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Bacchanal Jamaica Road March Pt. 1 (Jamaica)
Road March Parade Pt. 1

April 19th, 2009
Bacchanal Jamaica Road March Pt. 2 (Jamaica)
Road March Parade Pt. 2

April 19th, 2009
Frenchmen Carnival All Inclusive "Bazodee" (Jamaica)
Frenchmen "Bazodee"

April 18th, 2009
Vintage Meets Soca'09 (Jamaica)
Vintage Meets Soca'09

April 18th, 2009
Bacchanal Jouvert 2009 (Jamaica)
Bacchanal Jouvert 2009

April 17th, 2009
Frenchmen Blocko 2009 (Jamaica)
Frenchmen Blocko

April 16th, 2009
Carnival Bailout Bottle Party (Jamaica)
Carnival Bailout

April 15th, 2009
Soca @ De Sandbar (Jamaica)
Soca @ De Sandbar

April 15th, 2009
Beach J'Ouvert 2009 (Jamaica)
Beach J'Ouvert 2009

April 11th
, 2009
'On The Rock' Extras (Jamaica)
'On The Rock' Extras

April 10th-20th, 2009

TJJ's Party Guru's Guide to Carnival in Jamaica

First you need to understand that this is not your regular island. Jamaica is HUGE! At a size of 4,243 square miles; just a tad smaller than the state of Connecticut. Compare that to the major carnival countries of the Caribbean: Trinidad weighs in at 1,864 sq mi, about the size of Delaware (the second smallest state in the US) and Barbados a shy 166 sq mi, about 2 ½ times the size of the District of Columbia (not even a State!). Now this geography lesson is not to say that Carnival in Jamaica is also huge, but actually the opposite... that it’s not! With such a size and population, it is extremely easy to be on the island and completely miss all of the festivities that is Carnival. That’s where we come in!

Jamaica is the home of Reggae music, and as a result, Soca although very much played and loved, isn’t near the scale of reggae music and following suit, the Soca scene can be a who’s who kinda business. Soca lovers… let's get informed.


  • Currency: Get Jamaican dollars! Although USD is accepted island wide, the exchange rate will vary depending on where you shop and who you are. Having Jamaican currency can save you up to 50% in most cases. BTW, despite what the ATM says, you’re not a millionaire! $22,000 Jamaican dollars in your wallet might make you feel cool, but it’s not going to impress any ladies.
  • Communications: Get a Jamaican sim card. For under $20USD you get a local number and enough minutes to call your mum for hours. The rates are that much cheaper than roaming and you’re more likely to have that special someone *wink* call/text you back if you have a 876 area code.
  • Accommodations: The carnival and activities are mainly based in Kingston; New Kingston to be more specific. As with any trip, the few extra dollars spent on safety and comfort are always worth it. We recommend The Jamaica Pegasus, Hilton or Courtleigh Hotel & Suites. The Pegasus has a great pool, rooms with city views, complete breakfast buffet and personable staff. Ask for PR Manager Marcia (she’s Trini ) For a more personal abode, check out the Knutsford Court Hotel and ask for Dennis.
  • Transportation: Fly with Air Jamaica ( Your goal is to fly into Kingston, but don’t be afraid to connect in Montego Bay. The airport is world class and the connecting flight is shorter than most Manhattan taxi rides. A car isn’t necessary, but I would get one. Even though you’re in the mix if you stay in New Kingston and a taxi can/will take you anywhere... the experience of driving is worth it. The roads are decent, traffic is generally not bad and with a map and directions you shouldn’t get or stay lost for long. FYI... Americans and Europeans, the steering wheels are on the right side of the car.
  • Attire: Yes, it’s an island and yes, it's HOT... but Hawaiian shirts and reef flip flops gets you nowhere! Pack a good mix from cargo shorts to club jeans. A few pairs of comfortable sneakers is highly recommended. J'ouvert is big here, so walk with clothes/shoes that you want to tie dye or don’t mind throwing away after they get paint up. Allya long hair people probably want to wear a cap or bandanna. Do not forget, a couple pairs of shades... fuh de hot sun; At least one pair is bound to break in all de jamishness. Oh, and sun block! As for carnival day. Take care of this before you reach. Step 1. Get on website (, Step 2. Check out the costumes, prices and offerings and Step 3. Buy Online. Don’t be afraid to contact Mas Camp via email or phone to get any details that you need.
  • Food & Beverages: If Appleton Rum is what you're drinking, ask for it by VX for the regular stuff or Reserve for a step up (order from lowest to highest is Special->VX->Reserve). Extra if you're ready for some on the rocks. Pizza Pazza is a little outside joint on Knutsford Blvd. Good thin crust pizza and nice staff. TJJ enjoys very much grubbing at Cuddy'z (located in New Kingston Shopping Centre). The joint is owned by retired cricket sensation Sir Courtney Walsh. It’s a great sports bar with everything (American & Local) under the sun to eat. Ask for Manager Jeanelle (another Trini ). Their fried green plantains are good for your back! Get some before Carnival Sunday. Of course, you need to be sure to get a patty from the Tasty franchise. They all over the island. And last, always walk around with $300 JMD so you can get a pan chicken when de party done!
  • Duration: You can get there Friday night and leave anytime on Monday and completely satisfy your carnival appetite. But if you can do longer, definitely come the weekend before to experience "Beach J'Ouvert" in Ocho Rios.

