The Rising Cost of Carnival

Carnival is dear to many of us, as we enjoy the euphoric feeling, sense of freedom and non-stop joy and happiness that is associated with carnival season. But what about how much we pay for it? Global Carnivalist is a true supporter of spending money on “experiences not things” but carnival (depending on the location) can cost you upwards of four thousand dollars. For many, four thousand dollars would be much better spent on other things — home, rent, bills, an education, maybe even a vacation.

As carnival continues to grow in other islands like Jamaica, Bahamas and Barbados, so does the cost as many of these carnivals are trying to provide an all inclusive and exclusive experience like we’d get in Trinidad and Tobago. So how do you ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck? We think it depends on what you’re looking for from the experience. If you’re only into playing mas, perhaps traveling for just the mas days, and going with a less popular band (read: less expensive) might be the best option. For example back line in Trinidad with Ronnie and Caro could cost you $400 – $500usd, but backline with Tribe or YUMA will surely run you $800usd. Costumes for Miami Carnival used to run you $180usd including a headpiece and your drinks. In 2012, the cost of costumes hit $200 – 250 and have been climbing ever since. For Miami Carnival now, you will easily pay $300 – 350 for a backline costume.

The same also applies to parties. There are a lot of local events and pavement limes you could attend, that will not include alcohol so you can plan on purchasing your own drinks. It’s likely that the creme de le creme of people and DJs also will not be at these events. We  recommend a mixture of high and low cost events for a perfect experience. Some events in Trinidad like Brian Lara’s party is $400usd BUT you better believe this is a stush event, with well dressed families who usually come from money. A mid-range yet still expensive event would be something like Soca Brainwash ($125usd) or even Scorch ($90usd on average).

What would we recommend? Staying within your budget — aka your financial lane. Do not overspend on carnival and then not take care of your responsibilities at home.  All carnivals may not appeal to your budget either. Want the most bang for your buck and need a carnival out of the United States? Grenada Carnival, Antigua Carnival or Jamaica Carnival are much more affordable than Barbados or Trinidad’s Carnival.

Carnival Expense Chart 

$$$ – $$$$ 

  • Trinidad and Tobago Carnival — $$$$
    • Most expensive item: costumes and accommodations
  • Crop Over — $$$ 
    • Most expensive item: transportation and accommodations
  • Jamaica Carnival — $$$
    • Most expensive item: accommodations and costumes
  • Grenada Spice Mas Carnival — $$ 
    • Most expensive item: costumes
  • Miami Carnival — $$
    • Most expensive item: costumes and accommodations
  • Caribana — $$ 
    • Most expensive item: costumes

 

Yours in Mas

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Carnival from a masquerader perspective - Where to fete? Band reviews? What to wear? I got you!

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