The Critic’s View:
Famed worldwide for the beauty of its beaches, the amazing hospitality awarded to guests and its chilled-out island vibes, Trinidad and Tobago is a bucket-list destination for the rich and famous everywhere. However, during carnival week, the islands become a hotbed of fun, festivities and exotic activity, providing an unforgettable showcase of colour, music and costumes in an exuberant celebration of island culture.
It’s possibly the only carnival event to rival the all-out extravagance of Rio’s annual festivities, and those who have visited both will often report that Trinidad and Tobago is the carnival that takes the crown. It’s not hard to see why – while Rio de Janeiro has the opulence and phenomenal arena shows, Trinidad and Tobago revels in a more organic, somewhat more riotous and laissez-faire sense of fun. The costumes, music and parades are all present and correct, and the sense of freedom and liberated partying on the islands really cannot be beaten.
Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2023 will technically be held on the Monday and Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday on the island of Trinidad. However, the festivities traditionally spill over to several days before and after the official carnival dates, and in 2023, this means the party will be thumping between 15th and 22nd of February… if not both earlier and later.
Visitors can expect fetes, limbo competitions, calypso parties, Soca performances, steel pan music and the iconic street parades, alongside incredible food and drinks options and a handful of exclusive gala events too.
The majority of the events will be hosted in the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad. However, those seeking festivities off the beaten track will discover parties in San Fernando, Mayaro, Chaguanas, Arima and on the island of Tobago, too.
Visitors looking to really get into the festival spirit shouldn’t miss J’ouvert – a carnival-specific party which involves a colourful riot of paint, powder, chocolate and mud – or the crowning of the King and Queen at Dimanche Gras. Ticketed parties and afterparties can be uncovered at the Naparima Bowl Amphitheatre in San Fernando, and NAPA in Port of Spain holds the carnival’s most unmissable club nights during the festival week.
The beautiful island of Trinidad boasts no shortage of glamorous beach resorts and spa hotels, which offer the perfect place to unwind after partying all night on the sand. Check out the following for the most opulent island getaways:
- Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain
- The BRIX Autograph Collection
- Novotel St Quentin and Melia Paris La Defense
- Maison ELLE
- Ritz Paris
Tickets for Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe aren’t difficult to obtain, and many concierge services offer an array of packages for the event. VIP packages and exclusive seating are available nearer the date.