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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10 thoughts on “SMILE JAMAICA

  1. Glad you had fun in my country… although carnival is a major event with tooooons of events… it’s just the tip of the ice berg …. soooo much to do in Jamaica. Hope you get to go back and enjoy more!

  2. I’m glad that you went carnival in your homeland and you caught some great vibes and great wave too. Above all though I’m glad that this was your FIRST SOLO TRIP! This is energy I love seeing! How did it feel doing it all solo?

  3. That is Jamaica that beautiful Island and I am happy to know that you enjoy yourself

    1. Wow this is so amazing. I’m so happy for you especially getting that AirNB for soooo cheap. And you went by yourself? I wouldn’t know what to do with myself…I’m an adult and still feel like I need another adult to help support me when traveling but this is cool.

  4. This sounds like so much fun. I took my first international solo trip to The Bahamas last year. I went via cruise so it cut out some of the planning. However, I wish I would have spent more time at each place.

  5. I absolutely love your costume, it looks so good on you! I haven’t been to Jamaica since my dad’s funeral almost 20 years ago. But it’s such a beautiful country and I can’t wait to go back. Also, they definitely need to work on that uber lol.

  6. I LOVE Jamaica, it is literally one of my fav countries. I have never been to Carnival, but it is something that I have been wanting to do fr a while. Those costumes are not cheap, but they are so detailed so seem to be worth the price. I’m glad that you decided to go through with the trip.

  7. I absolutely love Jamaica! My boyfriend is from Portmore and he took me to Jamaica 2 years ago. I definitely would love to go again and play mass once Ms. Rona goes away.

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