Trinidad Carnival is one of THE most attended carnivals in the world. Carnival chasers and virgins mark this as the highlight of their carnival bucket list and it also sets the tone for all other carnivals to follow. Plan to attend for at least a week, February 27 – March 6, 2019 to have the most enjoyable time and attend the best fetes.
Keep in mind, partying has been extended through the Saturday after Carnival Tuesday, like Private Ryan’s Post Carnival Relief event, and Tribe’s Last Jam.
FLY – Flying into Piacro International Airport (POS) is your ONLY option. (Unless you somehow get into Tobago but that’s just doing the most). We recommend buying flights before band launch to avoid paying outrageous airfare costs or waiting until November/December when flights go down a bit. Flights from JFK are currently in the $700 to 900usd plus range right now.
Part of what makes planning to attend Trinidad carnival frustrating, is the lack of accommodations. Thousands of people are coming into the country and so the demand is way higher than the supply, which is how you end up with hotels that are $500 a night. Here is a list of some lodging locations to help you best plan for your carnival experience.
- Coblentz Inn Boutique Hotel
- Chaconia Hotel
- Hilton Hotel
- Kapok Hotel
- Carlton Savannah
- Hyatt Regency
- Travel Suites LTD
- Savannah Maison
- Manuelita Villa
- Villa Marie Inn
- Liam’s Guesthouse
- Chaconia Hotel
- Monique’s Guest House
- President’s Inn
- Gingerbread House
The bands typically launch early July through August. Here are the upcoming band launches for the 2019 carnival season:
- Paparazzi is scheduled to launch their “La Belle Epoque “ theme on July 7
- Tribe, Harts, Pure, Rogue, Lost Tribe & Bliss are scheduled to launch their “The Empire” theme on July 21 and 22
- Ronnie and Caro is scheduled to launch “Let’s go Tobago” on July 20
- YUMA is scheduled to launch their “Jukebox” theme on August 14
- Legacy Carnival has not released their theme yet
- Fantasy and Entice has not released their theme yet
WHAT DO YOU GET
While costume prices may shock the newbie carnivalist (prices are in the $500 to $2000 range), you get ‘bang for your buck’. There are two days of carnival in Trinidad, so divide the price by two so you can justify it (smirks). Here is what is included in your costume price if you choose a premium band:
- Your Costume
- The Band – Other masqueraders, vibes, trucks, DJs, speaker boxes
- Unlimited top shelf alcohol
- A Goody-Bag
- Meals and Snacks – Both days
- Extraction Team and Security
- Medical aid and ambulance service.
- *After party (With Tribe’s bands)
- Mobile Restroom
- Amenities – cool down zone, re-touch zone, glue on your gems station, massage station, ice cream or Popsicle. *Amenities vary from band to band
Carnival Monday used to be known as the casual day masqueraders could wear a tank top with some pum pum shorts and their band’s insignia somewhere on the outfit, those days have long changed. You have so many options, but make sure to contact designers early. Monday Wear sells out quickly.
Carnival fetes will be the highlight of your experience. Year round, you hear carnival attendees reminisce about the bess fetes like Soca Brainwash, Scorch and Candy Coated Wine Down.
Some fete tickets are harder to get than others, Tribe, Scorch, Caesar’s Army and Candy Coated are committee member based events. Socabrainwash is first come first serve but sells out in record time – 7 minutes to be exact. Budget around $130usd for an all inclusive fete, and $85usd for entrance only.
A comphrensive fete list will be available in November 2018.
- Flight: $400 – 1200usd (depending on dates and location)
- Hotel: $480 – $600usd (double occupancy)
- Costumes: $760 – $1600usd (depending on backline/frontline and band)
- Transportation: $100 – $700usd (depending on if you hire a driver or get a car rental within a group)
- Fetes: $500 – $1200usd (depending on how many fetes you choose to attend, fetes are as low as $70 and as high as $400)
Overall Budget: $2,500usd – $5,000usd
You should already be planning your Trinidad Carnival 2019 experience, if you haven’t started, now is the time.
*Photography Credit: iDouglas Photo*
Yours in Mas