It’s hard to explain how much I love carnival time in the islands. Everyone is happy, feeling festive, and there is a feeling of celebration everywhere. We attended St. John carnival last year with Reinhardts, and it was an absolute blast. I mean, look how much fun Dan had in 2014. He couldn’t even stay awake on the ferry:
This year, we really did it right. We brought some new friends, the Norths, who are newbies to island life and had yet to experience a “true” Caribbean carnival. We were so prepared to have a good time, we rented a condo at the Grande Bay Resort and it did not disappoint. The stunning 3-bedroom condo was within walking distance to everything related to Carnival in Cruz Bay, and we all enjoyed some really cold AC and as much hot water as we wanted! We cooked meals, enjoyed patio time and took advantage of everything Grande Bay had to offer. Laurie and Gina at Crandall on St. John property management helped us find the perfect condo, and if you’re looking for a place to stay in St. John, I’d highly recommend them and the Grande Bay property.
Three of us arrived Thursday morning, and I utilized the wifi to get some work done while Norths explored Cruz Bay and relaxed. The other half of our party arrived that evening and the festivities began.
On Friday we made a trip to the Leinster Bay Trail, where we hiked to a beach near Waterlemon Cay. We saw some turtles but were getting stung by jellyfish while snorkeling. The guys stayed in a bit longer and saw a nurse shark.
After a day in the water, we drove to the east end of St. John to see Coral Bay and ate some awesome burgers at Skinny Legs. Later we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon inside and had a delicious surf and turf dinner before heading to The Beach Bar to hear a band.
Saturday is the big day! Now we can say we have had the whole carnival experience, because we got our butts out of bed to head to j’ouvert (pronounced JEW-vay) at dawn! This carnival kickoff party actually starts around 4 am, but we joined the “parade” around 6 and took a lap with the revelers before heading back to the condo for breakfast.
Then it was time for a quick nap before the guys headed out to stake out a spot for the big Carnival parade. We ended up in the same spot as last year, but were definitely more prepared. We had chairs, umbrellas and a cooler stocked with drinks ready to go. I felt a little like an old lady as I sat under my umbrella waiting for the parade to start, but if you felt the Caribbean sun beating down on us, you’d understand. The large glass of mimosa didn’t hurt anything either.
The Carnival parade is stunning as always, and it’s so fun to dance and sing along with everyone having so much fun.
We got some takeout from Rhumb Lines for dinner and then watched the fireworks from our balcony. Not quite ready to let the party stop, we went back to Beach Bar to hear another band! A long day for sure, but a Carnival success. I wish it was Carnival time more than just once a year!
Sunday found six St. Thomians dragging after all the fun. We packed up the car and bravely trekked out to Cinnamon Beach, but the wind was really kicking the sand up and made it not so fun. We went back to the Grande Bay pool and enjoyed the rest of our St. John afternoon before heading home.
Did I mention I LOVE carnival!?