St. Lucia/Slu Carnival Review

View from Morne Fortune

St. Lucia was amazing. Definitely something to experience. St. Lucia is a mountainous island so getting from one end to the next will take some time, but its a beautiful island. I stayed at Rodney Bay Inn in Gros Islet. They had a there main hotel Rodey Bay Hotel next door where I was able to get breakfast lunch and dinner. Breakfast was included in our stay which made thing very convenient.

Behind Rodney Bay Inn was Rodney Bay Mall where there was a plethora restaurants, shops, and bar. I wasn’t able to make it to their local fish fry on Friday but i was able to sample their fish and it was good. St. Lucia knows how to season their food and for a person who only eats fish they never ran short of it. Their national breakfast is saltfish, salad, and bread. Piton and Strongbow were two of there local drinks.

Along the strip I was able to visit a couple of local restaurants. Rituals Coffee where i had the St. Lucian breakfast (saltfish, salad, and bread) and a piton. I went to Crave where they had the bomb veggie pasta, so flavorful, and a passionfruit Ting. There was a buffet spot called The Triangle where you can have 4-5 sides and a main for 20EC-25EC that’s like $10. 1usd is 2.70 EC (East Caribbean Dollars) You can get real authentic St. Lucian food there. Thats where many locals go.

When it comes to flights like anywhere the sooner the better. I booked mines in February and paid $650 but it was to the further airport, the closer aiport cost 1k at that time. I would recommend going for 7 days. Thursday-Thursday, where you can pick up your costumes/ packages, squeeze in touristy things to do, go to day 1, 2, and 3 of carnival and come back home in time to rest the weekend. Parties started to release in March. The parties I went to were: Mess, Brazen, Raff Up, Remedy, and Indulgence there was still more that otheres went to but those were the main popular ones in my opinion.

Mess is like a jouvert party, this year theme was mud, last year they did oil. Raff Up is a boatride well a catamaran and they sail off to a private island where you can swim and party on the beach. Remedy is a cooler fete on the beach. Indulgence is a breakfast fete where u dress cute this year theme was neon. Brazen is another cooler fete. If you read my last post I told you St. Lucia is big on cooler fetes. Sidebar some of the fetes require small coolers and no glass bottles only champagne you can bring in a glass bottle.

View from the boat

I played with Xuvo this was their 1st time on the road an they didn’t disappoint. But I would give them an 8 out of 10. They needed to get a rope to keep the stormers out, they also should’ve played more versatile music, and this wasn’t their fault but they only use one side so cars was still driving on the other side of the road which made things tight for masqueraders. The costumes are reasonably priced, I paid $480 for by backline costume with wire bra. St. Lucia is big on Power Soca so if you want to attend make sure you have the energy and stamina to keep up. Their is a stage to cross so at a certain point in the march they ask you to get in your section. Xuvo came in second place. 🥳🥳

Xuvo Carnival

St. Lucia carnival was opposite from Trinidad carnival. They have costume march (Monday) on day 1 then Tuesday wear on day 2 where u wear whatever you want. Then they have day 3 which is like the after party on the Wednesday.

I was able to squeeze in some touristy things. I took a picture with the famous Piton Mountain (Gros & Petit Piton), experienced Toraille waterfall (Soufriere, St. Lucia), and did the volcano mud bath at Sulphur Springs, which is the only drive through volcano, (Soufriere, St. Lucia). Omg you have to visit the views are breathtaking. Morne Fortune is a nice location to see the view of Castries, St. Lucia its on the way to the wayerfall and volcano.

Sulfur Springs
The Piton Mountains

Overall I would definitely go back to St. Lucia and reccomend anyone who thought about it to go. Just know prices next year will go up. But I will be there.

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to ask.


Things to Do in San Diego

Did you know the game “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” was introduced to the world because companies were trying to use computers games to teach kids and show parents that technology wasn’t a bad thing. Also Carmen Sandiego was actually born in San Francisco Bay area and not San Diego.

On that note there are many things to do in San Diego. I visited there a couple of times and plan to go again in a few months.

San Diego is a beautiful city, very mountainous, and very clean. There is something for everyone of all ages to do. Flights average from NYC is $3oo you can expect to pay more during holiday time or if there is a special event taking place. Some must see spots are San Diego Zoo, Seaport Village, Balboa Park, Missions Beach/Belmont Park, just to name a few. San Diego is a place you can visit all year around, they don’t get much rain and the nights can get cold so bring a light sweater.

