Planning Jamaica Carnival 2019

How long have you been waiting for this 2019 Jamaica Carnival Planning Guide? (Smirks). Jamaica Carnival has recently (in 2017) earned its way to the top, easily considered one of the top 5 carnivals worldwide. Here is what you need to know for planning success.

Jamaica Carnival 2019 events are on the following dates: April 24 -April 29, 2019.

The parade will take place on April 28, 2019.


Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon


Jamaica has two airports, KIN in Kingston, where all the events are being held or MBJ in Montego Bay. It may be cheaper to fly into MBJ but keep in mind you will have to take a bus or taxi to Kingston.


Jamaica Carnival offers most of the popular parties we’ve come to love from other carnivals. Soca Brainwash, Scorch, Caesar’s Army, Candy Coated, and Roast are some staple promoters that will be there during carnival week. In 2018, there was a burst of new events added to the schedule so you have plenty of options.

A 2019 Fete List will be released in February 2019.


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. Your band options are:

Checkout my 2017 and 2018 Jamaica Carnival Reviews for more insight.

Jamaica Carnival 2018
Photography Credit: Lehwego


Most of the reputable hotels are in a section of Kingston called New Kingston.  Some hotels to check out are, R Hotel,  Spanish Court, Courtyard MarriottThe Jamaica Pegasus and Courtleigh.  Though Terra Nova is not in the heart of New Kingston, is it also a viable option. 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.


If you traveled from far or plan to make Jamaica a relaxing vacation after you finish wining on the road, here are some places to check out while you’re already on the island.

*Dunn’s river can be very touristy, another option is to visit the glistening waters in Falmouth.

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!

23 thoughts on “Planning Jamaica Carnival 2019

  1. Thank you for this post – will come in handy come April! Very excited to attend this year. My flight and hotel are already booked! This will be my first time attending Carnival in Jamaica, so I was wondering how hard is it to register with these bands if I’m coming from the States? Any insight you can provide will be appreciated. 🙂

    1. You are most welcome. Registration is very easy, you can sign up for a costume through each band’s website.

    2. Hi, thanks for the tips. I’m seeinf Xaymaca advertise an outfit as a “Monday wear” option. I thought this was only in T&T. Could you give us a little more insight to what happens on the 29th?

      1. Monday wear is in reference to the outfit only. It simple means it’s a more toned down costume. Jamaica is a one day carnival, so should you select a “Monday wear costume”, that is what you will wear on April 28th for the road. Only parties occur on April 29th. Hope this helps.

  2. Thanks for the helpful info. Question… would you recommend booking it through a travel service or booking things separately? Which do you think is more cost effective?

    1. It would cost you more if you used a concierge service since they charge a convenience fee however, you are paying to avoid the hassle. Check out Nomadic Escapes and tell them I sent you

  3. Hi. Thanks, this is so helpful. Which day do you think would be a good day to arrive? Meaning when do all the parties start ?

  4. This information is great! Flight already booked… told my mum we’re going to carnival as long as I’m paying lol. Which is the cheapest band would you say for a back line costume?

  5. If you’re going with a group, does everyone have to get their costumes from the same band site to stay together for the road parade?

    1. Yes, you have to play mas in the same band for the parade. However, You are able to choose different sections [costumes] within that one band.

  6. Hello,do you know if you have to register with a band to wear a costume? Also, do we watch the carnival from the side of the road or do we ALL walk the roads?

    1. Hi there. you could create your own costume but then you would not be allowed to walk in any band. and yes as a spectator, you would watch on from the sideline.

  7. Hello. Hellshire Beach is on out itinerary for our visit to Carnival. I’m seeing a lot of mixed reviews. I just wanted to get your opinion on this location and possible alternatives. Thank you. Your website is very insightful!!

    1. It depends on why you’re going. Hellshire is a good beach for seafood but not to bathe in. Typically you would have to drive out to the coasts for a cleaner beach and that can take 2.5 hours of your day each way. Fort Clarence is an option for semi bathable with food as well but i don’t see it as a great beach either.

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