Your 2020 Trinidad Carnival Planning Guide

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 19 – February 26, 2020 to have the most enjoyable time and attend the best fetes. There are two days of carnival so prepare your mind body and soul for that. Most veterans book their hotel/guest room stays by March/April, if you’re a newbie, you are already late.

Carnival Monday: February 24, 2020 

Carnival Tuesday: February 25, 2020 

Getting There 

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.

Places To Stay 

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 plan your carnival experience.

Hotels

Guest Houses

Who You Can Play Mas With

There are two days of carnival in Trinidad. Carnival Monday where you wear whatever you want or purchase Monday wear and Carnival Tuesday, the day you get to wear your costume. I know some of you are thinking it, but No, you cannot just wear your own costume and participate. You must register with one of the bands below.

Here is a comprehensive list of all 2020 Trinidad Carnival Bands.

Unsure which band to play mas with? Checkout the Trinidad Carnival band guide, or visit my 2019 Trinidad Carnival Review for feedback

What You Get for the price of your Costume

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 popsicles. *Amenities vary from band to band 

Where to get Trinidad Carnival Monday Wear 

Carnival Monday is come as you like day for the most part once you have registered with a band. You have the option of wearing your own designs or purchasing one from a designer. Here is a list of all the designers, check out their Instagram pages for Monday wear options.

  • cANYAval
  • Chandra Maharaj
  • Chez Zen Mas
  • Christian Boucaud Designs
  • Decoteau Designs
  • FonRose The Brand
  • Himaya by Nadia Batson
  • Humzee Designs
  • J’Fab Body
  • Keisha Als
  • Laura Narayansingh 
  • Marie Collette
  • Mika Mas
  • MonDiva by J.Angelique
  • Neil Young & Co. 
  • Rebel
  • Rhion Rhomany
  • Ryan Chan
  • Seatra
  • Shanyvo Designs
  • Sherise Stewart
  • Steffan Lorenzo
  • Vivre By Chelsea

Where you can Fete 

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.

Please note: Some fete tickets are harder to get than others, Tribe, Scorch, Caesar’s Army and Candy Coated are committee member based events. Soca Brainwash 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.

The 2020 Trinidad Carnival Fete List is Available 

Touristy Things To Check Out 

Once carnival is done, feel free to check out the island. Most people go to Tobago for a few days to relax before returning back to work. Here are some other things you can do if you have a free day or two:

  • Asa Wright Nature Centre (Trinidad)
  • Tour the Caroni Bird Sanctuary (Trinidad)
  • Maracas Bay (Trinidad)
  • Pigeon Point (Tobago)
  • Snorkel at Buccoo Reef (Tobago)

How Much It Will Cost 

  • Flight: $400 – 1200usd (depending on dates and location)
  • Hotel: $480 – $600usd  (double occupancy)
  • Costumes: $660 – $1800usd (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 $30usd and as high as $500usd)

Overall Budget: $3,000usd plus

Yours in Mas

 

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

29 thoughts on “Your 2020 Trinidad Carnival Planning Guide

  1. This was so informative!!!! I was wondering if you would know when it all opened up for 2020 to start buying fete packages?

  2. Agreed! Very good information. When buying tickets for Soca Brainwash, will the system allow you to purchase multiple tickets or one per person?

    1. Most times they set the limit to two tickets per purchase. you can always refresh and buy more.

  3. Where do I look to get all inclusive packages that include hotel, parties, etc. like the ones they had on Eventbrite?

  4. Thanks for the infos. I‘m wondering why Fantasy‘s website is down and no launch dare is known. Any idea?

  5. This was so helpful thank you so much!

    Probably a silly question, but we were looking at the beautiful costumes that have just been released for Bliss, Pure and Harts, and I was wondering: do groups usually all pick the same costume or are mas bands happy for different sections to mingle thus allowing me and my friend to pick a different costume!

    There’s too many to choose from!

    Xo

    1. Hi Eve, you have to choose the same band but you can choose a different costume in each band. Keep in mind, you and your friends will be separated once crossing the stage (if you choose different costumes) but you can find each other after.

  6. Bonjour savez vous si il est possible de faire que le Monday Wear et quel groupe le propose ?
    je suis obligée de partir le mardi.

    1. Tribe Carnival used to do a monday only option but they no longer do that. You would have to sell your costume on your own to get some of the money back.

  7. I’m a first time carnival goer and your planning guide has helped me tremendously. I was very confused and overwhelmed. Thank you for easing my anxiety.

  8. You are heaven sent! Thanks for all these details and guidance. In terms of backpacks, for a first timer, which size is more practical for all day wear? If you have a guide on choosing backpacks then I would love to read it.

    1. Thanks Christine. While backpacks aren’t heavy they are annoying to maneuver in crowds so it depends on if you feel like dealing with that in comparison to choosing a smaller collar.

  9. Can I just tell you how this article saved my entire life with the play by play! Thank you so much for this excellent breakdown. I am attempting Carnival for the first time in my life next year and I feel a bit more prepared after reading your article so thank you so very much!

  10. Whats the BEST date to fly in? for a small travel window when you’re doing road march but still want to go to at least 2 or 3 fetes. and also are there any whatsapp groups available

  11. This was very informative,,,, however my friends already purchased there costumes from tribe by the time I tried to book all their costumes were sold out…my question is if I choose to go with paparazzi band do I get to participate with my friends at tribes event with no. Co

    1. Hi Jasmine, if i understand correctly, you and your friends will be playing mas in different bands? Then unfortunately no, you will not get to participate in tribe’s band while on the road. You would need to secure a tribe costume

  12. Hey this is an excellent guide, thanks a lot. I think you may have addressed this in a previous Q/A, but I have to leave Trinidad on carnival Tuesday. Are you aware of ANY band that has a Monday/Monday Wear ONLY option? Many thanks sista…;-)

  13. Hi, thanks for this info.
    First-timer here…
    When bands say “we’re sold out”, is that usually final, in your experience?
    You mentioned Tribe’s bands. Does that mean that Tribe has more than one band in mass?
    What other bands are their’s?

    (anyone can chime in on this)

    Blessings

    1. Hi there. Yes if a band says sold out, it means that the costume section is no longer open for new registrants. Tribe bands refers to Tribe Carnival, Bliss, Harts, Pure, Lost Tribe and Rogue. Hope this helps

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