Get ready to shake what ‘ya mama gave you with travel blogger Jess Gibson from The Travelista, as she tells us all about her recent trip to the annual Antigua Carnival in the Caribbean. Here’s what she got up to…
Our first day in Antigua began with a trip to St John’s, which is Antigua’s largest town. We stopped for a quick rum-tasting session at 10am – which seemed perfectly normal to the rum-loving locals.
Metallic Cross Body Bag, £17 | Leona Semi Precious Stacking Rings, £19 | Jessica Embellished Sandals, £35
Next, it was time to explore the colonial streets of St John’s, so I put together a light, tropical outfit and paired it with my metallic cross-body bag.
Festival Embroidered Bikini Top, £18
That afternoon, we visited the Myst Carnival Troupe where my carnival dreams came true! I got to try on a traditional carnival costume, which was called ‘Queen of the Band’. It was incredibly heavy but I felt a million dollars.
Day two brought a mini adventure as we embarked on a catamaran boat trip around the whole island. The boat trip included a BBQ lunch on the boat and snorkelling at a secluded cove. The scenery was spectacular and after my first rum punch, I began to feel really relaxed.
Scalloped Edge Swimsuit, £29 sold out online, now available in Teal | Halle Semi Precious Lariat Necklace, £19
I spent all day in my scalloped edge swimsuit, which was comfortable and incredibly flattering. I paired the swimsuit with my Halle semi-precious lariat necklace as the drop-gem design looked gorgeous against the swimsuit.
Colourful Stripe Crop Bikini Top, £22 | Leona Semi Precious Stacking Rings, £19
Sunday was all about rest and relaxation so I made the most of our hotel’s location on Dickenson Bay. The jet lag had me up early so I threw on my favourite swimwear and hit the beach. I ate banana pancakes and sipped on a fresh coconut – it was a tropical dream!
Fifi Frill Bandeau Bikini Top, £18 | Rosanna Wide Leg Trousers, £29
At around 5pm we drove across the island to attend the Shirley Heights’ Sunday night BBQ – a must for anyone visiting Antigua. The sunset was spectacular and there was a steel band playing all night.
Major Quilt Mini Backpack, £25
J’ouvert is the first procession of the Antigua Carnival and it started with a bang at around 4am in the streets of St John’s. The streets were filled with people dancing at sunrise and it was amazing to see so much energy so early in the morning! In the afternoon, we got to join the Myst Carnival Troupe and dance in the Judging of the Bands parade! Each Troupe is like a different group of dancers and anyone can pay to be a part of the carnival. The outfits were beautiful, the atmosphere was incredible and you couldn’t help feel alive with the upbeat soca music. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!
The third and final Parade of Bands is the biggest spectacle of the carnival, when men and women dress in their most flamboyant and colourful carnival outfits. This took place on our last day in Antigua, but it was definitely worth the wait! We went back to St John’s as spectators and I played the role of photographer, snapping all of my favourite carnival outfits. It was so inspiring to see how body confident the women were – they are so proud of their bodies.
Esme Embroidered Hem Dress, £25 | Vintage queen Ring, £10
It was so special to be a part of the Antigua Carnival and is definitely something I will never forget. From the people to the beaches and the music to the food, I fell in love with Antigua and I would love to return again one day.
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Written by Jess Gibson, founder and editor of award-winning UK travel blog The Travelista. Follow Jess on Instagram @thetravelista to see more of her stylish travels.