Trinidad Carnival: Everybody Can Join

The biggest carnival in the Caribbean and the second biggest in the world (after Rio de Janeiro) is celebrated in Trinidad&Tobago. I´ve been to Rio Carnival last year and I have to admit it was the best show I´ve ever seen. I really tried hard but it was absolutelly impossible to take part at the samba school parade in the stadium Sambodromo. The reason might be simple: carnival is a REALLY big deal in Rio de Janeiro, they spend millions on their shows, the jury is merciless and they just didn´t want a girl like me, who would probably spoil the choreography with a wrong toe movement. It´s different in Trinidad: you don´t have to be a member of a samba school to wear a costume and participate in the show. Everybody can order a costume from a carnival group (they are called Mas Camps here). So when I was visiting the capital Port of Spain last week the first thing I wanted to check was if I would be more successful in Trinidad than in Rio.P1730067P1730062P1730068As we arrived late in the night, I went up to our hotel terrace to see what Port of Spain actually looks like before we left to Island People Mas Camp (mas comes from masquerade) early in the morning. Island People are one of the most popular carnival groups in Trinidad. There are around 50 in general. P1060563Derrick Lewis is the founder and creative director of Island People Mas Camp. Their motto for the next carnival (3. and 4. of March, 2014) is “Mystery, Magic, Marvel”, check here all the costumes they have prepared for it. Derrick and his team have just finished the hats, for the rest (bras and pants) they need the size first. There are packages starting from 600 USD, in which the costume, drinks and food on both carnival days are included. The music is usually soca, not samba like in Rio.P1730112P1060556I was allowed to try on one of the hats and I certainly picked a pink one. It already has been a great success if you compare it to my costume in Rio (scroll down). P1730109P1730122P1730104P1060574P1730114This is the room where the Island Peole Mas Camp keeps their costumes. Now check the huge factory hall in Rio de Janeiro on the picture below. It belongs to the samba school Unidos da Tijuca.P1170539P1170589P1170547When I visited this school last year they were still working hard a night before the parade. I had to swear not to tell other schools about what their costumes look like. P1170556P1170573 I was dreaming to wear a beautiful carnival costume my whole life and look what they gave me to try on. I rather felt like a mongolian warrior in this one than like a carnival queen. Now you understand why I was so happy about my hat in Trinidad.  P1170534The cups Unidos da Tijuca has won. Now it´s one more: they became champions last year as well.P1200133Dancers in “my” costumes the next day in Sambodromo.P1200137What I had to learn in Rio: the sexy feather costumes are only a small part of a show.P1200099If you have bad luck you will have to wear something like this…P1200163… or like this and move your wings all the time instead of your body. So if you really want to participate in a carnival show and not just watch, Trinidad should be a perfect place for you. Find all further information here. For only 50 USD (roundtrip) you can fly between Trinidad and Tobago.

One Response to “Trinidad Carnival: Everybody Can Join”

  1. Hello just thought i would tell you something.. This is twice now i’ve landed on your blog in the last 2 weeks looking for completely unrelated things. Spooky or what?

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