Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Mon February 01 2016

Opinion Home | Notes from the Goats

  • Nick and Dariece | February 1, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    3 Caribbean Festivals You Don't Want to Miss

    3 Caribbean Festivals You Don't Want to Miss

    Photos by Goats on the Road unless otherwise indicated.

    The Caribbean is one of the most lively, colorful and beautiful regions in the world. The vibe on these islands is slow-paced and relaxed, the people are upbeat and outgoing, while the music and dancing is spicy and sultry. There are countless festivals pertaining to the varied histories and cultures of the many Caribbean islands— far too many to list, but make sure you don't miss out on these three!

    Carnival

    Perhaps the largest celebration in the entire Caribbean, Carnival is a must-see. This festival is celebrated during different months, in different countries around the world. Brazil has the largest celebration in Rio, while New Orleans in the USA offers Mardi Gras, which is similar to Carnival. Both of these parties take place during the month of February.


    carnival

    Back in the New World’s Colonial Era, the French, English and Spanish settled in the Caribbean, and brought over slaves from Africa. The French had masquerade balls and parties where everyone would dress up and dance, with many of the slaves not allowed to partake.

    READ MORE: What Do Travel Agents Look For in Caribbean Resorts?

    But with the abolishment of slavery, the blacks were suddenly free to express their traditions, emancipation and culture through dance, music and costume! With roots in slavery, Christianity and African traditions, Carnival is a mix of culture, religion and history. The largest party in the Caribbean string of islands takes place in Trinidad. This is the Carnival to see, and the place to be seen! Expect colorful costumes, loud soca music, dancing (wining) and lots of drinking.

    carnival in grenada

    You can pretty much see a Carnival celebration year-round in the Caribbean. Check out Aruba and Trinidad in February, Bahamas in December, Antigua and Grenada in August, Cuba and Barbados in July, and St. Lucia in May.

    Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica

    Reggae is a genre of music that originated in Jamaica, so it's fitting to hold this large festival on the island at Montego Bay. These days it's not just reggae music, but also a mix of dancehall, dub and hip-hop. Thousands of fans flock to the island every year to watch a wide variety of shows put on by their favorite artists.

    Most of the musicians are native Jamaicans, including Damian Marley and Stephen Marley, sons of reggae legend Bob Marley. However, many international artists have also taken the stage here including Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Usher, 50 Cent and more. This is a four-day festival in July with beach parties and concerts, don't miss out!

    http://www.reggaesumfestjamaica.com/

    Photo courtesy of reggaesumfestjamaica.com

    Crop Over in Barbados

    The island of Barbados is home to many sugar cane fields, which is actually one of the first things we noticed about the island. To mark the end of the sugar cane season, there is actually a harvest festival — any excuse for a party!

    READ MORE: Caribbean and Latin America Report Card 2015: Which Companies Earned High Honors?

    The tradition began in 1688, and apart from a couple of years during WWII, the festival has been going on annually. During Crop Over, you'll be able to watch calypso music competitions, eat delicious Bajan street food (and BBQ!), learn about the traditional arts & crafts, witness colorful parades, and of course, partake in the drinking and dancing. The three month event ends with the carnival parade, similar to that found in Trinidad, but this party runs from May until August.

    http://www.funbarbados.com/crop_over/

    Photo courtesy of funbarbados.com

    This is one lively party you won't want to miss!

    Ready to go?

    The Caribbean is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it's not all about luxury and lounging on pristine beaches! Step away from your resort or hotel and check out what the locals are up to. This is where you'll find moments that you'll cherish forever.

    Of course, one of the best times to connect with the local population is during one of the above three festivals. This is when people are joyful and in high spirits. They will be proud to show you their traditions and culture. Join in and have some fun! The Caribbean celebrations are waiting for you.

    Have you ever been to a festival in the Caribbean, or a Carnival in another part of the world? Tell us below!

More Caribbean

Comments

You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on TravelPulse.com. Click here to learn more.

Nick and Dariece Notes from the Goats

Nick and Dariece Nick and Dariece are the couple behind Goats On The Road, a website designed to inspire others to live a financially sustainable, location independent lifestyle. Masters at making money abroad and turning their travels into a way of life, they've been on the road since 2008 and have explored some of the least visited places on earth, finding adventure wherever they go. They are also full time contributors at Credit Walk where they share their expertise of making money and travelling forever. Check them out at Goats On The Road.com. and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Turquoize: The Adults-Only Experience at Hyatt Ziva Cancun

Hotels & Resorts