couple of weeks to a month forward of the primary celebration.

Saint Lucia Carnival’s pre-opening pageant

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Pre-carnival events set the tone for the primary carnival celebrations held in Castries. The checklist of a majority of these occasions in Saint Lucia is in depth and continues to develop yearly. This checklist contains membership events, breakfast events, boat rides, concert events, evening Mas occasions, neighborhood carnival actions, and extra. Surprisingly sufficient, regardless that there are such a lot of events on the schedule and even some on the identical days, lots of them are offered out.

Carnival prime-up or pre-carnival occasions are a implausible alternative for guests who don’t plan on collaborating within the Parade of the Bands to get a style of carnival. One of the in style occasions in Saint Lucia held forward of carnival is ‘Color Me Crimson’. This occasion has been held on Pigeon Island in Saint Lucia that includes regional acts like Patrice Roberts, Kes, Nadia Batson, and Saint Lucian performers like Ezra, Arthur, and extra. In case you’re headed to a pre-opening pageant or occasion in Saint Lucia, remember the fact that most of those occasions have a tendency to start out later than the ticketed time. For occasions like ‘Color Me Crimson’, you possibly can costume all in pink to maintain up with the occasion theme. Some individuals go all out and create their very own outfits or costumes for this and different themed occasions.

Apart from ‘Color Me Crimson’, the checklist of occasions held forward of carnival in Saint Lucia contains band events, concert events, and different celebrations.

Carnival J’ouvert

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J’ouvert is a standard occasion that dates again to the early 1830s when slavery was abolished within the Caribbean. This information can actually assist in understanding the place this celebration stems from and what it is all about. J’ouvert is the exercise that opens the best way for the Parade of the Bands and it’s often held in Castries. The phrase ‘j’ouvert’ is derived from the French phrase for dawn, which is across the time this occasion begins.

Carnival J’ouvert sometimes occurs on Carnival Monday forward of the Parade of the Bands. This occasion includes mud, physique paint, powder, oil, and many dancing. So far as carnival goes, j’ouvert has an identification of its personal. Some individuals take part in solely j’ouvert and never the primary carnival occasion. J’ouvert can be cheaper than carnival. A j’ouvert band package deal will sometimes simply encompass a t-shirt and that will likely be all you’ll want for a couple of hours of pleasure.

For many individuals, j’ouvert is simply one of many many actions they take part in on the primary day of carnival. This could imply little or no sleep so maintain that in thoughts in the event you’re considering it! Forward of j’ouvert, there are often carnival events happening. Some carnival events finish in j’ouvert. As soon as j’ouvert is over, carnival revellers have simply sufficient time to go house, bathe, and dress for the Parade of the Bands, which often kicks off round 11 am.

Parade of the Bands

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Parade of the Bands is the most important a part of the Saint Lucia Carnival. This two-day occasion will get underway on Carnival Monday & Tuesday. Carnival Monday is often a vacation in Saint Lucia and a few corporations both do not open in any respect on Tuesday or simply function till mid-day. That is completed to present their staff an opportunity to take part in carnival in the event that they need to. Plus, enterprise tends to be slower throughout the primary days of carnival as most individuals are both collaborating, watching, or utilizing the day to get some relaxation at house.

On Carnival Monday & Tuesday, carnival bands often meet up at Union, which is about 10 minutes or much less from Castries by automobile. Revellers will meet their bands at particular occasions and every band will head down the highway at their allotted time with gaps in between to distinguish them. Whereas some revellers make it to the start line on time, others be part of alongside the best way. If revellers miss the beginning time, they will generally wind up having to stroll (or dance!) by way of the varied bands to search out their very own.

Day 1 of the Parade of the Bands is when costume judging occurs. Because of this, revellers will often present up suited of their full carnival costume, inclusive of headpieces, leg bands, armbands, and so on. The bands are rated by a panel of judges at a set level on the route and the most effective band receives the Band of the 12 months award. On day 2, costumes are usually much less official and a few revellers choose to put on their very own ‘Tuesday Put on’ creations. Revellers can nonetheless be recognized by their wristbands. If you wish to be a part of the Parade of the Bands in Saint Lucia, you’ll want to enroll with a band to ‘play Mas’. In case you don’t, you possibly can merely watch the parade from a location of your selection in Castries.

