The Carnival Doctor's Review of Carnival In Jamaica Part 1 - Logistics: The 5 Ws and H of Carnival In Jamaica by Dr. Rhadi Ferguson, The Carnival Doctor

Just so that you know, Carnival in Jamaica was a wonderful experience and I cannot recommend it enough. And although I can most certainly recommend it, recommending it without providing the appropriate direction and advice is pretty nonsensical.

Any carnival goer knows how difficult it is to plan for a carnival that they've never been to. The first thing that we do is get on Google and start searching for the dates and then we look to our carnival veteran network and find out who has been to the particular carnival that we want to go to and then we piece things together from there.

Well THAT can be frustrating and difficult. So I will bottom line things for you right now.


And before doing that, let me provide the conceptual framework from which I write...... I am married with 2 children. The days of me going to carnival on Wednesday and returning the next Wednesday are OVER. I'm not doing and I'm not asking my wife for permission to do it. Even if she says yes, I know that the answer is really "no" and that she's probably thinking, "Why in the hell do you think that partying for a week is a good idea when we have responsibilities that have to be attended to at home?" Therefore, I keep my trips very INTENSE and very short.

For those who are not familiar with Bermuda Carnival, I love that carnival for the same reason that I enjoy Jamaica. It is because i can do "the meat" of the carnival in a few days. Do I miss some of the great things of that carnival? Yes, I do. I miss the heralded "Raft Up" experience because I have to get back home. But I get to do J'Ouvert and the road and 2 fetes. And that's okay.

So now that we got that out of the way, here's the deal:

When Is Carnival In Jamaica?

Carnival in Jamaica in is ALWAYS the week after Easter. Meaning, in 2017 Easter was on Sunday, April 16th and most people left for Jamaica on that Thursday, April 20th. In 2018 Easter falls on Sunday, April 1st. Which means most people will leave on Thursday, April 5th and return home on Monday April 9th.

If you remember that Carnival In Jamaica is always the week after easter then you will be okay.

Where Do I Fly Into and Where Should I Stay?

You should fly into Kingston, Jamaica. The airport code is KIN. And there are numerous places to stay but the main ones are The Marriott Courtyard and Spanish Court. They book fairly quickly. They are about $250 per night.

AirBnB is also and option. After speaking with a friend of mind, TriniTiffy, I am convinced that airbnb is a great option. She paid a total of $600 for housing for her whole trip. But it was really $300 because it was split between her and her roommate. I'm not sure if you can beat a 2 bedroom condo for $600 total!!!

What About Transportation? How Do I Get Around?

Taxis are plentiful in Jamaica and you should get the phone number or business card of the taxis that you come in contact with so that you have a few on hand during your stay. You can also look up transportation services in Kingston, Jamaica online and reserve airport pickup and fete drop offs times with a driving/transportation company.

What About Communication?

Most carriers also have an international plan. However, I always recommend for people to buy an unlocked GSM phone and to buy a phone card once you reach the airport. It makes communication seamless and very easy. And I've seen more than a few people lose their iPhones. iPhones, and most smart phones are $500 and more. Risking so much for a few pics with a phone is just not a good gamble. Have I done it? Yes. Would I recommend it? No.

Please read "The Ultimate Road Ready Guide" -->

Who Should I Speak With About The Fetes?

There are several online outlets that write reviews about the fetes. The main one I would recommend is Trini Jungle Juice, of course.

But, we are team players here at Trini Jungle Juice and we believe that there are several great online resources such as Trinidad Carnival Diary, TriniScene and Facebook groups such as WFYG (What Fetes Yuh Going) and MOA which are great digital environments for information about the fetting scene in Jamaica.

I would also highly recommend using a concierge service to procure your tickets and transportation if your time is limited and you don't want to hunt down fete tickets.

How Do I Know Who To Play Mas With?

That is very simple and easy. Just check the TriniJungleJuice Facebook page or message us and ask us, which band we are with and that is the band you should play with. I made the mistake and didn't do this and I suffered. You can't go wrong with Trini Jungle Juice.

Why Should I Do Carnival In Jamaica?

Jamaica carnival is a wonderful experience and quite honestly, if you want to experience the best all-inclusive fete experience on the planet then Carnival in Jamaica is where you want to be. They have perfect the all-inclusive fete experience. Also if you love reggae and dancehall then you will love Carnival in Jamaica. There is a very healthy dose of dancehall and reggae sets in the fete. It makes for a wonderful experience and the melodic buffet of Caribbean music which is presented satiates the emotive palate of all fete attendees. I absolutely loved it and my housing is already booked for next year.

Take care and be blessed.

Rhadi Ferguson, PhD
"The Carnival Docto