Updated: May 13, 2019
Welcome to Trinidad! Trinidad is an island full on vibes, pace, music, and good food especially during carnival time. It’s one of the biggest carnival in the Caribbean and this island is the Mecca of Caribbean Soca music. Carnival is usually during February/early March time period an usually last about 2 weeks of festivities before Lent preparations. It’s my favorite time of year because it’s the time you see all the best costumes, flourish in the nice sunny island weather, enjoy the fun theme parties "fetes", eat the most delicious foods and Oh yes!! Fete out your heart to the sweet Soca music. This year, I last minute traveled to reset my “Good Vibes” for 2019 and to see my friends and family.
For planning, I recommend planning in advance with a friend or carnival concierge if you’re not a carnival veteran like myself because Trinidad carnival is a very expensive experience. It takes about a year of planning especially for housing, costumes, and to pay for fetes. Carnival is an expensive love, a tedious packing of all your essentials, and it takes a nice budget to organize for all the events. I recommend a fitness workout prior to carnival because it’s the longest dancing marathon that you will ever endure in the hot sun so prep your body with exercise, vitamins, and fluid’s accordingly.
For Flying, I recommend American or Caribbean Airlines. This year I traveled with Caribbean Airlines from New York for a straight flight into Port of Spain which is capital of Trinidad and I return flight home with American Airlines. For stay, if you're a first timer, I recommend staying at a big chain hotel like Marriot, Hilton, or Hyatt for all the accommodations or staying with a friend that lives in close proximity to Port of Spain. This year, I stayed in Airbnb rental for most of trip and then the Marriott hotel in which I enjoyed both. Carnival is my utopia, it’s my place of absolute joy it’s an experience that I recommend at least once in a lifetime or at least yearly if you enjoy it. I also recommend hiring a good driver, for all your travel needs throughout the island but especially to fetes because you will be extremely tired and island driving is different. But most importantly, Trinidad Carnival will leave your soul in the Savannah for music, feet at the SocaDrome for your best performance, your appetite missing all the yummy foods especially doubles and bake and shark, a duck roti with pumpkin & chick pea “Yum” just to name a few foods and your body missing all the feting sessions on the island.
So let’s view this amazing country!
Here are the following (7) recommendations for Trinidad:
1. Costume. The carnival parade is actually two days in Trinidad. There is Carnival Monday in which you wear whatever your heart desires and then there is Carnival Tuesday which is the dress up costume day. On both days there are long Carnival parades on the road that last from morning to night. I recommend finding a band and costume that you really love. This will be one of most expensive and important purchases during carnival and having the right costume and band vibes is a major key.
My carnival band this year was “Carnival Tribe” which is one the biggest bands for carnival. Music vibes was amazing on the road but band organization was not. The costume process takes about a year in advance it starts from the prior year in July. I recommend picking a good costume early if you really want a certain costume because bands sell out quickly. Since I was last minute, I found my costume on the website called “Fineahban”. I fell in love with my blue jeweled costume instantly that helped me kick-off my carnival planning once I picked it. Costumes come in various colors and there are various bands. But it’s all about the details, colors, and the cut of the costumes that accentuate your shape on the road.
2. Makeup. I love makeup especially during carnival time. I get to do the most vibrant and dramatic face beat. Carnival makeup takes time and can be pricey so choose a great makeup artist and plan appointments early. This year I was lucky to get an amazing makeup artist through “EyeConic Carnival” and I love my face beat for carnival. I made appointments for both Monday and Tuesday but only made Tuesday. Sleep will not be your friend during carnival. You will have to wake up early for the good appointments so plan accordingly especially for air brush makeup or lots of face jewels. The details of the colors, face gems, lashes, and bright lip colors are everything during this time. I recommend purchasing makeup in advance as well, buy two shades of foundation just in case your skin tan easily, buy lashes and face gems just in case, and buy makeup for oily or dry skin needs. I recommend a makeup checklist if you want to have the nice carnival face beat at the fetes which are parties. Or ask a friend that is great with makeup to assist with carnival makeup needs this will help with your planning or prepping as well. I had a friend help with some of makeup needs during some events and it was greatly appreciated.