If you only have a weekend in San Diego some things you can do is visit Hollywood, its around a 2 hour drive, prepare for traffic it’s worst than New York traffic (anyone who lives in NY knows how that is). Once in Hollywood you can see the stars on the Hollywood walk of fame, take a hike to the Hollywood sign, visit the wax museum, or even take a tour to see celebrities houses. A famous place to eat in Hollywood is In-N-Out Burger which is known for their fresh (not frozen) beef, hand-cut French fries, inexpensive menu and great service.

After the day in Hollywood you can spend the rest of the time in San Diego. If you have kids or just a lover of animals you can visit the San Diego Zoo and Safari. One day pass $56 adults $46 child. It houses more than 3,000 animals and opens from 9am-6pm. It is located in Balboa Park which is a must see.

Day two visit Belmont Park/Mission Beach. There you can go on 12 rides, eat at 3 ocean front eateries, and play at an 18-hole Tiki themed golf course. There are many other attractions and things to do there as well. It was opened back in 1925 by John D. Spreckles, its main attraction is the wooden roller coaster named Giant Dipper and is a National Historic Landmark of its own. One famous food attraction is Sweet Shoppe where you can dare to eat a monster waffle cone ice cream.

Day three go to Seaport Village, it is a big tourist trap but you will definitely enjoy your time there. It’s a waterfront mall, with plenty of restaurants, souvenir shops, beautiful architectural buildings, and live music and entertainment.

Some honorable mentions if you have more time in San Diego and want to see some historic places you can visit Old Town which is he birthplace of California, The site of the first Spanish settlement in 1769. USS Midway Museum, it is the largest museum dedicated to aircraft carriers and have aviation. Also it was the longest serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century. $22 adults (18+) Opens from 10am-4pm. Sea World, $55 adult Opens from 10:30am-5pm, Gaslamp Quarter another historic place, has 100 unique retail shops, Comic Con is held there and hass many places to eat, and last but not least La Jolla Cove very picturesque, you can find many wild life from sea lions and seals just chilling on the rocks.

San Diego has many attractions and things to do. It just depending on the person you are and who you are traveling with, so make plans accordingly. I like to do adventurous things and site seeing, but because I visited in the pace I try to do something different each time.

What are you interested in doing in San Diego?

Vegandale NY 2019

Entering its fifth festival season, Vegandale Food Drink Festival is where the world’s best in vegan food, drink, and goods come together in a day-long celebration of the idea that veganism proposes; that we can live a full life of enjoyment and ease without the use of animals.

Vegandale had around 100 plus different vendors that sold a variation of chi’kin to voxtail to skrimp. It a place where all are welcome, no matter age, race, human, or animal. I was surprise the event had a well diverse crowd to be honest. It seem to me veganism is becoming more of a lifestyle and not just a trend.

The statement ” that we can live a full life of enjoyment and ease without the use of animals” is not too far off. Going to vegandale would have any meat lover question whether they should continue to eat meat or not. There were some hits and misses. But once you find those hidden gems you are sure to be hooked.

Vegandale was an experience like no other. I personally would call myself a pescatarian but I dabble in veganism here and there. Seeing how they used non animal product to make different variations of food was amazing and have me considering eating less fish.

Some of my personal favorite was Sweet Trail Bakery which is a traveling food truck based in New Jersey, I had their Oreo shake and red velvet cupcake and Freakin’ Vegan which had an amazing buffalo chick’n mac n cheese with vegan blue cheese, I highly recommend trying them, they are based out in New Jersey. Some other honorable mentions are Twisted Potato (Queens, New York), Sodeliciousdairyfree based in Canada but they have different locations that sells there ice cream, and Green Gorilla Kitchen which is a food truck based in Manhattan, NY, their burgers were amazing.

There were plenty of vendors I wanted to try but between the long lines and the heat, there wasn’t enough time in the day. The next time I go I will be more prepared. I recommend going early, bringing a blanket so you can rest, and plenty of containers so you can buy as much food as you want and take home.

Vegandale 10 out of 10. There’s something that everyone can eat, whether your vegan or you just want to experience veganism for a day. I highly recommend everyone to visit atleast once. Their next stop will be Houston, Texas November 9th. Hey maybe I’ll see you there.

Carnivals to Come

Summer has come and gone and one main trends we saw were carnival costumes and fetes. Don’t get it twisted tho carnival is an all year event and every country has some form of carnival whether big or small and the real carnival chasers know its a never ending chase.