Tuesday: Is usually Pan Night, but this year, the date was changed to Wednesday.

Wednesday: Bacchanal Jamaica's "Soca @ de Sandbar" event is always held on the Wednesday before Carnival day at Kingston's beautiful Lime Cay beach. Socaphiles bring yuh coolers full of drinks and wine the day away till the sun fades behind the Caribbean Sea at this FREE soca fete. If you know Olly (or know somebody that know somebody), then his "Bottle Party" is the lick for Wednesday night.

Thursday: Two words ... "Frenchmen Blocko"! If you have the time, definitely go to Hellshire for some fresh fish in the day.

Friday: Bacchanal Jamaica does "Bacchanal J'Ouvert". Make sure and sleep before you come out and wear comfortable shoes, cause this one moves from a fete to the real thing... full J'Ouvert on the road until the sun comes up! A definite don’t miss. The Joker's Wild group also does a J'Ouvert fete.

Saturday: Grassroots posse, "Wata Party" takes place besides the Mas Camp courtesy of Island Mas Jamaica. Uptown'ers, Frenchmen (Ambassadors Group) does an ultra all inclusive "Bazodee". It’s going to cost you (still by comparison about 1/3 of what you would pay in Trini and less than a similar fete in the US), but it’s worth every one of the thousands of Jamaican dollars that they charge. Get there early cause it’s going to end at 2AM as most Jamaican fetes seem to and there’s so much to see and do. But at 2, go straight home, do not pass go and do not collect $200. You need/want to wake up early tomorrow.

Sunday (The Carnival Parade): There are 2 major Mas organizations. "Bacchanal Jamaica" and "Jamaica Carnival." Yes, "Jamaica Carnival" is a Mas band, so it's actually referred to as "Carnival or Mas in Jamaica" and not "Jamaica Carnival" for obvious reasons. Now the good folks involved in Bacchanal Jamaica have been doing this for sometime now (20+ years), so expect a well organized jump up. The parade called "Road March" starts around 10am and runs all day. *See Attire. There is a lunch stop and a final dinner stop (back at Mas Camp) that includes a Last Lap jump up (with drinks still flowing) around 7pm for masqueraders. Pay attention to the DJ’s, stay within the security ropes for your band and always look out for tractor trailer wheels. For Bacchanal Jamaica's road experience, the drinks will find you ... honestly!

Final Thoughts: Carnival hunting is a grueling business. Take your vitamins, get sleep when you can and stay hydrated. Try to move in numbers, as well as, populated and well lit areas. Leave your valuables at home – Bacchanal Jamaica is an all inclusive mas band – walk with minimal cash and secure your phone and cameras. Wining on the same woman for too long (or too short) can send the wrong message. A Trini wine is very different from a Bajian wuk up, which is also different from a Jamaican wine .... Enjoy sampling the variety!

Bacchanal Jamaica definitely gets TJJ's Stamp of Approval. See you guys next year!

Team TJJ @ Bacchanal Jamaica 2009

Dr. Ram Dass, TJJ Fet-a-lot-athon® Party Guru

Disclaimer: Professional and experienced TJJ Fet-a-lot-athon® Party Gurus have rigorously tested these Carnival grounds and are providing said recommendations based on the fundamentals that the audience is a healthy rum drinking islander. If while performing any of these actions you begin to feel any dizziness, fatigue or pain please stop and consult your physician immediately.

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Bacchanal Jamaica
Bacchanal Jamaica

Visit Jamaica
Jamaica Tourism Board

Air Jamaica
Air Jamaica