If the crystal clear waters, relaxed atmosphere, sandy beaches, incredible food, vibrant nightlife and tropical beverages aren’t reason enough to visit the Caribbean, consider coming for a festival. The annual festivals in the Caribbean celebrate music, food, sports and even poker.
Moonsplash – Anguilla
Moonsplash is a the brainchild of Anguilla reggae star Bankie Banx
and has been going strong for more than fifteen years. The festival started as a roving street fair before finding a permanent home at Rendezvous Bay. Moonsplash is held in the first part of the year, usually in February or March.
Tobago Jazz Festival – Tobago
For those that prefer their music to be a little more relaxing, there is the Tobago Jazz Festival. Every year the Festival draws superstar jazz and blues musicians from around the world and is one of the island’s largest annual events. The festival also celebrates local music and music influenced by Trinidad and Tobago’s artists and culture. The festival usually takes place in April.
Crop Over – Barbados
At one time Barbados was the world’s largest sugar producer and every July the Crop Over festival celebrated the end of the harvest. Now it is basically a five-week party complete with parades, markets, the crowing of the Queen and King of the Crop, concerts and parties. Crop Over also features heavy consumption of tropical beverages during the five-week festival that runs from July to August.
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure – Bahamas
Each January, thousands of professional and recreational poker players from all points of the globe flock to The Bahamas to play in the largest poker festival in the world outside of Las Vegas. The festival is held at the Atlantis Resort and features numerous poker tournaments and parties, and is a regular stop for the international superstars of the game.
Food and Rum Festival – St Lucia
If you truly want to experience the best of Caribbean cuisine and the islands’ iconic beverage, the St Lucia Food and Rum Festival held every autumn is the place to be. The event attracts an international group of superstar chefs, rum connoisseurs and foodies for tastings. Demonstrations, lessons and dinners with menus prepared especially for the event showcase the local food and rum, as well as the talents of the invited chefs. The festival also features music from reggae, calypso and jazz artists.
Pirates Week – Cayman Islands
The eleven-day festival held each November is the only one in the Caribbean to celebrate the contributions of the rogues that called the various islands in the area home. The festival features activities for all ages including sporting events, street parties with lots of dancing and food, costume competitions and pirate “invasions” at George Town harbour. The final Saturday of the festival features the marquee competition, the cardboard boat race which ends as one would expect in a race in which the boats are constructed of cardboard.
Hi-Winds Tournament – Aruba
Unlike most sail races that consist of watching boats move along the horizon, the Hi-Winds Tournament, which is held in Aruba in July is actually exciting for spectators as well as competitors. The Windsurfing regatta is open to amateurs and professionals alike. In addition to freestyle events where the windsurfers undertake manoeuvres, one expects freestyle biking and motorcycle competitions. There is also a kite surfing competition that takes place 40 feet above the water. And since it is Aruba, the tournament is complemented with lots of parties, club DJs and special events at the island’s bars.