To name a few carnivals that past this summer were; St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados (Cropover), Toronto (Caribana), and Grenada (JabJab) to name a few. Some carnivals that just past were London Notting Hill Carnival and Boston Carnival. Miami Carnival is coming up in Oct (around Columbus Day) and St. Kitts and Nevis in December (Christmas into the New Years).

Some tips that I have for you to prepare for your next carnival is to research, research, research, on the location you are going. Depending on which carnival you are going to you can opt to go to a further airport and save some money but just know that in saving money you will sacrifice some time. For example, for Miami Carnival instead of flying into Miami you can fly into Fort Lauderdale and drive 45 min to an hour to Miami. I use to do that when I attended Miami Carnival.  I also did that for St. Lucia’s carnival I flew into Hewanorra International Airport at Vieux Fort (UVF) which is located on the southern end of the island and serves primarily international flights verses fliying into George F. L. Charles Airport (SLU), which is located on the outskirts of Castries in the north and is used for inter-island flights. On the plus side of driving into your destination you are able to take in the scenery and explore the area. 

If you can stay an extra day or two, or even able to fly in early I recommend you do so. Make sure you check how many days carnival is and what time it may finish each carnival is different, some are for two days some are for one, they all land on different days as well. You do not want to have to catch a flight during carnival or right after carnival is over, you will feel like crap on the plane. If you are able to explore to area and do touristy thing do it. I love carnival and the parties, on top of parties, on top of parties, but seeing what else the place has to offer adds to a trip

Where to stay is the most important thing besides booking your flight. The way I pick the right location is to see where the carnival road march is taking place and also where most of the parties are located. Most of time road marches are in the cities capital so it’s always good to look within that vicinity or a little further out. You never want to be to far because who wants to drive 45 min to hour going to a party then have to do that drive again to go back to your hotel. FYI for Miami Carnival you don’t need to stay on the strip. Most parties aren’t on the strip and the parade isn’t there either.  I recommend staying between the 30’s and high 40’s in Miami beach, Fontainebleau Miami Beach and The Alexander – All Suite Oceanfront Resort are two good places to stay.

Another tip is to know what parties you want to attend and get the tickets beforehand. Most party tickets start going on sale 3 months prior to the event. Follow the events page on Instagram so you can stay up to date on prices and release dates. Some websites you can check frequently for tickets are ticketgateway.com, eventbrite.com, caribbeanmecca.com, and islandetickets.com Also find out if the parties have a theme so you can dress accordingly. Ladies be cute and sexy but please remember to be comfortable, no one want to be in a party and their feet hurt or their clothes is too tight so they can’t dance. 

Now if you plan on playing mas make sure you research which band is a good fit for you. Not all bands are the same, some are more expensive, some have prettier costumes, and some don’t have men costumes.  All things to take into consideration.  Remember to try on your costume once you pick it up, most bands allow you to try on the costume there and make adjustments if needed. I highly recommend doing that. Some popular mas bands for Miami are FreaksMas, One Island Band, Ramajay International Mas, and Revel Nation to name a few. To join a selected band all you have to do is to go on the bands’ website and register within the given time period. Registration is open now for Miami and Trinidad.

One thing that helped me out on the road and at parties was a soca survivor kit. It comes with a fanny pack for women a hydration pack (unisex), hand sanitizer, a flag of your country, external battery, ear plugs, travel size deodorant, waterproof phone case, and condoms only for $35. There Instagram is @soca_survivor, it was a life saver I definitely recommend getting that. Another money saving tip is to travel with a group of reliable people you can split the cost of buying bottles, transportation arrangements, and even getting some party tickets.

How much money should one bring is the next question, honestly that is all up to the individual, I would say no less than $500 for a minimum of 5 days. Depending on the activities you choose, how much you eat, and how much liquor you choose to consume will play a factor in how much money to bring. Some parties are drinks inclusive or all inclusive so that helps as well.

A major carnival that is coming up is Trinidad carnival. Yes, I know it’s in Feb. 2020 but if your flight isn’t booked yet get to booking. Also start looking out for the parties that will be happening during that time. There costumes are out and are stunning as always. Some of there popular bands are Tribe, Paparazzi, Yuma, and Ronnie & Caro Carnival Band. Trinidad carnival is one carnival where you really need to prepare yourself a year in advance because it can get costly so be ware. When I went in 2018 the total I spent on everything from flight, hotel costume, parties, etc was $2,500USD.

Flights are available to be booked from now up until mid July. So if you are interested in going to any carnivals start planning/booking now, the sooner the better.

