My picks for the best February events, festivals and Carnival holiday happenings in the Caribbean.
© Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Development Co. Ltd.
Carnival - the series of festivals, parades and parties leading up to the start of the solemn Lentin observances of the Catholic Church, reach their peak in many Caribbean islands during February. The Cucacao Carnival, for example, includes a children's parade, the midnight Kaya Grandi festival, and a calypso festival, culminating in the Grand Carnival Parade. Other islands in the Dutch Caribbean, like Aruba and St. Maarten, also celebrate Carnival in February, along with Jamaica, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and others. Trinidad's Carnival festivities are said to be the best in the Caribbean -- if not the world -- and the month-long schedule includes the Carnival Monday and Tuesday events, just before Ash Wednesday.
Feb. 6 is the birthday of legendary reggae singer and activist Bob Marley, and residents of his home country of Jamaica welcome fans from around the world to celebrate his life and work during Bob Marley Week in early February. Events vary from year to year, but in the past have included the Smile Jamaica concert, lectures, karoaoke contests, and more. It's a great time to visit the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, or to pay respects at Marley's mausoleum in Ocho Rios.
If you want to share the Valentine's Day love with others, St. Croix's annual Valentine's Day Jump Up
is a street party, parade, shopping extravaganza and concert all wrapped up in one. The Bermuda International Love Festival
welcomes couples with special activities from romantic movie screenings to couples massages and commitment ceremonies. For sailors, the highlight is the annual Sweethearts of the Caribbean wooden yacht race, held at the West End Yacht Club
on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
Held in the original English settlement on Barbados, the Holetown Festival commemorates the original landing by the colonists with street fairs, parades, military demonstrations, and concerts with music ranging from gospel to calypso.
This premier classical-music festival was founded by Pablo Casals, a Puerto Rico native and famed cellist, composer and conductor. For more than 50 years, the festival has been drawing top musicians from around the world to perform.
Held over two weeks in late February and early March, the Caribbean's top cultural festival features a dizzying array of performances, from Shakespearean drama to gospel and blues music and comedy shows. The 17th-century Holder's House, a historic plantation home, hosts the annual festival.