Grenada, often referred to as the “Spice Isle,” is a jewel in the Caribbean known for its vibrant culture, exquisite cuisine, and breathtaking natural landscapes. One of the most anticipated events on the island’s calendar is Spicemas, a lively carnival celebration that encapsulates Grenada’s rich heritage and traditions. This annual festival brings together locals and visitors alike in a captivating blend of music, dance, vibrant costumes, and a deep appreciation for the island’s treasures.
I arrived on Carnival Thursday, my journey began with a seamless process through immigration/customs and a warm welcome of smiling faces, steel pans and rum. As I boarded my taxi to my home away from home for the week, I reveled in how lush and green the island was. A 5-minute drive from the Maurice Bishop International Airport, we pulled up to Sandals Grenada – an all-inclusive resort.
WHERE I STAYED
Imagine stepping into a world of lush serenity, where every detail is meticulously designed to provide an exquisite escape from the ordinary. Sandals Grenada offered precisely that—an oasis of opulence nestled within the stunning Caribbean landscape. From the moment you arrive, you’re enveloped in a cocoon of luxury, where attentive staff, lavish amenities, and impeccable service combine to create an unforgettable experience.
Upon arrival, I was escorted to the “butler den,” where I was introduced to my dedicated butler who was at my service throughout my stay. This butler is not just a staff member; they become your personal concierge, ensuring that your every need is met. This service was a life saver in between events where I did not have time to grab a meal from one of the dedicated restaurants on property.
In addition to well thought out services, my bedroom suite was grand with my very own swim up pool, an outdoor and indoor tub, a large bathroom and ample living room space for me to relax and soak in the lush landscape of the resort.
WHERE I PARTIED
Calypso Monarch: Ticket Cost $25US
The Calypso Monarch competition in Grenada is a highly anticipated and prestigious event that forms an integral part of the annual Spicemas carnival celebrations. Calypso, a genre of music with deep roots in Caribbean culture, serves as a platform for social commentary, storytelling, humor, and artistic expression. Attending the Calypso Monarch competition reminded me of my carnival outings with my parents as a child.
Soca Monarch : Ticket Cost $40US General / $190US VIP
There is one event that captivates the hearts of both locals and visitors—the Soca Monarch competition. This annual soca music extravaganza, held on Carnival Friday, is not only a showcase of musical talent but also a manifestation of friendly rivalry and tradition that adds an electrifying pulse to the island’s carnival celebrations. This battle for two prestigious titles: Power Soca Monarch and the Groovy Soca Monarch, was exciting to witness in person. The whole stadium came alive as we each rooted for a winner.
The Biggest White : Ticket Cost $40US General / $190US VIP
The Biggest White Party was a celebration of grand proportions that showcased the epitome of elegance and excitement. We were transported to a world of sophistication, where the dress code revolves around the color white. As we entered through the exclusive VIP section, we were greeted by an array of delectable dishes and an assortment of drinks.
Central to the excitement of the Biggest White was an impressive lineup of live performances by renowned soca artists like Boyzie, Kes The Band, Skinny Fabulous, and more. The infectious beats and electrifying performances created an atmosphere of unbridled joy, uniting the audience in a shared experience of music and dance.
Rum Boat All Inclusive – Ticket Cost $150USD
We attended Rum Boat, hosted by C4 Promotions and Vibe Mas Carnival. Around 10AM, we boarded the Harbor Master and headed to the bar where we were greeted with strong cocktails. However, it seems that there was a mixed reaction to the meal option provided during the event, with many attendees not being satisfied. I must say though, the vibes were on overload. The mix of local and foreign DJs providing music created a vibrant atmosphere that kept the crowd filled with excitement.
STREET PARADE EXPERIENCES
I love being behind a big music truck, something about it just feels so free and transformative. So imagine how happy I was to see that I would get to jam behind a truck four times in two days. In Grenada, pace is the name of the game. After Biggest White, we prepared our bodies for jouvert. Baby oiled down, an integral pre-preparation ritual, we were bound for the Carenage around 4AM.
Jab Jab Jouvert – Monday at 5AM (Free)
Jouvert, a vibrant and free-spirited celebration, holds a special place in the hearts of Grenadians. This pre-dawn event is a powerful tribute to the island’s history and resilience. At the heart of Jouvert lies the Jab Jab masquerade, a deeply significant tradition that emerges as a testament to Grenada’s past and its indomitable spirit. My black charcoaled body releasing every remnant of worry. I felt so free. For me, the sight of Jab Jabs dragging chains was deeply moving. I had chills thinking about people who looked just like me shackled and mistreated.
Carnival Tuesday – 1PM (Included in Vibe Mas costume price)
Carnival Tuesday arrived, and with it came a day of jubilation. When I finally donned my costume, I was in awe of how stunning it looked. The gold body wear and intricate trimmings complemented my skin beautifully, creating a radiant and captivating ensemble.
The tropical heat was no match for the motorized fans but the pulsating beats of the music and the exhilaration was infectious. The carefully curated playlist encompassed the vibrant sounds of various Caribbean islands, with a special focus on Grenadian Soca. My Spicemas experience was extraordinary. The fusion of music, color, culture, and camaraderie made both days a joyous celebration that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
TOURISTY THINGS I DID
House of Chocolate: A Sweet Delight
Beyond the festivities of Spicemas, Grenada’s chocolate heritage beckons visitors to delve into its delectable world. The island is known for producing some of the world’s finest cocoa beans, and its chocolate industry has gained international acclaim. The House of Chocolate, a hidden gem in St. George’s, offers a delightful journey through Grenada’s cacao history. At the museum we learned about the chocolate-making process, and savored exquisite chocolate creations. This immersive experience adds a delectable layer to the island’s cultural offerings during the carnival.
Spicemas in Grenada is a celebration that encapsulates the soul of the island, seamlessly blending cultural heritage, delectable flavors, and carnival characters. From the bustling Carenage to the captivating Jab Jab parade, each facet of this carnival paints a vivid picture of Grenada’s charm. As the rhythms of soca music intertwine with the island’s heartbeat, Spicemas stands as a testament to Grenada’s ability to honor its past while embracing the vibrancy of the present. It’s an experience I will never forget.
Interested in attending Spicemas? Here’s a guide to get you started: Planning Grenada Carnival Guide 2024
Stay Pure Grenada