Party time in the Caribbean

Make everlasting memories by joining the fun at one of the Caribbean’s festivals, carnivals and events

What better way to fully immerse yourself in the Caribbean vibe than to party the evening away with locals. With a year-round calendar packed with carnivals, celebrations and concerts, the biggest challenge will likely be deciding which one to join.

Feel the beat

Festivals nightlife

From reggae meets to jazz festivals, music-lovers will find fun at festivals year-round across the region.

Starting off the year on a high note is Reggae Salute in Jamaica. Venture there in January and celebrate the home of reggae amongst the very best dancehall, roots reggae and reggae fusion artists, with arts and food villages to explore too.

In February 2023, Vujaday is scheduled to make a post-Covid return in Barbados – for five days of techno beats magic, mischief and mayhem. The self-proclaimed place where island relaxation and festival culture seamlessly intersect, this dance-music festival proves more popular every year. 

For a super-casual festival overlooking the ocean, the Virgin Islands Jam Fest takes place in St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands on the first weekend in March. On the same weekend in Cuba is Fiesta del Tambor, Cuba’s annual percussion festival. Get involved with drumming workshops or watch on as experts battle it out in competitions.

April brings all things jazz to Trinidad and Tobago with the Tobago Jazz Experience. Promising music, landscapes and ambiance, visitors will discover culinary delights and Tobago’s rich heritage.

Head to Aruba in May for the Soul Beach Music Festival (SBMF), regularly lauded as one of the best Caribbean music festivals of the year. Expect a buzzing party atmosphere with plenty of beats both day and night. 

For something a bit more chilled, Saint Lucia’s Wellness Music Festival strives to bring together wellness and music to nurture the mind, body and soul.

Starting in late September, the music line-up will feature a mix of international, regional and local artists who are advocates for the wellness lifestyle. 

Carnival crazy 

The Caribbean comes into its own during carnival, when locals sporting elaborate colourful costumes parade energetically through the streets, fuelled by the infectiously upbeat sounds of steel bands and, of course, generous helpings of good food and drink. There’s a whole host of carnivals across the region, each offering something unique and special to its home.

At Curaçao’s Carnival (February–March), it’s the parades that take centre-stage.

The Gran Marcha (The Grand Parade) and Marcha di Despedida (The Farewell March) are particularly unmissable. Unique to Curaçao’s Carnival is the Tumba Festival, where local artists compete to win the coveted title of Tumba King/Queen, in turn making their Tumba (song) the official anthem of that year’s carnival.

Antigua and Barbuda’s carnival takes place annually on the island of Antigua in late July/early August. The most important day of the celebrations is j’ouvert, when the sounds of brass and steel bands can be heard across the nation. 

Also in July is the Saint Lucia Carnival. In addition to parades, competitions are rife in Saint Lucia as revellers battle it out in the popular Power and Groovy Soca Monarch competition, Senior and Junior Panoramas (steel pan competitions), and the Inter-Commercial House Calypso competition. 

something different

Festivals different

The events calendar in the Cayman Islands is varied, with themed events for all tastes.
Foodies will be pleased to discover that the much-loved annual Cayman Cookout is making a grand return in January 2023 after a two-year hiatus.

As well as expert chefs who cook up some unbeatable creations, there is also a heavy emphasis on beverages, with various events and menus designed through the lens of master mixologists. 
For families, Pirates Fest is a must. No other Caribbean nation celebrates its pirate legends quite like The Cayman Islands. In November, expect pirate-themed party nights, costume contests, fireworks, parades, music and more across the islands.

The British Virgin Islands’ Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival returns in March 2023 with special celebrations promised as it celebrates its 50th edition. 

In Belize, home-grown specialties are showcased at the annual Belize Cashew Festival and Agriculture Show. The two-day event in May celebrates a wide array of cashew products, from pastries to wine, best sampled competitively in the cashew wine drinking competition.

Also taking place in May is the Grenada Chocolate Festival, at which visitors can join the locals and trek through tropical cacao forests, meeting cacao farmers and chocolatiers and discovering the health benefits of dark chocolate – and, of course, taking part in some obligatory chocolate sampling!