Carnival in the Caribbean are some of the best parties in the world and in Antigua it’s party time. Antigua Carnival is not a one-day event. It is a two week-long celebration of non-stop revelry. This celebration includes a series of cultural events, street parties and concerts featuring steel pan, soca, reggae music and more. The most significant events of this great Caribbean summer festival are J’ouvert, Party Monarch and the Parade of the Bands that turns the streets of St. John’s into a colourful masquerade party. See the full schedule of events at Antigua Carnival 2019.
Playing Mas is when you take part and be a part of the carnival, wearing one of those incredible feathered costumes. If you’ll be participating in the Parade of Bands (road march) and are playing Mas with one of the bands, they will provide you with a custom costume that is based on their Carnival theme. Anyone can take part, you just need to contact a Mas band and order a costume. Then on the day you will stay with your chosen Mas band, wearing the same design costume as the rest of your group.
Your Mas band will also provide you with food, drinks (including all alcohol) and amenities as this will be included in the price of your costume. There are many Mas bands to choose from, we can help you with that is you need as we have teamed up with the Antigua Tourist Board and Festivals Commission so you can get discounted costumes, event tickets and sight seeing tours. They are working with three popular Mas bands; Insane, Myst and Beautiful People.
If you are thinking about ‘playing Mas’ then you need to plan ahead as this part starts months, not weeks, before the actual events. If you have any questions just ask us, we are very active on social media or you can email us!
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What to Wear
Carnival is all about dressing sexy or being scantily clad. So leave the Hawaiian shirts and the straw hats at home. Dancing and walking are also the essence of carnival, so wear comfortable shoes. Trainers, ankle boots, flats or sandals are the recommended foot wear.
If going as a masquerader is outside your budget or it’s just not your thing, sexy-casual-chic is the look that you should go for. For women, this can be swimsuits, short shorts, booty shorts, cut offs or tights paired with a bikini top, crop top or anything skimpy and sexy. This is usually the same dress code for most of the street parties or fetes leading up to the parade. Men usually wear swim trunks, Bermuda or boardie shorts and a vest, wife beater or go topless. Wear clothes that are lightweight and that will dry quickly if it rains – the Caribbean is well known for its sudden heavy rain showers!
Safety & Important Things To Know
- Remember to always keep an eye on your property while dancing through the crowds.
- Wear light, comfortable clothes. If you are curvy or have a fuller body, expect lots of compliments or dance requests from random people, you are a queen at carnival. Trust your instincts too. If it feels right do it, if not, don’t.
- Dehydration and fatigue are very real problems during carnival so drink lots of fluids and bring sunscreen.
- Take a few snacks to munch on if you are not playing Mas.
- If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma or any other illness take your inhaler and medication with you.
- You should not wear lots of expensive jewellery or travel with large sums of cash but do have cash on you as you might need to purchase food, drinks or get a taxi later and finding ATM’s might be difficult.
- There will be lots of people and you and everyone one else are likely to be drinking alcohol so try to stick with your group and stay on the carnival route. Don’t get too drunk – its hot and you might lose your friends which might mean you don’t have such an amazing time. Carnival is very safe but as with all crowds of people crime can happen so just be aware of your surroundings and your actions.
Stay sensible and you’ll have a fantastic cultural experience! Take a look at this Antigua Travel Guide for everything you need to know about this gorgeous Caribbean destination.
How to Get There & Planning
You should book your tickets and accommodation in advance before the flights and hotels are sold out, the earlier the better as the later you leave it the higher the prices and often flights and accommodation completely sell out. If you can’t make the whole of the carnival the last week is the best week to attend! We have an all inclusive Antigua Carnival holiday deal or a room only deal that depart from the UK and are the best deals we could find for carnival.
During carnival each event has different locations during the celebrations. However, the assembly point for the Parade of Bands is usually at the Corner of Factory Road and Parliament Drive in St. Johns. Antigua hotels often have shuttle services that will be going to St. Johns. Otherwise, you can order a taxi to take you to the assembly point. If you are in a band, their assembly point may be different and this will be communicated to you.
Let Us Find You The Best Deal!
We have been Caribbean holiday experts for 45 years so we know the best places to stay for carnival and how to get the best deals! We can arrange everything for you – at the perfect price, and you can pay in instalments. Easy.
Win 7 Nights in Antigua for Carnival!