3. Food. I’m foodie at heart so of course I have to highlight all the amazing food. Trinidad during carnival as some of the best food. If you like food with flavor, spice, Indian delicacies, or just tasty island food this is the place. I love curry chicken or duck and roti, bake and shark, and of course the famous “Doubles”. All the fetes during carnival time are mostly all-inclusive with all the great Trini food so indulge and thank me later. Trinidad even has some of best sauces like pepper sauce, tamarind sauce, mango chutney sauce, and even ketchup that is good. There are also local restaurants like “Zanzibar” or even street food on “Ariapita Ave” in Trinidad that has really good food. Even Trini KFC fast food taste delicious so don’t miss this treat “LOL”.
4. Fetes. This is the “Fete Land” mecca of Soca party in the Caribbean. I enjoy the best parties in Trinidad during carnival time. These parties are usually all-inclusive food and alcohol, themed, bikini or beach attire, and full of fun party details like signature glasses. Nothing compares to fetes in Trinidad during carnival time. These fetes will change your perspective on good party and will have you seeking tickets to return the next year. This year I enjoyed many fetes but my favorite are Caesar’s Army AmBeach, SocaBrianWash (SBW), Caesar’s Army AmBush, and SunnySideUp breakfast party in Trinidad. I recommend buying fete tickets in advance for better prices and get the ticket quantities as desired for groups traveling or for the popular fetes. For carnival beginners, I recommend trying a fete that you can be posh stush, a fete that you can get dirty with paint or mud, or even a fete that you get wet in the beach or pool access. For carnival veterans, I recommend trying a new or different fete each carnival so that can enjoy different party experiences. For the popular fetes like SBW, purchase tickets in advance because tickets will sell out fast or seek the assistance with a carnival concierge for tickets. You can even find carnival fetes tickets on the website called “Fineahban”. I also recommend hiring a good driver to getting to fetes as well.
5. Music. Carnival music “Soca” is the essence of carnival. Music is one of main reasons I book my flight to Trinidad. I love Soca music. This year I listened and danced aka “wine” to so much great Soca music not only from Trinidad but from other Caribbean islands such as Grenada, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia. 2019 Soca music was not only BEST but different this year that it even created Soca history in the islands of Trinidad, St. Vincent, Grenada for Soca Artist (Machel, Skinny Fabulous, and Mr. Killa). This year there was unity in Soca music and abundance of great music. This year was magical music year for Soca and I was happy to experience all the great music. I even experienced a music video “The Road” with artists (Machel and Ashanti) during Carnival Monday. There was so much music that I didn’t even hear on the road that came out during carnival that was great as well. I recommend getting a Soca “SoundCloud” playlist prior to carnival and even after to hear all the great music.
6. Wining. Let’s just say I practice, practice, and practice my waistline for the “wining”. This is the staple dance of carnival and will have you extremely tired but It’s totally worth it. Wining can be a slow or fast waistline dance movement to the grove of the music. It’s my favorite dance and I recommend enjoying this dance with a bae you love, friends for the great vibes, or learning some movements from family.
I recommend getting a Soca dance class or workout class prior as well. I recommend a great cardio exercise with endurance prior to carnival. This will help with dancing to the music and prepping your body for all the wining in fetes and the road.
7. Vibes. Trinidad carnival is full of “Energy, Pace, and Good Vibes” only. Choose your friends Crew wisely and its best to have group of people that you can have a great time with. I recommend planning with a group or with one person that is serious and that loves Carnival. Also, I recommend planning or asking family or friends that live on the island or that experience with Trinidad carnival for great recommendations. My parents are carnival veterans and they gave me the best advice for housing, safety, a driver, and things/places to go around the island. Carnival is expensive love and great experience that you can share with good friends or even family. Carnival creates fun life memories that are unforgettable. This year, I last minute stumbled across of group of friends that made carnival an incredible experience and we all bonded on levels beyond carnival as well. I made some friends for life and laughed hysterically at all the good jokes and fun times on the road and in fetes. I lost my voice, bruised my knee, and even missed a fete but my friends made sure I turned the bad moments into good moments or even funny stories that we’ll share. I had the time of my life in Trinidad and because of my friends and family it was best.
Live Passionately! See the beautiful world! Trinidad can be a great friends or family group travel vacation. Explore and Travel to Trinidad!
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