Travel

O CARIBANA

Caribana is Toronto , Canada’s annual carnival. It is one of the affordable carnivals you can attend. If you didn’t catch a decent flight price , you can check if anyone is doing a bus trip from NY , DMV , and other close surrounding areas. I was undecided about Caribana for a few months but I was lucky enough to find an affordable bus trip with hotel included. I did see a few other packages it was either too much or didn’t include transportation.

With my deposit in , I started to look at events taking place. With the help of my Instagram followers , I found a few events and I joined a very informative Facebook group. I decided on Jab Jab Jouvert for Friday which seemed to be the most popular event. I wished I had time for a Sunday event but the bus departure was 2 PM. I didn’t care to be in costume but I wanted to be in the parade so I found a t-shirt band ( Jab Army ) ! For about $60 US I got the VIP package which included a bodysuit , food , and other amenities.

I paid off my package and other tickets about a week ahead and was ready to go. I decided to pack very light since it was only a two day trip.

Finally it was Thursday & I was all packed to go.

The bus ride was smooth and we went through the border quickly.

Too early for check in to the hotel so I walked to Downtown Toronto , shopped in a few stores ( Dollarama ) EXCHANGED my money !

Finally checked in about 11 AM , the room was lovely , nice & big , two beds with a water view .

After a quick nap and shower , we headed out to brunch.

We decided on Eggspectation which was close by and had a decent amount of good Yelp reviews. The food was good and the service was even better . I recommend if you’re looking for a cheap brunch spot. I noticed when I was looking there wasn’t really any unlimited mimosas or bloody mary’s with brunch but the bottle prices were affordable.

After brunch , we decided to take the train to get our T Shirt mas package. The train was really clean and fast. Just a short walk to the pickup location we were a bit early and stopped by a couple of nearby stores.

The pickup was a disaster , no organization whatsoever. I felt bad for the one girl who was making bags. If you already know the size & name maybe make the bag first & then distribute. It’s easier and more efficient. It took about an hour just to get the package. It’s not like it was a full costume with feathers and all , it was literally a bodysuit, bottle , hat , and wristband.

FETE ?

After taking an uber back to the hotel , we got ready for Jab Jab Jouvert. About 30 mins or so from the hotel and then after a long walk into the venue , we were finally inside. First thing I noticed was nobody was dutty. Where was the paint ? Where was the powder ? I did notice a pool of paint but nobody was really inside or throwing it. There was a little foam machine but it looked pitiful. The music was good , at least. After maybe an hour , the crowd noticed the water hose and rushed towards it. Water was too cold for me but I enjoyed it a bit. There was one guy with oil and I think that’s the only way I got dutty. I wanted to go after a few hours but I wanted to see the artists that were on the flyer. Let me tell you something, Canada lie about artists. I only saw Mr Legz and I wasn’t too excited because I already seen him twice. I left after there was someone on the microphone that kept telling us more artists were coming but never showed. From the videos on IG , only Motto was the second & last artist. It’s okay because I saw him the next day and took a picture .

TIME FOR THE ROAD

Now if you know me , you know I don’t sugar coat ! This is just my honest opinion . Caribana could’ve been better !!! There was too much confusion with the huge venue , not enough signs , and very few people to ask for directions. It took a while to find our starting point. When we found our band , it was time to go. It started off fine , the band started throwing powder and water . The songs were good . After a while , I left to get food. After I ate , the band was long gone but I stayed behind different trucks.

Why the DJs played the same 10 songs ? I never want to hear Famalay or Run With It again. Is Canada behind In Soca ? I was so over the songs that I took naps. One nap I fell asleep to a song and woke up to it.

Anyways I had my fun when I could & enjoyed it a bit. Will I come back ? Maybe in the future but for right now NO !!

Although my time there wasn’t the best , I still appreciated the quick vacation and a chance to be in another country.

Also I think I’m addicted to Canadian hot dogs , I had one every chance I could get.

Special shoutouts to Forever Young Promotions especially Dee for a fun and safe bus ride !

Check out all of the videos and pictures on my Instagram – @kayysmooveereviews!

Please note this is my honest opinion based on my own travels . Everyone has their own experience.

Note : I’m using “We” because I was accompanied by my best friend.

Smoovee Tips

1. There are several bands that participate in the parade so you can choose to wear a costume .

2. You can fly in to Canada , there are two airports.

3. Stay in or near Downtown , this is where most events will be held .

4. This is a dry carnival , meaning no alcohol served on the road , but you can bring liquor .

I used a hydration pack .

5. Official Website – https://www.caribanatoronto.com/

6. $1 US is not $1 CAD. Please exchange your money and use those coins !

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36 thoughts on “O CARIBANA

  1. It’s great to read up on other carnivals and festivals that happen in other countries aside from here in the UK. Sounds like Caribana has some room for improvement but good to know you still had a good time. When does it normally happen during the year?

  2. Wait so Caribana still happened in the pandemic? That is interesting or was this a previous year? I have wanted to go but the pandemic but yeah thanks for the honest review.

  3. Lol what’s so special about the Canadian hot dog?! Seems like you had a great time. I’ve never been to Caribana but I always hear good things about it. Great post!

  4. I haven’t participated in Carnival for years, but I hope to one day soon. I had fun when I was there last time. I feel like going with friends and being apart of a great band, and having liquor makes the vibe up for sure. I don’t really visit Downtown Toronto like that, but I’ll definitely have to try out Eggspectation.

  5. So fun! My sisters wanted to go to Caribana this year but decided to change their trips because, well you can imagine. I have always wanted to go to Trinidad for Carnival 🙂

  6. Wow! I didn’t know they got down like this in Canada! I can’t wait til the world fully reopens minus COVID. I’m ready to travel and enjoy people like this again. Not too many people though.

  7. I never knew Canadians did Caribana thought it was only in the US and England where they have Nottingham Hill Carnival which is all things Caribbean. Great article.

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