I am still on a high from my incredible and unforgettable experience at Barbados Crop Over 2023. Attending an official Carnival festival has always been on my bucket list. I, of course, being an alumnus of Xavier University of Louisiana and a resident of New Orleans for four years, have had my share of Mardi Gras memories. I’ve been to so many parades and danced in the streets, but I have never had the complete involvement including the costume.
Last year, while I was planning my full year of forty celebration, I thought that this would be the perfect time to attend a carnival. Like Mardi Gras, Carnival season is based around Lent and usually starts typically at the beginning of the year with Trinidad & Tobago. I knew I needed some time to prepare for Carnival this year. I had already planned on my shoulder surgery at the beginning of the year and I wanted more time to snatch this body together. Barbados Crop Over was the best decision to attend, being that it was later in the year around harvest season. I also really wanted to see Barbados, thanks Rihanna.
I did my usual research and found the perfect group to join for my Crop Over extravaganza. Black Girls Travel Too had an all inclusive amazing Crop Over trip on their social media page. I quickly signed up with their payment plan and got to planning my own elevated experience.
Barbados Crop Over 2023 was such a mind blowing, liberating and special trip. My jaunt was filled with so much fun, laughter, dancing and heat! Not just me in my costume, but the weather in Barbados was on another level. After getting through this incredible time, that everyone in my opinion should experience once in their lifetime. I decided to share some insight on what to bring on your trip, so you can easily have an awesome time as well.
I’m no Carnival expert, but this surely won’t be my last Caribbean Carnival season. See my list below of all the essentials you need for you own great Crop Over/ Carnival experience.
- Portable fan
Now I have been to several countries in the Caribbean, but Barbados in the summer is a whole new level of hot. Especially, when you’re surrounded by tons of people dancing nonstop. The humidity and sun had me sweating as soon as I stepped outside. This portable fan was a game changer. It’s super compact and I carried it everywhere with me. It has a long battery life, so I was able to keep the party going.
This should be self explanatory. It’s HOT! You’re sweating immensely and dancing hours on end to Soca music. There will also be lots of liquor involved in Carnival. It is absolutely essential you stay hydrate and drink plenty of water. Drink more water than you would on a normal day.
- Portable battery charger
The Carnival season consists of several days of non stop and possibly overnight partying. Don’t forget that you will be trying to capture all the fun you’re having on your phone. Whether you are team iPhone or Android, you will need a back up battery charger to keep your phone alive during those long days and nights.
- Comfortable shoes
As stated above, you will be partying, dancing and standing for hours on hours. For Jouvert/ Foreday and Grand Kadooment (the finale) you will definitely want to invest in some super comfortable shoes to wear. Even better if your shoes match your outfit/ costume.
- Fanny pack/ leg bag
You will want to keep those hands as free as possible as you’re attending fetes and “chipping” (dancing) down the street you’ll want to store your essentials and currency safely. I highly suggest a fanny pack or leg bag especially for Jouvert/ Foreday and Grand Kadooment
- Wet wipes
You will be outside all Carnival, literally. This definitely limits your bathroom options. This means that most likely you will be using a portable toilet to use the restroom. You will feel so much cleaner and better using these wipes to refresh and sanitize.
- An amazing crew
You know how the saying goes, “The more the merrier.” An amazing party is always better with your crew to join and hype you up. Imagine being in the streets with Soca music playing and you bopping with your friends having a great time. Now add beautiful costumes to that experience. You can’t tell me that’s not a fabulous time. I am so very thankful to Black Girls Travel Too for the sisterhood I enraptured during my trip. I am also thankful to Krave the Band for providing the gorgeous costumes and ambiance of Grand Kadooment.
*Doctor’s orders: Notice that I didn’t put sunscreen on the list for essentials. As a physician, I must emphasis the importance of wearing sunscreen DAILY. No matter where you are on this planet you should be putting on sunscreen every day. No matter your shade from peach to plum put on your sunscreen before you walk out the door in the morning. I was double coated in sunscreen and reapplied often during my entire stay in Barbados.