Where I Ate, Played and Stayed for Carnival in Bermuda 2023

Pink sand, pristine blue water and warm people, Bermuda is in my top 3 islands to visit – both for vacation and carnival. The fun I had this trip reminded me of the transcendent experience I had in 2017 when I first fell in love with the island. Carnival in Bermuda occurred over the Juneteenth holiday weekend; I cannot think of a better way to spend Freedom Day.

I arrived on the 21 sq mile island on Friday, after collecting my bags, we headed to Wahoo’s Bistro & Patio for a quick bite to eat. I had a delicious jerkWahoo wrap. Once fed, it was time to check into my home for the week, Grotto Bay Beach Resort. The eleven cottage traditional Bermudian architecture overlooks clear turquoise waters with its own cave and a restorative spa experience, which I am still beaming about. 

The Parties

We kicked off our carnival festivities at We Love Dancehall, an event dedicated to dance hall lovers, the genre loved by most Bermudians. They grew up listening to dance hall and that was very evident in the crowd participation. 

We opted to get bottles so I cannot speak to the efficiency of the bar but we had an amazing night. Most DJ’s selected a variety of dance hall hits dating back to the early 90s. We partied hard under the large tent until 2:30AM when a torrential downpour flooded the event and damaged some equipment which impacted the music. We were not sad, vibes were high as we excitedly left the venue bound for another party. 

Due to all the rain and choppy water, my beloved Raft Up was cancelled; I was happy the coast guards chose our safety over vibes so we spent the day resting and preparing our outfits for Euphoria. Euphoria was a drinks inclusive beach themed event. Fire Wayne, Mical Teja and Viking Ding Dong were some of the artists that performed and they did an amazing job. The crowd was engaged and the drinks were strong. DJs played a variety of music in pleasing combinations and styles to the crowd. At one point, the crowd was belting out Backstreet Boys lyrics in unison – so much happiness! 

Glow, the staple all-white Bermudian event was enjoyable as usual. DJs played to the crowd and cabanas filled with top shelf spirits were in abundance through-out the venue. This party has grown so much since I first attended in 2017 and remains the premier big people party.

The highlight to our evening was our decision to check out Spinning Wheel for the unofficial Glow after party and we had so much fun partying at this cherished Bermudian venue. 

Just before we hit the road, our powder stained bodies took to the streets of Bermuda in the wee hours of the morning. J.A.M Jouvert was superb; we drifted, levitated and happily chipped down the road. The hype was just a teaser of what would come during Revel De Road. 

The Touristy Things

In between events we sprinkled in some touristy things. I was fortunately invited to the Bacardi Limited HQ for an exclusive rum tasting and happy hour experience at their cocktail bar.  I learned so much more about the largest privately owned spirits company in addition to a crash course on aged rum and its unique flavor profiles. This experience is invite only and not for purchase but an experience I’ll always cherish. 

I spent a few hours at the Cathedral Cave at Grotto Bay Resort in addition to getting get a restorative and relaxing massage at the property’s Natura Spa. The massage was the perfect ending to my carnival experience as I had my soca weakened muscles revived within the privacy of a cabana in a cave. 

Since I’ve been to Bermuda many times I’ve been able to make some lifetime friends (s/o to Dboy & Jacky) I look forward to our annual carnival cool down of relaxing and laughing. We started our afternoon with a delicious meal at Pickled Onion on Front Street and then ventured to The Tasting Room, a wine and spirits retail shop. At Tasting Room, we tried out a few selections of wine before heading to Ocean View, the only Black-owned golf course on the island. 

In addition to all the fun we had, I did not have a bad meal. Bermuda is not an inexpensive place. A sandwich can cost upwards of $28 with a plated entree in the $48-60 range (and this is basic not fine dining) at minimum so budget accordingly. That said I enjoyed every meal and experience. My time at the spa and Tasting Room topping my non-carnival related activities list this year.

Carnival with Party People Entertainment

Party People launched virtually in February of 2023 with enticing costumes that sold me on their theme “The House of Dragons’. Before the launch was done, I knew I would be wearing “Blaze,  the hot gyal section of the theme. 

After registering, I had my Baddie Boots designed and ordered by Goddess Goblets, a UK based carnival accessories store. The boot itself is super light but don’t forget your insoles; the road is long. 

Baddie Booties by Goddess Goblets

The road experience was lit.  Band marshals were thorough and kept non-paying spectators (stormers) out of the way – even the ropes were upgraded. Toes were kept away from wheels as the big trucks navigated through narrow Bermudian streets. Lunch and snack stops were well organized,  there were marked areas for band masqueraders to enjoy. Both meals were delicious with our 7pm dinner being one of the most delicious carnival meals i’ve had. The band served a variety of options while I enjoyed my vegetarian channa and mac & cheese meal. The amenities make the band well worth the $560usd backline price tag. 

DJs played well and kept the crowd engaged even as it rained, and it rained a lot. The cool drizzle was the cool down mist we did not anticipate so it added to the vibes of the day.  

As we chipped down the streets one more time the truck turned into the masquerader only last lap where drinks were served around 830PM. The party continued well into the night. 

If you have been looking to add a different carnival to your list, checkout Carnival in Bermuda.  When you begin planning, secure your lodging first, as that tends to sell out quickly.  Set flight alerts by December to snag low priced flights and have your costume deposits ready by March. 

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

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