6-day St. Thomas Carnival Schedule
We understand that you can't get 30 days of leave just to party with us. Off-island attendees typically visit the last week of Carnival to get the most out of the 5-6 days they can get time off from their jobs.
With that in mind, we’ve created your ideal 6 day/5 night St. Thomas Carnival Schedule which includes what we call the “last lap,” or basically or culminating week. The month leading up to Last Lap includes cultural activities, pageants, music competitions, a newly-added Jouvert, a boat race and a popular drink festival.
We propose that you arrive on island on the Tuesday of the final week of Carnival to get in, get comfortable and rest (not much of that happening after today).
Pick out your most colorful outfit and head down to the Carnival Food Fair in the Emancipation Garden and its surrounding areas. Food and crafts vendors sell sought after meals, treats and gifts they can only find during this time of the year. Locals typically wear variations of the official fabric of the Virgin Islands, the madras, many of which are handmade solely for the food fair. But anytime colorful will do. We did a pool amongst our small crew of Carnival lovers and they agree that you should try to snag some kallaloo, conch in butter sauce, various tarts, and fruit stews (cherry and tamarind). Wash it all down with a little maubi or sorrel.
Check out Cordell Greaux’s Food Fair Video
Thursday morning (4 am)
During and after Food Fair, we suggest that you hydrate as much as possible especially if you add another activity to your itinerary. Jouvert is an absolute must attend and requires tons of discipline to get to since no one wants to wake up at 2-2:30 am in the morning if you haven’t already experienced the euphoria that a Jouvert brings to your life at least once. I should add that to enjoy Jouvert, you should sign up for a Jouvert troupe. You get a shirt or bodysuit, food, unlimited drinks, and a personalized experienced.
I personally always go to bed around 9 pm since I need some time to get ready. Ii suggest you head out by 3 am to comfortably find somewhere to park your car where Jouvert ends and walk down to the start of Jouvert. I can’t say this for everything else Carnival but I have noticed that Jouvert typically does hold to their listed start time (4 am) and since I don’t like to miss a minute of it, I am usually at the start by 3:50 am latest.
After my first Jouvert, I was hooked. There is no possible way I could do Carnival without Jouvert. The vibes are nice. The music. The freedom dancing in the street. The drinks flowing. The costumes. It’s 3 hours of pure bliss. And you’re given breakfast after. The sheer exhaustion and body pains we experience for the rest of the day is worth it.
We’re down at the Carnival Village randomly during the week to grab quick eats and to listen to local and international acts but the Thursday after Jouvert is our official Carnival Village night. We also stop in there officially once again after Adult’s Parade Day to eat and wind down.
Why do all these parties start before the break of dawn you’re probably asking yourself. I know. But it’s worth it. Havensight Mall has a popular bar called Virgin Haven that opens up their parking lots for live concerts. The Breakfast fete is a must-add to your Carnival itinerary because they bring top acts, breakfast is included and the crowd is grown and sexy at Virgin Haven. You can’t go wrong. But, it doesn’t start at 4 am. If you’ve rested, as I recommended, getting up at 2:30-3 am shouldn’t be a big deal.
Head home and change up. We have a standing reservation at the Children’s Parade since our nieces participate every year but we highly recommend that you head down as well. I love to see the majorettes and mocko jumbie dancers, since they work so hard to hone their craft and the brightly colored mini-Carnival costumes on the littlest troupe members. Many schools and children’s organizations have troupes and I enjoy seeing their yearly themed. Vendors sell their yummy food and drinks on the side of the road so that’s another experience in itself.
You have several options after Children’s Parade. Some in our group head to a day party at the scene Beacon Point and others begin costume preparations for Adult’s parade. You decide.
Preparation is what allows you to get the most out of your Adult’s parade experience. Here’s a list of parade troupes you can join. If you spent the evening preparing your costume, you should be able to seamlessly move through your parade day morning by eating a hearty breakfast, putting on tons of sunscreen and your makeup, and finally, getting your costume on. Costumes don’t leave tons of room to go to the bathroom so I suggest you wait until the last minute to put it on. I noticed that the Carnival Festival Committee recently changed the start time to 11 am so that gives everyone extra time to head down to the starting point for parade day. If at all possible, try to find out what number your troupe is because getting there at 10:30 am when your troupe is one of the lasts to start the parade is no fun for anyone. Once there, grab something additional to eat, drink and socialize with other parade attendees. It helps to pass the time. Once your troupe is called, the rest is history. Work your costumes, savor the libations, dance the tunes with your friends (old and new), enjoy the parade to the fullest.
Depending on your flight time home, Carnival attendees wind down on various beaches, catamaran parties or a beach hopping poker run.
Aspiring attendees always ask the best way to enjoy our Carnival festivities and my answer is always the same: participate. To fully get the Carnival experience, one should participate in the events. You may add or drop an activity but for the most part, the best way to enjoy Carnival is live it. See you on the drop.
For more information about Carnival events, please visit our page.