Saint Lucia Carnival remains a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. In recent years the carnival has developed significantly, both through local talent and by incorporating elements from some of the island’s Caribbean neighbours.

Until 1998, Lucian Carnival was a pre-Lenten affair, culminating on the two days before Ash Wednesday. Then, in 1999, the organisers moved it to July to attract more tourists by moving it out from under the shadow of Trinidad and Tobago’s bigger festival. The date change has allowed Saint Lucia Carnival to carve out a niche of its own.

Today, the event clearly has the potential to establish itself alongside T&T Carnival and Barbados’ Crop Over as one of the Caribbean’s unmissable annual events. The mas bands have developed over the years, and offer both locals and visitors an unforgettable experience. Costume packages, with well-designed costumes, often have drinks on the road included in the price.

Then there are the events. As well as the officially hosted competitions such as Soca
Monarch, Panorama and Calypso Monarch, there is a vibrant fete (party) scene, where patrons can choose from cooler, beach, all-inclusive and dirty mas fetes.

The music of Saint Lucia is varied, too. Apart from the soca influence, you can savour other genres such as zouk, bouyon, soukous and Afrobeats. And a new sound has emerged in the last couple years: Dennery Segment, which was born and bred in Saint Lucia.

Attending the fetes and playing mas are what you’d expect on a Caribbean carnival-based holiday, but in Saint Lucia there’s the opportunity to relax on beautiful beaches, try horse riding, visit the Soufrière volcano or take an island tour. Saint Lucia offers an authentic carnival experience without the crush and costs associated with attending T&T Carnival.

Saint Lucia Carnival will take place on Monday 16 & Tuesday 17 July this year.

If you would like to join us in Saint Lucia for carnival 2018, please visit socanews.com/saintluciacarnival for more information.