Every island in the Caribbean Country celebrates at least one major event per year, sometimes even more. All you need to do is check out the countless Caribbean festivals in the calendar to know how true this is.
What is more, one look will tell you that they know how to throw a party. So if you’re looking for tasty and authentic food, pulsating music, and loads of fun, you should attend one of these events.
The question is, which one? Some focus on musical performances, different Caribbean cultures, Caribbean food, and everything in between.
To help you make the right choice, below is a rundown of the most exciting festivals that you can’t afford to miss.
Caribbean Festivals You Shouldn’t Miss
Whether you are looking for a beach music festival, a carnival, or a celebration of Bahamian culture, we’ve got you covered. Set aside a few days or more for one of these Caribbean events.
1. Trinidad and Tobago Carnival
All countries reserve at least one day each year to showcase their culture and share it with the rest of the world. Those in the Caribbean take this seriously, and it shows in the way they celebrate—with great passion and reckless abandon.
However, among them, few can match the revelry of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. This is one of the oldest carnival festivals in the Caribbean, second to Brazil in the world. With a variety of bands with an array of costumes to choose Why not join in?
Watch street parades powered by calypso music and do other fun things for days or even weeks.
This year’s edition of the cultural celebration is already in the books, but you can start saving for next year. It is set for February 20, 2023.
2. The Bahamas- Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival
Arguably the biggest and most colorful Caribbean festival in the Bahamas, Junkanoo has people dressing in the most garish attire possible. There is music and dancing too.
The good thing is that it is not reserved just for the locals. Tourists are welcome to join and dance to music, as long as they follow the association’s rules.
Junkanoo is typically held every December 26 (Boxing Day) and New Year’s Day in the early hours of these days. However, make sure that you keep track of changes that could affect this year’s schedule of festivities.
3. Saint Kitts Music Festival
Caribbean music festivals are known for being vibrant and full of energy. The same is true for the Saint Kitts Music Festival.
It is a five-day Caribbean event that includes musical performances by A-list international artists, beach parties, and boat rides to popular islands.
It was first held in 1996 under the name Shak Shak Festival. It has since been a big part of the local culture of St. Kitts.
This year’s version of the Caribbean festival marks the 25th anniversary is set for June 23rd to 25th, so you better mark your calendar.
4. Jamaica – Reggae Sumfest
There is no shortage of Jamaican festivals, but none are as big as the Reggae Sumfest.
As you can probably guess, it primarily celebrates reggae and dancehall music, but also features other genres of Caribbean and world music. So expect a healthy dose of Bob Marley’s songs and performances from the likes of Koffee and Taurus Riley.
You can also look forward to local up-and-coming reggae acts. This year, Reggae Sumfest will be held on the third week of July at Montego Bay.
5. St. Martin – SXM Festival
The SXM Festival is another newcomer to the Caribbean celebration scene. Nevertheless, it is now one of the most talked-about music festivals in the region.
It is a five-day event that features today’s most popular techno and underground house performers.
The music is more forward-leaning, which is one of its charms in the first place. Add to it the natural beauty of St. Martin, and you’ve got a sure hit.
If you missed it last month, you could always catch next year’s celebration which takes place on March 10th – 15th 2023.
6. Aruba – Soul Music Beach Festival
Aruba is a gorgeous island and is worth a visit on its own. However, if you need more motivation to make the trip, here’s one more: the Soul Music Beach Festival.
Now in its 20th year, this annual festival showcases performances from musicians and comedians.
These acts are interspersed with the best Caribbean food and healthy doses of themed parties set against beautiful beaches.
The six-day event will start on May 25 and end on May 30.
7. Cayman Islands – Pirates Week
If you want an excuse to wear an eye patch, head to the Cayman Islands for Pirate Week. It is a nod to the country’s fascinating history of plunder at sea.
However, make no mistake; it is a family-friendly celebration with many street dances, fireworks, costume contests, and other fun activities.
There is even a mock invasion of George Town harbor followed by a “trial” of the pirates. We should note the month in which this event occurs…in November but this year is not yet confirmed as far as I know.
8. Barbados Crop Over
The Crop Over marks the end of the sugar cane harvest in Barbados.
Before you dismiss it, consider this: it features weeks of parades, concerts, and markets. It also involves a lot of drinking.
So if you are looking to escape your bustling city life and immerse in the Bajan culture, visit Barbados for this year’s Crop Over. The main celebrations for Crop Over occur during the first weekend of August beginning on 27th July 2022 and running until Tuesday 2nd August 2022. The biggest day of carnival takes place on Grand Kadooment Day which 2022 is Monday 1st August 2022.
9. British Virgin Islands – Emancipation Day Festival
The British Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival is a celebration of the native ancestors’ freedom from colonialism and our cultural history. During this time, we showcase the culture and history of our people in grand style with extravaganzas of local and international music, pageants, Food Fairs, Rise & Shine Tramps (early morning street dancing), parades, gospel celebrations, and folklore presentations.
Considered the most important cultural showcase in the BVI, this festival takes place from July 25th to August 3rd, 2022.
10. St. Lucia – Creole Heritage Month
Creole Day was first observed in Saint Lucia in 1981. Since then, this festival of French Creole heritage has grown into a month-long celebration of music, dance, cuisine, art, and other forms of cultural expression.
The festival honors the richness and diversity of Saint Lucia’s cultural, ethnic, and artistic legacy. The Festival concludes on the weekend of October 25 with the celebration of Creole Day (Jounen Kweyol) in several villages throughout the island, featuring musical, dramatic, and other performances, seminars, and lectures, a range of gastronomic delights, street celebrations, and art exhibitions.
11. The Bahamas- Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival
Bahamian Junkanoo is one of the Caribbean’s most celebrated and spirited carnivals. Held each year in the crisp early hours of Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. The event is a showcase of Bahamian culture influenced by the island’s rich history. It takes the form of a street parade and features revelers adorned in colorful costumes rushing for hours along Bay Street in Nassau. Patrons are warmed by the pulsating sounds of cowbells, horns, and goatskin drums in the fresh air. In fact, the event has grown in popularity, and smaller versions of the event can be experienced during the summer months. Preparations for the event literally take months and bring together men and women from all different walks of life.
Take Your Pick
There are plenty of Caribbean festivals that can make your trip to the islands worthwhile.
So what are you waiting for? Hop on a plane, head to one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, and have the time of your life!