Carnaval: Port of Spain

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

It is said people in Trinidad spend all year preparing for Carnival, and when it is not happening they are talking about it, whether reminiscing about last year’s revelry or planning for the next installment. Everyone on the island comes out to celebrate, and while there are smaller parties across the island, Port of Spain is the capital.

Jump in the parade

Locals are all-inclusive about Carnival celebrations, and tourists can participate in the parade of “mas” bands, which include elaborate, bejeweled costumes. If you would rather have the costume without strutting down the route, you can buy them directly from the band camps. Another option to really get hands-on with the festivities: Wear old clothes or a costume and participate in J’Ouvert or “Dirty Mas,” which takes place late Sunday before Fat Tuesday and involves people spreading clay mud and paint on each other.

Attend the parties

Carnival parties are a critical part of the event calendar, and here they are called fêtes. You can get all dressed up to attend, and you have your pick of many. One of the chicest events on the island is the Hyatt Regency Trinidad’s annual LIME Fête, with proceeds going toward charity, live entertainment, tasty Caribbean eats and a waterfront setting. You can find out more information about many of the parties here.

See the steel drum competition

The steel drum, a classic Caribbean instrument, can be heard all over Trinidad and Tobago come Carnival time. Rounds of the annual steelband competition, called the National Panorama Competition, begin long before Carnival, but close on the Saturday of Carnival weekend. 

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About this author

Miranda Noland,

Miranda Noland is the Senior Photo Editor for She handles all the photo needs for the site and occasionally writes a thing or two. Growing up in a small town in Missouri, she collected (and hoarded) magazines and dreamed of working at one someday. She studied art and design at Drury University and moved to New York City after graduating. She loves being an aunt to her two nephews and has recently moved to be closer to them. She's a pop culture junkie who watches way too much television, and she still hoards magazines.