A few days before my birthday trip to St. Maarten during SXM Carnival, I learned that Tobago would be hosting its own carnival separate from Trinidad Carnival this fall under the theme of Ritual, Revelry, Release.
If you didn’t know, there are several carnivals in Trinidad & Tobago during the traditional carnival time, but they are often overshadowed by the popular Carnival in Port of Spain, Trinidad. In fact, masqueraders often travel to Tobago as a “post-carnival cool down” destination to relax before heading back home from Trinidad Carnival. The Tobago Carnival Committee hopes branching off to a separate carnival will allow Tobago to shine in its own light and “keep old traditions alive while simultaneously embracing new trends.”
The Tobago Carnival calendar events released and include five main events with additional events hosted by private promoters. Tashia Burris, Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities, and Transportation stated that it “won’t be another Trinidad-style event but an opportunity for the island to show what it can do.” and “This is an event we intend to make part of our calendar of activities yearly”.
After tons of research most of the summer and being on the fence about whether to attend the Miami or Tobago Carnival this year, I have decided to do both. If you’re planning on attending Tobago Carnival and don’t know where to start, here’s a complete Tobago Carnival 2022 guide sharing everything you need to know about planning for Tobago Carnival 2022.
When is Tobago Carnival 2022?
Tobago Carnival will run from October 28 to 30. Events leading to the carnival start as early as September.
Getting to Tobago
The airport code for Tobago is TAB. Airlines that fly directly to Tobago are Caribbean Airlines, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. While only a few countries have direct flights, you can also get to Tobago by flying into Trinidad (POS) and taking a flight or ferry to Tobago. This option gives you the ability to see both islands in one trip.
A round-trip flight from Port of Spain to Tobago costs $48 USD. Round-trip ferries are about $200 TT for premium and $50 TT for economy.
*Tips from a local*
- A ferry ride from Trinidad to Tobago is about 3-4 hours. Bring snacks or you can buy on board.
- You can bring your rental car on the ferry to Tobago for an additional fee.
- If you get motion sickness take gravol or Dramamine, or get a motion sickness bracelet.
- Check the schedules for ferries as they sell out quickly. If you know someone in Trinidad, have them buy ferry tickets for you before going down.
- Trinidadian nationals ages 60+ with a valid ID card or passport ride the ferry to Tobago for free.
- Flights from Trinidad to Tobago are scheduled every hour via Caribbean Airlines and are about a 1/2 hr.
Below are links to book a ferry or flight from Trinidad to Tobago.
Getting Around in Tobago
The full length of Tobago is 115 square miles and events take place in different parts of the island. To see all of Tobago, it is best to rent a car. If you’re not comfortable driving on the left side of the road, Tobago has a public transportation bus service that spans the island and fares range from TT$3-TT$8. Options to hire a private driver/taxi service are also available.
If you’re staying in Crown Point, you can do a lot of walking as the beach, restaurants, and shops are common in this area. Like Trinidad, hired vehicles, maxi taxis, and buses have an “H” on their license plate while private vehicles have a “P”.
Where to Stay in Tobago
To take part in the main events, the best area to stay is in Crown Point or Scarborough. Prices for hotels, resorts, and guest houses in Tobago range from $50-600+ a night. I’ve stayed in a villa in Bon Accord and it was perfect for our group of 15+. If you’re doing a solo trip to Tobago Carnival or visiting with 1-3 people, it may be cheaper to rent a guest house or stay in a smaller boutique hotel. Here are some hotels to check out. You can also check hotels based on availability and your budget on sites like Airbnb, TripAdvisor, or Booking.com.
- Kariwak Village Holistic Haven and Hotel
- The Villas At Stonehaven
- Coco Reef Resort and Spa
- Blue Waters Inn
- Bacolet Beach Club
- Mount Irvine Bay Resort
- Shepherd’s Inn
- Castara Inn
- Comfort Inn & Suites
- Viola’s Place
Official Tobago Carnival 2022 Schedule
Tobago Carnival includes five main events hosted by the Tobago House of Assembly: Pan in the Gayelle, J’Ouvert, Night Mas, Emerge Carnival Masquerade Gala and ends with Parade of the Bands. Here is a preliminary list of events that will take place for Tobago Carnival 2022. I’ve also linked the ones I can find tickets for.
- September 25 – Soaked at Roxborough
- October 1 – Dream at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex
- October 22 – The Hideout at the Argyle Waterfall
- October 23 – Revel on the Harbour Master
- October 26 – Wadap Wednesday at Canoe Bay
- October 27 – Pink Brunch
- October 27 – HUSH at Mt Irvine Golf Club
- October 28 – Pan in the Gayelle
- October 28 – Floats and Bikinis on the Harbour Master
- October 28 – Daylight (venue to be announced)
- October 28 – Finesse on board the Embassy.
- October 29 – J’Ouvert
- October 29 – Night Mas
- October 29 – Emerge Carnival Masquerade Gala
- October 29 – Mud Festival in Crown Point
- October 29 – TUCO Tobago Lime at Tropikist Hotel
- October 29 – Soiree (venue to be announced)
- October 30 – Parade of the Bands
Tobago Carnival Bands
For its first official carnival separate from Trinidad, Tobago Carnival has over 30+ J’ouvert and mas bands available to choose from. Compared to the carnival in Trinidad, costume prices are significantly less ($250-800 USD) for male and female frontline, midline, and curvy options. As with all Caribbean carnivals, in order to participate, you would need to register with a band. I will be playing with Jade Monkey Mas this year. These are some of the bands that I was able to find during my research online and via Instagram:
Tobago Carnival Jouvert Bands
Tobago Carnival Mas Bands
For a complete list of bands and how to register or contact the section leaders, visit the official Tobago Carnival 2022 website for the most up to date information.
Things to do in Tobago
If you ask any masquerader, they will tell you that Carnival is NOT a vacation and I am here to tell you that it certainly can be. I am all about balance and as a traveler and carnivalist, I don’t necessarily have to be at every fete. For this trip, I plan to include touristy activities around the island, eat the food, visit family, as well as get some rest. Below are some places to visit in Tobago that you can include before or after celebrating carnival in Tobago.
- Tobago Museum
- Scarborough Botanical Garden
- Pirate’s Bay
- Buccoo Reef
- Nylon Pool
- Tobago Cocoa Estate
- Little Tobago Island
- Flagstaff Hill
- Fort King George
- Argyle Waterfall
- Pirate’s Bay
- Pigeon Point Beach
- Englishman’s Bay
- Store Bay
If you’re someone that wants to visit Trinidad and Tobago and experience a more intimate Carnival that highlights the music, history, and culture, I would give Tobago Carnival a try. Make sure to come back as I share my full review of Tobago Carnival 2022.
Check out the following resources for carnival planning:
- The Ultimate Trinidad Carnival Packing List
- Best Hairstyles for Playing Mas
- Carnival Prep: Tips for Getting Ready for Carnival