All details about Jamaica Carnival, where to go, where to get last minute carnival costumes, carnival accessories, and Jamaica carnival dates.
Every year Carnival in Jamaica gets bigger and better so you better start planning ASAP for the vacation of a lifetime!
If you’re coming to Jamaica Carnival 2020 and want to get the lowdown on everything you need to bring with you, you’re in the right place. As a Jamaican and a carnival regular myself, I’m about to break down my best tips on surviving the road march and all the events leading up to it.
When is Jamaica Carnival 2020?
This year, the carnival road parade happens on Sunday, April 19, 2020. All the Jamaica carnival bands will be out on the road from their various starting points on this date and some will cross paths on the trek.
If you’re wondering the carnival date, here is a quick way to always now when Jamaica Carnival will be.
Carnival in Jamaica always happens on the Sunday after the Easter Weekend holiday. That means that the next weekend after Good Friday and Easter Monday is Carnival weekend.
I do believe there was a time that Carnival Sunday happened during this holiday but the churches have always protested the road parade in all its skimpy glory. So in order to not ever clash with the religious holidays, Carnival was set for the weekend after Easter.
Here are my top tips for getting the most out of the day if you will be parading in costume or even if you’ll be enjoying from the sideline.
Enhancements for your Carnival Outfits
Now, a lot of these things will be on sale here in Jamaica so if you forget something, no worries. But hello…they’ll be at premium cost by that time. So scan the list and make sure you get all you need before you land.
You’ll need your tights. The trend this year is sparkly skin-colored tights so I’ve linked a pair here for you on Amazon.
Here’s another pair that’s coffee coloured for me and my darker skin-toned ladies.
Of course, if you’re not keen on the sparkle trend, your regular skin-coloured compression tights are a good idea, unless you want to go bare on the day. 😉
Next, you’ll want to secure sneakers or boots that match your costume. These come in a variety of colours that will match or complement your costume nicely. I remind you that Jamaica is hot though so maybe you’ll want to get a short pair?
I am absolutely not doing boots on the road again. Give me a good walking sneaker please! You live and you learn. The boots are cute though!
But I can still do comfort in style. Do you think I should go with sparkly gold or regular gold?
You. Need. One. Of. These!
I had one in Trinidad and it saved my phone so many times. Between the paint, the powder, the sun and the liquor, listen, just get one. Depending on how much space your phone needs, you can also stick your key and card in this case as well and need no further baggage on the road.
I however jumped with my wristlet and have jumped with a crossbody bag too. Even fanny packs have gotten a fashionable update and are making their comeback. Whatever floats your boat but you’ll want somewhere to stash a few wet wipes, your car keys and maybe some cash and lip balm.
Lastly, remember your sunnies! But not your expensive designer shades, please. Anything can happen on the road march! Get yourself some cute cheapies that still have UV protection because again, Jamaica hot!
Speaking of which, up the SPF on the moisturizer you’re bringing too. You’ll be on the road for hours.
Don’t sleep on that Olay, it’s lightweight and has SPF 50 sis! You can see more of my recommendations for surviving a beach party here. Your Jamaican carnival road march survival kit will be pretty much the same.
Awesome random tip: bring a pack of big diaper pins with you or grab one at a pharmacy (hope you remember) because costumes need to pin up sometimes, know what I mean? 😉 Bonus points if they are colourful like these.
Now, where to go?
Carnival in Jamaica Event List
Sorry guys, I’m not about to list out all the events happening around Carnival in Jamaica. That would be a list of epic proportions.
What I am going to do is to point you to the IG pages you’ll want to follow to stay up-to-date on for the most happening events. Instagram is how most of us get our information about what’s happening here in Jamaica.
Obviously you want to follow the band pages that you’re jumping with. Whichever band you’ve selected, follow them because you’ll either get in free or discounted to whatever events they have lined up before and immediately after the road march.
The Jamaica Carnival Band IG pages are listed below:
Feel free to follow them all for the duration that you’re here so you can go to some of their events too, not just your band’s events!
Event pages to follow are below. These are pages that either supports the bands in some way or do party coverage here in Jamaica and so they will be promoting the hottest events heavily.
Skkan Media Entertainment
There’s an influx of Trinidad Carnival events and promoters popping up throughout the season so keep tuned to the above pages for info on those. Note that Sleek is aligned with the Xaymaca band so you’ll get a better overall outlook on the entire season from the Skkan page.
Carinival outfits checked, carnival events checked, but still looking for a last-minute carnival costume?
The best way to find carnival costumes for sale at the last minute is
in the comments of the band pages above or their Facebook page. No joke, people will go on and leave their info or tell you to DM if they are selling a costume.
Some of the bands frown on you selling the costumes but things happen and people have to cancel so stalk the comment area of the costume you want to buy and the general page itself. You just may come up lucky.
Are you coming to Jamaica for carnival? I’m so excited! I jumped with Xodus last year and the possibility is high that I will be doing the same again.
How come I haven’t bought my costume yet? Because I retired to the t-shirt section! All the fun, less expense! Plus I’m still working on my frontline costume body, when I done work we’ll see. 😀
Jamaica Carnival FAQs
Where should you stay for Jamaica Carnival? Your best bet is to book an AirBnb in Kingston as early as you can. As a former Airbnb host, prices go up closer to the event and all the best places will be booked early.
If you’re new to AirBnb then take advantage of a discount when booking any property by using my referral link here. This discount only applies to email addresses not used before on Airbnb.
Is Jamaica safe to visit? Absolutely. Any crime you hear about tends to happen in parts of the island you’re not about to venture to. Keep your smarts about you and move with the same air of caution you would have going out in your own hometown at night and you’ll be fine.
Where does Jamaica Carnival take place? Lots of parishes have their own carnival events but the main road march and big events happen in Kingston city during the dates leading up to Carnival Sunday mentioned above. That means you’ll want to fly into the Norman Manley International Airport if you can and definitely book your stay in Kingston.
How long is Jamaica Carnival? Carnival season starts in January but the big lead up starts the weekend before. Remember, the weekend before Carnival is a holiday (Easter) weekend and Jamaicans love a good excuse to party so you can find many events happening that weekend and straight through the week until Carnival Sunday. If you can swing it, come for the whole week and leave the Tuesday after Carnival as you’ll want to go to the beach wind-down event the Monday after the road parade.
Read more things to know when traveling to Jamaica here.
What are you most excited about experiencing for Jamaica Carnival 2020?
Can you assist with a transportation link.
I can, use the contact page to get in touch with me
Hey! Thanks for all the info. Looking for a good safe spot for a solo Carnival visitor. First time in JA so I have little idea outside of New Kingston and all the sold out hotels. Plus I need to make sure my taxi game is on point!
Hi Jess, you need a spot to stay or just looking for a lookout point? Connect with me on IG and we can chat there. I will be a spectator myself and have a spot
First time on your blog and I love it. I am officially subscribed.
One question about Carnival is there an option to just pay an entry fee and jump without a t shirt or costume? I have some friends who want to come and they won’t be able to get everything together by carnival to pay for a costume
Hi Samantha, I believe at minimum you have to at least sign up for a t-shirt section. All pretty mas bands have strict requirements that you must be in their costume. T-shirts a little more flexible
It’s my first time going to Jamaica Carnival. I’ll be in the t-shirt section. What’s a good outfit to wear? Would “Monday Wear” be appropriate?
Hi Jo, Monday wear would be very appropriate