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Good to know: Carnival is without doubt one of the issues Saint Lucia is understood for however there are lots of different issues that stand out about this island. This contains the island’s intriguing British and French historical past, the Sulphur Springs in Soufriere, which is the world’s solely drive-in volcano, and the Pigeon Island Nationwide Landmark with its war-torn historical past.

Fetes & different celebrations

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Saint Lucia Carnival is a significant celebration in Saint Lucia. Other than the Parade of the Bands, there are lots of occasions occurring on the island round this time. This contains fetes organised by personal corporations and people. Fetes begin occurring weeks forward of carnival and prolong nicely past. Native entertainers and DJs take to the stage at these occasions and lots of events function regional and worldwide acts as nicely. Most occasions are soca-oriented, although as time progresses, extra mainstream music continues to make its means into Saint Lucia Carnival.

Other than the events, the nationwide Soca and Calypso Competitions are additionally well-attended occasions. These competitions see Saint Lucian expertise going head-to-head to see who can safe the highest spot with their music. Different nationwide carnival occasions embody Panorama, the Nationwide Carnival Queen Present (magnificence pageant), and King & Queen of the Band occasions. The King & Queen of the Bands occasion often showcases the big and elaborate costumes which can be consultant of the foremost carnival band themes.

Boat rides and seaside events are additionally very fashionable in the course of the carnival season. If you wish to get the total carnival expertise then undoubtedly attempt to go on at the least one soca boat trip. This could serve a twin goal as you’ll additionally get to see the island’s coastal magnificence, usually at a fraction of what you’d pay for a catamaran cruise in Saint Lucia. You may additionally be capable to expertise a few of the greatest meals & drinks in Saint Lucia at a few of these occasions!

Good to know: A number of the in style fetes in Saint Lucia throughout carnival embody Aura (about £22 GBP), which is held on Pigeon Island, Mess (about £20 GBP) in Cap Property, and Sa Ka Fete (about £60 GBP) in Castries. You’ll have to get fete tickets early (often obtainable on-line) as they will promote out quick. Extra fetes are added to the checklist yearly!

How a lot does the Saint Lucia Carnival value?

Price as a spectator

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It’ll value loads much less to soak up the carnival festivities as a spectator than it should to ‘bounce’ with a Mas Band. As a spectator, you possibly can have a front-row seat to the motion with out having to stroll the entire route. Some individuals who go to Saint Lucia throughout carnival time discover that it is sufficient to simply watch the parade and attend a couple of events. The value of carnival events can vary from £20 to £100 GBP. Some all-inclusive occasions can value £160 GBP and upward. Usually these occasions would come with drinks, meals, and a wide array of entertainers.

In case you’ll be watching carnival solely, you will not have to pay for entry. All you’ll have to do is locate a great spot to observe the celebrations. You may deliver a small amount of money with you in the event you plan on getting drinks and meals, or you possibly can deliver your personal. Some individuals inventory coolers and head to the roadside to observe the carnival parade.

General, as a carnival spectator, the most important value you’ll want to consider is your flight. Spherical journey fares from the UK begin from £850 GBP. Your lodging will affect your carnival prices as nicely. Determine in your finances from early on so you’ll find the kind of lodging that’s simply best for you. All-inclusive resorts like Sandals Regency La Toc may be a good suggestion for carnival as all of your prices are dealt with upfront. You may get together the times away figuring out all you actually have to consider is letting unfastened and having an excellent time. Plus, it will probably really feel wonderful after a day of dancing by way of the streets to chill out in all-inclusive bliss.

Price as a masquerader

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Carnival is the last word avenue get together! In Saint Lucia, one of many first belongings you’ll have to determine is whether or not or not you’ll be collaborating as a masquerader within the Parade of the Bands. In case you determine to take action, you possibly can anticipate to spend anyplace from £350 to £1200 GBP for a fancy dress. Ladies’s costumes are usually on the upper finish by way of value, whereas males can often get a fancy dress anyplace from £400 – £550 GBP. Carnival costumes for girls are usually extra intricate therefore the upper value level. If you wish to take part with a Mas Band in Saint Lucia, a fancy dress is a should.

