Trinidad Carnival 2020 – Complete Planning Guide

Carnival 2020 Trinidad Dates – February 24th and 25th, 2020

Farewell to the flesh, often referred to as the greatest show on earth, Trinidad’s Carnival is undoubtedly the most anticipated event on the island’s calendar and the most rivaled Carnival worldwide.

Officially a two-day event, this festival spans from Boxing Day and culminates on the 2 days prior to Ash Wednesday with the Parade of the Bands on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. This year Carnival will be celebrated on February 24th and 25th, 2020. So, pack your bag and let’s go. 

How to get to Trinidad and Tobago?

Your first task is to get there. Although there are several airlines flying to Trinidad on a weekly basis and additional flights are made available just for the Carnival season, you need to book your flights early to get the best fares.

Some of these airlines include:

Caribbean Airlines
American Airlines
Air Canada
British Airways
Liat
Copa Airlines
JetBlue
United

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Where to stay during Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2020?

As with your flights, it’s best to book your accomodation early to take advantage of early bird rates as well as to find a hotel in close proximity to all the action.

There are several hotels and guest houses in and around Port-of-Spain inclusive of :

Hyatt Regency
Trinidad Hilton
Hotel Normandie
Courtyard by Mariott
Radisson
Kapok Hotel
Alicia’s Palace

If you want to create your own experience at a home or looking for a cheaper alternative there are also several AirBNB’s which you need to book as soon as you book your flights.

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What to do and see during Trinidad Carnival 2020?

Once you land in Trinidad you would want to get over your jet lag as soon as possible as there is lots to do especially at Carnival time.

The atmosphere will be really festive and the vibes will have you ready to party from the time you land.

There are several events and activities you can partake in during the Carnival season including:

1. Visit Calypso Tents

If you would like to experience traditional Calypso in its original form you must visit one of the many Calypso Tents.

There are several Calypso Tents throughout the island which feature this artform on a nightly basis. Songs vary from humourous satire to political jabs at the ruling parties.

Tents usually open the 1st or 2nd week in January. Show times are advertised online and in the local newspapers.

Below is a list of some of the popular ones for carnival 2020:
Klassic Russo
Kalypso Revue
Kaiso House
Kaiso Karavan
Kaiso Showcase
Yangatang Calypso Tent

2. Panorama

Panorama is a steelpan band competition hosted during the Carnival season. It features several categories including competition among Single Pan Bands, Small Conventional Bands, Medium Bands and Large Bands.

The steelpan is the only percussion musical instrument to be invented in the 20th century. This national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago which was forged in the hills of Laventille in Trinidad and it has become synonymous with Trinidadian culture.

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3. Main Events

Playing mas on Carnival Monday and Tuesday is a must, however, there are some signature events leading up to the main celebration which is a must-attend.
These include:

International Soca Monarch

This is the major soca competition bring together both Groovy and Power. Unlike its predecessor Calypso, Soca is the party music. It’s often more fast-paced and sensual. Competitors are not only from Trinidad but hail from the entire Caribbean Region. In fact, the winner and current reigning Champion is a Mr. Killa from Grenada

Extempo Monarach

This features the witty spontaneous artform of Extempo. Extempo is a freestyle form of Calypso. Competitors are given a topic and they are able to miraculously and often humorously sing about on the spot. Topics include current affairs and often include lyrical jabs at the other competitors

Chutney Soca Monarch

Being a cosmopolitan nation, Trinidad has many ethnic groups including descendants from East India. Chutney Soca involves the infusion of East Indian culture and music with soca to form the unique genre of Chutney Soca. This competition features the best of this artform. Also try these top Caribbean recipes.

Dimanche Gras

This a great spectacle held on Carnival Sunday. It features King and Queens of Carnival Bands, Calypso Monarch Finals as well as other traditional cultural representations such as limbo and traditional Carnival characters

About Trinidad

Capital: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Scarborough, Tobago
Population: 1.3 million
Language: English
Currency: Trinidad and Tobago dollar
Religion: Protestant, Roman Catholic
National Bird: Scarlet Ibis
National Flower: Chaconia
National Dish: Crab and Callaloo, a leafy green dish cooked with a variety of spices
Motto: “Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve”
The National Flag: The flag has a red background with a black stripe and running from the top left corner to the bottom right. On either side of the black stripe is a slimmer white stripe. The red represents fire, the black represents earth, and the white represents water.

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4. J’Ouvert

Before the sun comes up on Carnival Monday we have J’Ouvert. Masqueraders cover themselves in different substances such as mud, oil, paint and even chocolate.

This is what is often termed the ‘dutty mas’ and is quite a spectacle in the wee hours of the morning. There is also the Ole Mas competition which features humourous satire of current issues facing the country.

This runs from 4:00am and officially heralds the start of 2-day culmination of the Carnival festival.

5. Play Mas on Carnival Monday and Tuesday

Carnival is colour Carnival is mas! If you want the ultimate Carnival you must “play mas” in the streets in Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Playing mas involves a huge street parade with music trucks, lots of drinks and food and of course your Carnival costume.

Most of the popular bands are all sold out within minutes of registration. The Carnival bands feature all-inclusive packages inclusive of your costume, meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, security, washrooms and of course a series of music trucks playing soca music all day long for you to dance to include:

Tribe Carnival
Bliss Carnival
The Lost Tribe
Harts
Paparazzi Carnival
Ronnie and Caro
Legacy Carnival
Yuma
K2K Alliance

6. Fete After Fete After Fete

If you love to party then this is the place for you. Enjoy endless nights and some days too of the pulsating rhythms of soca music. There are many fetes that vary from boat cruises and cooler limes to all-inclusive events and concerts.

7. Tourist Attractions

After Carnival don’t rush to return. Take time out to visit one or two of the many historical destinations on the island or hop on the ferry or a Caribbean Airlines flight over to Tobago for a more laid back experience, sandy beaches, great food, and warm friendly people

Safety tips during Trinidad carnival

As with any destination, do not throw caution to the wind. Be mindful that there will be a large number of persons reveling in the streets as such be mindful of these safety tips:

Travel in groups.
Do not wear excessive jewelry.
Do not accept drinks from strangers – go the bar or music truck yourself and keep an eye on your drinks.
Secure valuables in hotel safe.
If you rent a vehicle have a designated driver who is not consuming alcohol.

More information about Trinidad and Tobago.

Shop Costumes For Trinidad Carnival 2020