A young woman performer in Guadeloupe wearing a traditional carnival outfit. Source: Wikimedia
Caribbean tourism in 2017
can be expected to be at its highest point, with a year filled with exciting events taking place around the region: from Carnival celebrations, to Sailing Weeks, the Crop Over Festival at Barbados, and fantastic music festivals or patron saints’ festivals, every month brings at least one fun celebration worth attending.
January was quite an eventful month, with the renowned Championship Bahamas at Paradise Island
, but it is now already behind us. Looking to the near future, both the Saint Thomas International Regatta Stir and the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival in the British Virgin Islands are just around the corner. Fans of yachting and watersports cannot miss these two events, both of which take place at the end of March.
In addition to this, between February and March, many locations around the Caribbean celebrate the traditional Carnival festivities, including Martinique, St Martin, Belize, Aruba and, of course, Trinidad and Tobago. The Grand Bahama Carnival kicks off on April 14, while the main event is going to be celebrated in Nassau from May 4-6.
Antigua hosts the Sailing Week at the end of April, which is a fun rendezvous both for sailors and spectators, as several parties take place during the event, which runs until May 5. The same month, Barbados starts to celebrate its most famous event, the summer Crop Over Festival
, which usually attracts many visitors who choose the island as their holiday location. With the main events taking place between June and August, the traditional harvest festival dates back to the colonial period and is a trademark celebration that each year ends with the memorable Kadooment Parade.
Film lovers also have something on their plates, as Puerto Rico celebrates the tenth edition of its acclaimed film festival from March 27 - April 2. Moreover, the Bermuda International Film Festival
(BIFF), featuring the best films from around the world, as well as the work of new talent, runs from May 1 - 6. The main venue of the BIFF is Earl Cameron Theatre, which is where the award ceremony also takes place.
One of the Caribbean’s premier cultural event, the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, is another must in May, and just like every year its line up consists of renowned musicians that play in the unique setting of Pigeon Island. Another music festival that will unquestionably attract many visitors is the 25th edition of the Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica. Montego Bay hosts this week long celebration from July 16-22, with the lineup still to be unveiled. Santo Domingo is another hot spot to dance, with the Merengue Festival taking place between July and August at its promenade.
A trumpet-player in Guadeloupe wearing traditional carnival head-dress and outfit. Source: Wikimedia
Other highlights are the San Pedro Lobster Festival in Belize (June 15), the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival in Aruba (September 15-16), not to mention the 35th America’s Cup
(presented by Louis Vuitton) that runs from May to June in Bermuda. November is the month of the Barbados Food & Wine & Rum Festival, while December brings Jazz à la Martinique, the Cayman Islands Marathon and Lord Nelson's New Year's Eve Pursuit Race in Antigua, among other festivities.
Even if there is no special event marked on the calendar, every Friday Saint Lucia’s jump up street party – which has been taking place for over a century now – is always an option. And when the year ends, all we have to do is to look forward to next year, starting with the Championship Bahamas all the way through Carnival and summer festivals.
With all of these options, which just seem to get bigger every year, it’s fair to say that there never really is an off-season in the Caribbean.