All in all like anything else you must do your research. Google will always be your friend in this situation. I know for myself I start looking things up 6 months in advance to know exactly what I want to do. Happy carnival chasing.

If you have any questions feel free to ask away. 🙂

St. Lucia Carnival a small island experience

Thinking about going to St. Lucia carnival? Where to stay, where to party, just plain what to do you may ask. I have the answers.

St. Lucia carnival is a small island carnival nut don’t think twice that you wont get the full experience of road. It’s always held the 3rd Monday and Tuesday in July. Yes, 2days of road. Monday you get to wear your beautiful costume and the Tuesday you can wear whatever you want or parts of an old costume. Their main soca is Dennery Soca which are song you may be familiar with; Split in the Middle by Freezy and Bad in Bum Bum by Mighty feat Subance.

Gros Islet/ Rodney Bay are the best place to stay during carnival is close to most of the events that are primarily located in Pigeon Point, Castries is also a nice place to stay as well but i would make Gros Islet/Rodney Bay my first choice. The Airbnbs are beautiful out there but if you prefer staying in a hotel ill recommend Coco Palm Resort, Harbor Club, and Hideaway Royalton.

Flying in SLU airport is the most convenient but its much more pricey that UVF. UVF is about 1.5 hours away from Castries which is that bad.

St. Lucia is the island for beach cooler fetes. During carnival there will be plenty to attend as well as regular parties too. Some parties that you shouldn’t miss are; Deeper than Soca Presents JOB Cooler Edition, Duck Work Binge, Color ME Re, Legends Carnival Mess Clay Edition (jouvert party), Bacchanal Blocko, Silent Morning, Remedy, Raft Up, Indulgence Breakfast Party, Brazen, Tribe Ignite, Suits, and Xuvo Day 3 just to name a few. If you are a real party animal plan on going to 2-3 parties a day.

I will be playing with XUVO Carnival. This will be their first year on the road but they are a sister company to Verve. Verve is the biggest event and entertainment group in St. Lucia so I’m sure they will deliver the same energy and service with the band. An essential thing that I found that will be useful for carnival is the soca survivor kit. It has the essentials for chipping down the road. From a fanny pack, Hydration pack, portable battery, hand sanitizer, and a waterproof case just to name a few items. https://www.instagram.com/soca_survivor/?hl=en

“XUVO is focused on  creating unique, world class, ultra premium experiences signature to Verve. As a 100% Saint Lucian company, we pride ourselves in merging the international stage with our local culture, fostering a high energy, exciting environment for our XUVO dolls and dons.” ~ XUVO Carnival

I’m very excited to play mas in St. Lucia this year. I know its going to be a great time. Alot of new soca songs are from St. Lucian artist so that makes it even better. If you do plan on visiting St. Lucia and you plan on doing other thing than just carnival you must go to their Friday Night Fish Fry. Sulfur Spring (volcano mud bath experience), Marigot Bay ( very beautiful bay with the boats in the harbor), Reduit Beach (more touristy and many hagglers), and The Pitons ( which are two mountainous volcanic plugs, volcanic spires in St. Lucia) are some other thing that you can do in St. Lucia that will make you stay wonderful.

I hope this helps. Stay tuned for the review of carnival in July.

To lum or Tulum, Mexico that is.

I must admit Instagram has me interested in visiting Tulum, Mexico and since I am going to Mexico in a couple of weeks I decided to share some insight on Tulum and why you should visit as well.  Tulum, Mexico is 90 minutes south of Cancun and is a place worth a visit. Its known for its beaches, yoga (a great place to relax), and their cenotes. Although Tulum has gotten a major increase in tourism it is one of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites.The Tulum ruins are the third most-visited archaeological site in Mexico. Tulum’s restaurants and beaches have made it one of Mexico’s best place to visit.

Photo by: GoogleImage result for tulum mexico

Aside from its nature and beautiful beaches, Tulum has some of the country’s best nightlife, from beach parties at the epic Papaya Playa Project(party hotel) to the popular bar Batey on the central strip. If you want great mezcal (something like tequila), you can’t miss one of its hidden gem known as Nakawé, or if you’re fancy you can drink some cocktails in a luxurious outdoor setting at Gitano. And these are just some of Tulum’s  options.

