NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION The best carnival events take place in the island’s majestic colonial capital, Port of Spain
WHEN Carnival gets fully underway during the weekend before Ash Wednesday
ORIGINS First held in the late 18th century
POPULATION Port of Spain: 310,000
The island of Trinidad comes alive on the Friday prior to Lent as thousands of people gather on the streets and beaches to dance to calypso, watch glitzy parades and drink rum. In Port of Spain, the island’s capital, traditional contests for the Carnival King and Queen get under way.
Locals certainly live up to the city’s motto – “Together we inspire, together we achieve” – as endless parades of trucks carrying bands and DJs blast steel and electric sounds across the city and out to sea. While the roots of the island’s carnival celebrations are clearly West African, the “playing mas” (or masquerading processions) of the festival are also strongly influenced by the island’s immigrant European, South American, and Asian populations.
Getting There and Around Most visitors arrive in Trinidad by air to Piarco International Airport in Port of Spain. Buses are a reliable way of getting around the island, and taxis are cheap and abundant.
Daytime Temperature 75°F (24°C) during carnival.