Hello to you and thanks for stopping by! If you’re planning your own Trinidad Carnival trip, you need to know the facts about this amazing festival, right? Tek a read (and watch) below for all of your Trinidad Carnival facts.
- The twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago are located all the way at the end of the Caribbean chain of islands, just off the coast of Venezuela
- Trinidad Carnival is the largest of the Caribbean Carnivals (and many say de best!). It’s also been called “the greatest show on Earth”!
- Dates of the Trinidad Carnival Parade: 2024 – Monday Feb 12 and Tuesday Feb 13; 2025 – Monday Mar 3 and Tuesday Mar 4 (the dates change every year based on the Catholic Lenten Calendar)
- The largest Parade happens in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad, although there are smaller parades that happen all over the island
- Started in the late 18th century and is dubbed the oldest “modern” Carnival
- Many Caribbean islands have based their Carnival on the Trinidad Carnival model
- Carnival parties (a.k.a. fêtes) start around the holiday season and continue right up to the Trinidad Carnival parade
History of Trinidad Carnival
- Trinidad Carnival started as a mockery of the plantation and slave owners in the 18th century, became a celebration of freedom, resistance and intense creativity
- Since enslaved Africans were forbidden from attending these celebrations, they created their own parties that were called canboulay
- During canboulay, masters were mocked and imitated, bringing rise the current “mas” costumes, s
- ome of which are “ole mas” costumes and characters e.g. Fancy Indian, Dame Lorraine, Jab Jab, etc.
- “Modern” mas is mostly “BBF” = Bikinis, Beads and Feathers
How to get to Trinidad Carnival
- Be prepared to purchase your flight at least 9-12 months in advance. Prices can vary wildly but will only increase the closer you get to the festival
- Many major airlines fly into Trinidad with a handful of airlines flying directly into Tobago
- Trinidad’s airport code is POS. Tobago’s airport code is TAB
- Current airlines flying to Trinidad:
- United Airlines
- American Airlines
- Caribbean Airlines
- British Airways
- Jet Blue
- Copa Airlines
Where to stay in Trinidad
- There are a wide variety of accommodations on the island, from internationally branded hotels to guest houses to private apartment rentals
- Here are a handful of popular hotel accommodations for you to check out:
- Expect for prices to be inflated during the Carnival season – you can pay 3 to 4 times more than during other times of the year
- Staying within Port of Spain and the surrounding areas (i.e. St. James, Newtown, Cascade, Maraval) is ideal as you will be closest to the main parade and other events
Trinidad Carnival Costumes
- This is the best way to partake in the Trinidad Carnival Parade. You can purchase a costume from local costume providers (a.k.a. mas bands) and “be” the parade!
- Expect Trinidad Carnival costumes to cost $600 US and up
- You can also be a spectator, purchasing tickets to be in the Queens Park Savannah or the Socadrome. Mas bands will pass through these venues, crossing the designated stages
- You will only wear your entire costume on Carnival Tuesday, the second day of the parade. Many masqueraders will wear casual clothing or Monday wear on Carnival Monday
- In case you’re wondering, the parade will have thousands of people spectating and participating
- Be prepared to take de heat and then some! The typical parade route is 13-15 miles, so your body has to be physically ready to go the distance if you’re playing mas i.e. parading in a purchased costume
Trinidad Carnival Music
- It’s no coincidence that Trinidad Carnival has its own soundtrack!
- Steelpan was created in Trinidad as resistance to African percussion being forbidden
- Created from rusty oil drums in the hills of Laventille, modern day steelpan is the only instrument created in the 20th century
- During Carnival time, steelpan competitions known as Panorama reign supreme with fierce rivalries
- Tickets can be purchased to attend the final competition of Panorama (a.k.a. Pan Finals) or you can “lime” at the Queens Park Savannah on Carnival Saturday (the Saturday before the Trinidad Carnival Parade)
- Another essential part of the soundtrack of Trinidad Carnival is soca music. We call it the happiest music in the world!
- Soca music is another Trini creation born from calypso music, with more of a driving bass designed to move yuh waist and yuh feet
- Did you know? Over 2000 soca songs are recorded annually
- And…the most played soca song on Spotify is: “Turn Me On” by Kevin Little (250+ million plays). Check out the video below
Then get our FREE Ultimate Guide of Getting to and Surviving Carnival! In our guide, we’ve included so much more info about Trinidad Carnival and other Caribbean Carnivals. Click here to sign up for it.
If you’d like a more in depth guide that will give you everything you need to plan your Trinidad Carnival trip easily, then Ultimate Trinidad Carnival All-Access is for you. This paid guide is your GPS to planning your own Trinidad Carnival experience. Click here to learn more.
And finally, if you’d like to just pack and show up, then Ultimate Trinidad Carnival is fuh you! Click here to find out more about our most popular travel experience.
Now Over to You:
Got questions about Trinidad Carnival? Leave us a comment below!
Til de next lime,
Team Events By Ashé