Photo: Gitano / Facebook

If you prefer nature than liquor and are looking for an eco-friendly reason to visit Tulum, then surely the fact that you can see sea turtles in their natural habitat. Each year from May to October, many of the beaches starts to get thousands of turtles who come to lay their eggs in the sands after nightfall. If you want to be more adventurous and hands on you can go to Akumal Beach to swim with them instead. Tulum is home to a wide range of animals, from monkeys and jaguars, to sea turtles and iguanas. They can all be seen at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, which is one of the world’s top eco-tourism destinations.

Photo by: visitsiankaan.com/sian-kaan-pictures

Another thing that peaked my interest in Tulum is the food options. And if you’re a foodie Mexico has many great options. If you love seafood or prefer vegan options, there’s something in Tulum that will please everyone. El Camello is a must visit for there seafood soup,  Hartwood is another choice, where the menu changes daily so you will always be amazed. La Fonda Chiquita is perfect for an authentic Mexican experience. Great food and cheap prices you can’t go wrong. 

One major tip when visiting Tulum is bring cash. 

Tulum, Mexico also has few of the world greatest tree-house hotels and I would and plan on staying in one. Hotel Azulik the most popular is made up of 33 tree-house cabins that looks over the see. Side note only stay in a tree-house if you are looking for an off the grid experience. The rooms have no  TV’s, phone or electricity so it’s easy for you to relax and reconnect with nature.

Photo by: azulik.com/villasGallery image of this property

Azulik is a private, adults-only beach resort and Mayan Wellness Center. There is a clothing-optional beach which is great for sunbathing or swimming. Each tree-house is made from Mexican-royal-ebony Khatalosh. The tree house’s also have a private deck with outdoor day beds, seating areas. Another nice feature is that they serve breakfast and lunch. 

Photo by: azulik.com/villasGallery image of this property

Now I can go on and on about things to do in Tulum, Mexico or why I want to visit. The pictures alone gets me excited to go. But you be the judge. Are you interested in visiting Tulum, Mexico?

Carnival in Jamaica

The good, the bad, the ugly, and yes it got ugly in Jamaica.

I stayed for about 6 days in Jamaica. The many parties leading up to Jamaica carnival were great. My top 3 parties Xaymaca beach lime (that was a MOVIE), Suits, and Medz. A.M. Bush is another must attend its more of a jouvert party where you can get as wotless as you want. Paint, powder, and water is the theme, this year though it wasn’t at its full potential but that won’t deter me from going to another one of there events.

Carnival Sunday the day I’ve been waiting for, I played with Xaymaca. The vibez wasn’t bad. Now the road had more space to walk less pedestrians intruding. Down fall costume fell apart literally just walk and the gems were coming off. They did repeat songs which was annoying (Famalay 🙄🙄 over it). People need to learn costume manners and walk side ways when they have there wings on.

When they say carnival is woman thats very true there were much much more girls than guys. Like alot. Jamaica still getting there though. There was no stage to cross and all the sections were all over the place. Jamaica isn’t really soca and I believe they been doing carnival for only 6 yrs now but they sure did show out. It could of been worse like Miami. But I didn’t go with any expectations and enjoyed myself nonetheless. They gave a generous amount of liquor so that’s always a plus.

Now lunch break was crazy (the ugly). The food was good, well my fish n festival was good when I did find it. It was hard to find a fish/vegan section to eat. From what I heard they did run out of food (chicken) which is disappointing they must do better. So some people went back on the road with no food. People paid money for the full experience, to enjoy the road, the food, and the liquor. So to miss out on any part us not acceptable.

They did have a makeup tent which was nice touch. You got to freshen up and go back on the road. They were to have a massage station which no one could find. And there was to be a repair tent/person but they never showed or atleast no one couldn’t find them either. They did have many areas to take nice pictures.

Back on the road we went for the last lap. Vibes was still pumping liquor was still flowing and they are very generous with the liquor. More of the same songs which was expected. But overall a good time. The last stop was dinner and that was a mess. No one could of told me where the fish/vegan line was then come to find out they ran out of that. Lines were ridiculous. I got frustrated and just went and got pasta. They played good music but you can tell alot of people was over it.

Overall I give my experience an 8 out of 10. Would I do it again yeah. I just don’t think I’ll purchase a full on costume. But if it’s your first time I would reccomend to do the whole thing. Experience the parties leading up to carnival, get a costume, and a definite must is Xaymaca beach lime to end it off. If you can spend an extra day do so.

Go to the beach, visit Devon’s House (patties and icecream amazing), see the Bob Marley museum, or even visit Usain Bolt restaurant just to name a few activities. Jamaica carnival is something to experience so put it on your bucket list to do.