OUR 5 ALL-TIME FAVORITE CARNIVALS

A mesmerizing array of colorful parades, decorated floats, and unique traditions, outside of Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans.

Carnival is held annually in the Port-of-Spain area. Events kick off the Monday before Ash Wednesday, at 4am, with J'Ouvert followed by “Pretty Mas.” The festivities culminate in a big blowout celebration on Tuesday. 

 

Expect lively masquerade bands playing variations of calypso, historical reenactments, political satire, and vibrant processions of folks in costumes.  This celebration primarily draws its influences from French plantation owners, African slaves, Spanish and English colonial powers, Indian laborers, and the many other ethnic groups that settled in the area. Photo By: CarnavalStudios.com | Flickr

 

The main parade route includes the Great Western Road, Chepstow Road, Westbourne Grove, and Ladbroke Grove, in west London.  This is a 2-day celebration taking place over the August bank holiday weekend.  

 

Starting in the morning on both days, revelers will be treated to amazing floats accompanied by flamboyantly costumed performers, dancing to music from traditional Caribbean bands.  First held in 1964 as a nod to the Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, the Notting Hill Carnival has remained true to its Caribbean roots, bringing a spirit of diversity to London.

Carnival takes place along the seaside promenade, during the entire month of February.  Special activities are held on the 27th to commemorate their independence from Haiti. 

 

This event is distinguished by its colorful costumes and masks often depicting many religious and traditional characters.  A prominent character in the parade is Diablo Cojuelo, a limping demon who was banished to Earth for being a clownish prankster.  This celebration started as an escape from the pressures and rigidity of religious tradition.  

Photo By: Dominican Ministry 

St Mark’s Square is the venue for this 2-week-long Carnival, with a grand finale the day before Ash Wednesday. 

 

Visitors enjoy exclusive masquerade balls and countless parades where merrymakers strut around in elaborate costumes and masks.  This tradition started in the 13th century.  Venetians would wear elaborate masks to conceal their identity and indulge in illicit activities, while partying the night away.  This was the only time when the lower and upper classes mingled together.  Photo By: Giorgio Minguzzi | Flickr

The Olinda Carnival takes over the streets of the colonial district on Friday and ends on the Tuesday before Lent. 

 

Large puppets are constructed from paper maché and paraded around town, while revelers dance to Samba music.  The celebrations draw its influence from Indian and African tribes who were brought into Brazil through the slave trade, to work in the sugarcane industry.  Photo By: Passarinho | Pref.Olinda | Flickr

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