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Caribbean Music, Festivals & Events

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The Caribbean’s many Music, Festivals & Events really show off the soulful vibe of these islands and they provide a great way for travelers to meet and engage with locals. Here we give you the top Caribbean's festivals and the islands that celebrate them the best. They are chosen in part for their cultural significance but also because they're simply a great way to kick back and have some fun. Make sure you get to attend at least one of these magnificent celebrations.

 

The signature celebration that the Caribbean Islands are known for is Carnival. Every island trys to ourdo itself each year but the celebration in Trinidad and the Dominican Republic continue to set the bar for all carnival celebrations in the Caribbean. Perhaps the only country to excel above thes two is the Carninal celebration in Rio de Janeario, Brazil!  

Trinidad and the Dominican Republic: (Usually late February). When it comes to festivals in the Caribbean, none is more anticipated or enthusiastically celebrated than Carnival. The Carnival celebration in Trinidad, Port of Spain is considered by many to have the best and most extravagant Carnival in the Caribbean. Close behind ranks Santiago, Dominican Republic. Don't worry, all Caribbean Islands celebrate Carnival so you can get to one eventually!

Junkanoo: The Bahamas: (Late December). Junkanoo is a frenetic "Carnival like" festival and street parade held throughout the Bahamas in the early morning hours of December 26 and again on January 1. By far the largest parade or "rush", is in the capital city of Nassau.

Crop Over Festival: Barbados: (July). Crop Over Festival, the island's largest and most anticipated festival is held from early July to early August. The celebration, which dates back to the late 1700s, originally marked the end of the all important sugarcane harvest when Barbados was one of the world's largest producers of sugar.

St. Lucia Jazz Festival: St. Lucia: (Early May). The St. Lucia Jazz Festival is a 10 day event that has grown into one of the premier events in the Caribbean and in the world music scene. Headline concerts are held on Pigeon Island, off of St. Lucia's northern tip but shows are also held at venues around the capital city and at the southern end of the island. The festival's numerous free concerts (known as fringe activities) are held around the island and often feature excellent local musicians.

Reggae Sumfest: Montego Bay, Jamaica: (Mid-July). Where better to soak up the sounds of reggae than Jamaica, the birthplace of the reggae. Every July, the resort city of Montego Bay hosts the Reggae Sumfest, a four-day festival that brings together the world's top reggae musicians and thousands of fans.

Festival de Merengue: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: (Late July) Few things are more quintessentially Dominican than Merengue, and its musical cousin, bachatá. Both are very popular as is the Latin Jazz Festival held in October. Only Carnival makes for a bigger and more ebullient street party.

Fiesta de Santiago de Apóstol: Loiza Aldea, Puerto Rico: (Late July). Nowhere is Puerto Rico's rich West African heritage more celebrated than in the coastal town of Loiza Aldea, just east of the capital city of San Juan. Every July 25th, the town hosts a blow out celebration of its patron saint, Santiago de Apóstol (St. James the Apostle), one of several Catholic saints believed to be incarnations of ancient African deities.

Tumba Festival: Curacao: (Mid-January). Tumba music gets its name from tambor, meaning "drum" in Spanish and just a few bars of the driving rhythm is all that's needed to understand why. Curacao kicks off its extra-long Carnival celebration with the Tumba Festival, a four-day music extravaganza held as early as mid January.

Aruba Hi Winds: Aruba: (July). Aruba has long been a Mecca for windsurfers (and more recently, kite boarders). Many both of these sports' top competitors hail from Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. So it's fitting that the island's top competition would also be quite a party. The fun starts on the beach when fans gather to watch the high-speed, high-flying events and continues well past dark and often migrating to local watering holes.

As for food and drink, The Caribbean Islands all feature a variety of flavors to excite any taste pallet. Each island samples different tastes from around the world, so it's a pretty safe bet you will find something you will love!

Anguilla has become the recommended place to visit for the best Caribbean cuisine. It is also home to the CuisinArt Resort, a culinary themed resort, which offers cooking lessons and delicious cuisine featuring local ingredients grown on the premises in organic and hydroponic gardens.

Barbados has a strong British heritage, but has a wonderful combination of African, East Indian and European culinary influences.

St. Bart's is filled with historic stone warehouses that have been converted into beautiful restaurants, bistros and eateries that rival New York and Paris for quality, variety and creativity.

St. Maarten is the most recommended place to go for food. St . Maarten titles itself as the "Culinary Capital of the Caribbean" and feature over 400 restaurants that offer flavors and dining experiences from around the world.

 

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