Kinds range with carnival costumes inside the completely different Mas bands and even in sections of the identical band. Some costumes are less complicated than others, however most embody glitter, feathers, jewels, and brilliant colors. Usually, the extra difficult the costume, the extra you possibly can anticipate to pay for it. Often, bands have frontline or VIP sections that value extra. The added value for VIPs will usually include extra advantages. Typically VIP for carnival means extra get together tickets, a wider choice of meals and drinks, boat rides, and different unique conveniences and providers whilst you’re parading down the streets.

General, the associated fee you’ll pay to take part in carnival as a masquerader may be calculated by including the price of your flight, lodging, fete tickets, the price of your costume, and different incidentals. The value can range however there are methods to maintain your value down together with fastidiously deciding on the proper band in your finances, reserving your flight and lodging early, and being selective about which events you go to as there are a ton to select from!

get to Saint Lucia & the place to remain

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One of the simplest ways to get to Saint Lucia is by airplane. There are two airports on this island, one within the north and the opposite within the south. In case you’ll be heading to Saint Lucia from the UK, you’ll greater than doubtless arrive through the Hewanorra Worldwide Airport (UVF) in Vieux Fort. It takes roughly 9 hours to get from London to Saint Lucia by the use of this airport. The Hewanorra Worldwide Airport is about 1 hour away from Castries, the capital.

Apart from Castries, there are different in style areas you may need to try, particularly in the event you’re questioning the place to remain in Saint Lucia. These embody Rodney Bay, Pigeon Island and Gros Islet. All of those locations are positioned within the north of the island, which is the most effective place to remain in the event you’ll be in Saint Lucia for a carnival. Many of the main carnival fetes and parades happen within the north and there are some fairly wonderful resorts on this space as nicely.

When it comes to how one can get round in Saint Lucia, you may have the choices of taking a cab, renting a automobile, or taking the bus. A automobile rental in Saint Lucia will value round £350 GBP per week. This could range relying on the automobile rental firm and the kind of automobile you need to hire. It may be handy to get a automobile, however in the event you keep at an all-inclusive resort like Sandals Grande Saint Lucian or Sandals Halcyon Seashore, you could not want one. You may guide excursions by way of these resorts that embody choose up and drop off. You’ll additionally be capable to prepare transportation to get to the carnival parade simply as nicely. In truth, the carnival parade passes proper in entrance of Sandals Halcyon Seashore resort in Saint Lucia on each days!

Good to know: In case you’ll be going to some carnival events in Saint Lucia, renting a automobile may be the extra handy choice as you’ll be capable to get from place to position with ease. In case you plan on ingesting, a cab is perhaps the higher choice.

Planning your go to to Saint Lucia’s carnival

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We hope the above data helps you get a head begin in your Saint Lucia carnival planning! This island is certainly the most effective locations to expertise carnival, whether or not it is your first time otherwise you’ve walked these carnival streets earlier than. For the most effective carnival expertise in Saint Lucia, it is sensible to do your analysis and prepare for a very liberating and exhilarating occasion.

When planning a Saint Lucia Carnival getaway, it is very important determine early on the place to remain. Look within the path of the resorts in Castries as a result of these will greatest place you for the carnival motion. Sandals all-inclusive resorts are good for {couples} who need to be a part of the enjoyable! Not solely will you be capable to make your means simply to the varied occasions from any Sandals Resorts property in Saint Lucia, however it’s also possible to return to luxurious and full leisure when the festivities come to a detailed. A visit to the Sandals Resorts Crimson Lane Spa is perhaps so as after a day crammed with pleasure alongside the Saint Lucia Carnival route!

Professional tip: Employees at all-inclusive resorts in Saint Lucia are often prepared to share carnival ideas in the event you ask. This will help you navigate the novelty of this expertise and have a blast! Employees can even show you how to plan different actions and excursions on the island.

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