Taking place in April, Jamaica boasts one of the largest carnivals after Trinidad and Caribana (Toronto Carnival).
This year, 2023, was the first carnival following the pandemic. And, it was amazing, if I do say so myself.If you plan to go, please schedule your accommodations months in advance and go with a band that has a great reputation.
They have Uber, so you won’t have to worry about transportation. I stayed at Pegasus. It was simply amazing. A breakfast buffet is included free with your room. There’s a spa and large pool. This hotel has a 24 hour restaurant and there’s also a bar at night. By the way, most of the soca artists stayed there.
So, I saw quite a few. For footage, check out my YouTube and TikTok channels.
There used to be two carnivals in Jamaica before the pandemic. It has now combined and takes place in Kingston.
At first, I was hesitant. Previous conversations among friends were negative towards Kingston. Many referenced the movie Shottas. So, needless to say, I had pause. But, I went anyway because you know what? Stuff happens everywhere. Heck, watch the news in Charlotte.
I stayed for four delightful days. I played mas (joined the band, dressed up in costume) with Gen X. This, hands down, was the best decision ever. The costumes were beautiful and well put together. The delivery was on time. They constantly gave us food and drinks. Mas camp for lunch break had music, massages, tons of free food and drinks, and plenty of photo opps. I’ve decided to not shade other bands. I’m sure you’ll see the comments posted online.
I’ve been to several carnivals, so I had a general idea of how it would go. I absolutely loved jouvert (paint/powder party). This was the best jouvert I ever attended. The fete (party) started at 2am and ended around 9am. The most beautiful part was dancing and watching the sunrise…especially when you’re with your friends. Food and drinks were also included (Gen X). At the end, there was a performance by Problem Child.
With carnival, there are always tons of fetes. You must get with your crew and decide which ones you want to attend. Those can add up though. From what I hear, Jamaica’s fetes were not as expensive as Trinidad.
The parade took place on Sunday and we had a ball! The total route was 5 miles long! If you plan to go, please do tons of cardio to help you prepare. The trucks here are way faster than Miami. We had to practically run at certain parts. They aren’t strict about stormers (non mas players that walk with the band) as New York. We danced and laughed and had a great time! I met Omarion and Winnie Harlow.
Overall, I’d give this carnival a 9/10. The only reason I deducted a point was because of the lack of real addresses and because of the speed of the trucks. We were confused a few times and thought we were lost.I’m putting together a group for Miami Carnival in the fall. Complete the form if you’re interested.
4 thoughts on “Jamaica Carnival”
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog post about Jamaica’s carnival! It sounds like it was an amazing experience. I’m curious, what sets Jamaica’s carnival apart from other carnivals you’ve attended in the past? Thanks for sharing your experience and tips for those who plan to attend in the future.
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The people loved what they were doing and were so kind.
Next time I will play instead of storming lol
Yes, you should definitely play. Its way more fun.