Carnival · Jamaica · Travel

SMILE JAMAICA

Going to Jamaica was honestly the best experience I’ve had so far. It was my first solo and international trip. I didn’t think I was going because I was having financial issues and I started to tell my friends I wasn’t going.But I finally started a new job and money was flowing in.If I didn’t go I would’ve been so depressed and angry. Anyways I went and I’m so glad I went but next year I will do some things differently.

The Planning

I’m not going to lie , I didn’t know Jamaica had a carnival until a friend told me about it. You probably didn’t either so don’t feel bad. I’m a huge researcher so after hearing Jamaica had an annual carnival I went straight to Google. Jamaica has been celebrating carnival for over 30 years.

I learned that Jamaica has three major bands , Xaymaca , Xodus , & Bacchanal. So I did what most people do & follow their instagrams and turn post notifications on. Band launch was in November and I patiently waited to see the costumes. I learned the date which was April 28 and I started tracking flights on Google Flights & Hopper to Kingston. I learned the carnival route & I looked at some hotels and Airbnb’s in the New Kingston area. I fell in love with my costume . I chose Band : Bacchanal JA Section : Salacia & Neptune. After picking my costume , I started making payments towards everything. I also joined a few groups and chats to stay informed. I didn’t want to do too much partying this trip so I only bought Bacchanal Jouvert & Baywatch. I’ll do more fetes next year ( Afloat , Soca Brainwash, etc.)

Okay So Lets Break It Down

Flight – $450

NY – Kingston

Montego Bay – NY

10 Hour Layover 😫

AirBnb – $250

I was actually surprised to find an Airbnb so cheap and I bought it two weeks before my trip.

Costume – $450

Frontline , Wire Bra , Feathered Collab

FINALLY in Jamaica , picked up from the airport by my AirBnB host , settled in to my AirBnB, freshened up and headed to the band camp. Okay so this is my first experience playing mas and I can’t compare to other bands. But from my experience, Bacchanal JA was overall amazing and professional with a few hiccups. Although my costume was sold out , I reached out via Instagram and the costume was made available . I’m not sure if any band does this but I’m forever grateful. Distribution was at the mas band camp was easy and fast. I gave my name to a lady and waited. I was offered a free beverage. Waiting time took bout 10-15 minutes. I was called into another room , given my costume in a big box , shown each piece , and then I went to a second table to get my goodie bag and wristbands. Just a tip to put a sign outside that says “Pick Up Costume Here”. Also the big box is not needed , everything could’ve went inside the goodie bag.

The Fete Life

Before carnival , I went to two parties , Bacchanal Jouvert and Baywatch.

Listen JAMAICANS love soca , don’t believe what you hear. In my opinion I feel like the ticket should’ve been included if you’re playing mas although it was only $30. The jouvert started at the mas camp , the crowd was so huge ! Paint was on the side but nobody was throwing paint , powder , water , nothing. There were a few artists , Nailah Blackman and Machel Montano. After partying for a few hours , we were instructed out on the streets behind the trucks. We followed the trucks , dancing and vybing until morning. It was a great jouvert and I will go again.

Let me just commend Captain Jason Benn for throwing a party in another country ! Although there were more popular parties , Baywatch had an amazing turnout . The music was great , the people were fun , and there was a crazy girl dancing in a tree ( wink wink ) . For $65 VIP I enjoyed myself and kept going to the bar and telling the bartender “Put Anything!” I also took a picture with my fav DJ Kevin Crown . To be honest , I’m not even sure how I woke up for carnival the next day.

The Road

“She really love the road , she nuh care bout nothing else but the road” I finally get to truly understand this song. I’m a known stormer so it was definitely different being on the other side. First of all , you need help putting on the costume . Luckily my Airbnb host helped me and took wonderful pictures of me. I was late so I don’t know where the band started but I found my band and just blended in with the crowd. I went straight to the drinks. After getting my drink , I started chipping , dancing , and just carrying on with no behavior whatsoever. I’m still waiting to see videos. The truck was constantly moving. Im used to the truck stopping and I get a chance to show off waist . The times I did stop and wine , I got left . The lunch was around 1 , the line wasn’t too bad , the food was ok , and I definitely needed to rest my feet. After lunch we were back on the road , my energy was revived and I went back to having no behavior . The security played no games ! They were a bit too aggressive and started getting on my nerves. For the music , I expected more dancehall / reggae but it was nice to hear the little that was played. I also wish I heard more newer soca. Overall , I had a great experience!

Listen I love my country , but please get UBER ! If I didn’t get a nice young man to drive me around , I would be stranded. Have at least 3-5 driver numbers before you go!

Note : There’s some carnival language in here that some people might not understand but I will define some terms very soon.

Smoovee Tips

  • Carnival takes place in Kingston , Jamaica .
  • Carnival is usually in April.
  • The bands all have their own route and won’t meet.
  • Band launch is usually in November.
  • Follow each bands Instagram to stay informed.
  • Look for accommodation near New Kingston.
  • There is no Uber at the moment.
  • Join a few group chats to stay informed.

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.

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