Planning for Jamaica Carnival 2018

In 2015, when Jamaica Carnival had only one band, I called it. There were several reasons why any carnival chaser/virgin should attend Jamaica Carnival but now it is certainly a staple. I even know some folks who skip the mecca carnival, Trinidad Carnival, all together and venture to Jamaica. Jamaica is not only affordable, the carnival have vibes [and some really great fetes].

In 2017, we saw the introduction of two new bands, Xaymaca International and Xodus, and the re-vamp of an old band, Jamaica Carnival.

Unlike years prior, the bands will be launching much earlier in the season, hence why this article is being written, earlier than usual. Xaymaca International plans to launch their 2018 presentation, Luxe on November 11.

Jamaica Carnival 2018 events are on the following dates: March 31 – April 8, 2018. The parade will take place on April 8.


Jamaica Carnival offers most of the popular parties we’ve come to love from other carnivals. Scorch, Caesar’s Army, Candy Coated, and Roast are some staple promoters that will be there during carnival week. At a budget of around $1500 – $2000 USD, you can fete to your hearts desire then go home.

Based on our experience, this is a list of the best carnival fetes in Jamaica. This may change from year to year as some new fetes come on the scene and some previous contenders lose their sauce. Please check the 2018 Jamaica Carnival Fete List

  • I Love Soca Fete
  • Friday Night Blocko
  • Caesar’s Army AMBush
  • Sunrise Breakfast Party
  • Bazodee Frenchmen Fete


With several bands to choose from, masqueraders now have options. Amenities, costume quality, vibes and customer service should all play a major role in the band you select. Backline costumes can cost you about $300-$400usd, while a frontline costume can cost you about $500-$1000usd, depending on the band of your choice. For a veteran like me, it’s more than the costume, amenities are a BIG DEAL! Don’t you want your lunch stop to be in A/C? What about a vanity tent for your makeup? That’s Xaymaca International. Check out my review from 2017 and why I’d play mas with them again in 2018. Your band options are


Most of the reputable hotels are in a section of Kingston called New Kingston.  Some hotels to check out are,  Spanish Court, The Jamaica Pegasus and Courtleigh, located about 5 minutes away from the old Bacchanal Jamaica Mas Camp.  AirBnB is also an option for apartment rentals if a hotel reservation will not fit your needs.

Be mindful of the neighborhoods you might stay in and walking outside at night – Kingston can be dangerous. I highly recommend using notable taxi services and/or hired drivers for your transportation to and from parties. Some reputable taxi services are Mortec, City Guide, Express, El Shaddai and On Time. Check NetSearch Jamaica for contact information.

It’s time to start planning! Don’t feel like planning on your own? Nomadic Escapes can help. Email them for great carnival packages at Is there anything else you want to know? Ask me in the comments below.

Yours in Mas

GC Signature

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

30 thoughts on “Planning for Jamaica Carnival 2018

  1. Good afternoon,

    other than a nomadic are there any other carnival planning groups for ja carnival
    thank you.

      1. I want to participate, so I am originally from New Orleans, LA and my father lives in Kingston, JA- we celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans for 3 weeks and Mardi Gras Day (aka is carnival is always on Fat Tuesday, the last day of mardi gras. Is Carnival the same in Jamaica? Does the event go on for weeks period and it ends on April 8? I need to know when to come and I need advice ordering a custom. I am not sure where to start-any advice is greatly appreciated 🙂

      2. All the carnival events as mentioned above run from April 4th to April 9th. The carnival parade itself will be on April 8th. The four bands where you get to order a costume are listed above as well. Refer to the “where to get costumes” section regarding your costume options and click on the band name links. Best of luck

  2. Are all the events for the Jamaican Carnival in Kingston only or throughout the entire island (Negril, Montego Bay, etc.)?

  3. What hotel/s would you recommend staying at in Kingston during Carnival?
    Also will there be jouvert on the beach ?

  4. We are coming to carnival April 4-9 we want to know all the events that are going on? Can you help me out.


  5. Do you know if it is allowed to purchase a tshirt band and wear a custom-made Monday wear in the band?

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