After scoring a jetBlue deal and snagging a convenient AirBnB, you probably don’t expect many more blessings, then you encountered this article. Traveling on a budget is essential when you’re saddled with tuition loan debt. For the first-timer, experiencing Carnival on U$40 a day could be a ticket to priceless experiences.
Transportation by taxi or rideshare, refreshments and eats are basically what your wallet will need to cover. This article does not intend to discourage anyone from supporting local artisans and shops that offer souvenirs that sustain the memory of a visit. Most travelers set aside funds to make souvenir purchases. Life can be expensive, so until better days come along, you’ve got to make the most of what little you have. Here are pointers to inexpensive experiences worth exploring:
GALLERY GRAZE ≈≈ Take in a Carnival-themed art exhibit at the National Museum and Art Gallery on Frederick Street. Then stroll through Woodbrook’s fine art district where admission is free to contemporary art galleries such as, Y Art Gallery, A Space Inna Space, Medulla Art Gallery, On Location and 101 Art Gallery.
PRE-SHOW SPECTATE ≈≈ The Drag, a paved passageway into Carnival’s main stage in the Queen’s Park Savannah, offers orchestra seat views of the pre-show staging of adult and junior steelband and mas presentations. Bring your own seat, meals and beverage cooler, or arrive early to score seating on a free bleacher perch provided. Pack an umbrella for shade and an appetite for crowds. All the fried foods, jerk meats, curry, pelau and spirits your palate craves are sold at booths alongside the Drag.
PANYARD CRAWL ≈≈ Sampling the sound of steel up-close is best done in a panyard. Over 100 steelbands participate in Carnival. Band members typically assemble at dusk to rehearse and perfect their composition for Panorama competition. It’s a great selfie opp and you can sightsee other communities by planning your visit to multiple panyards in the same area, like Exodus and Harmonites along the Eastern corridor, then Skiffle Bunch and Hatters around the southern city of San Fernando. Admission is usually free.
DANCE TIL DAWN ≈≈ The popular musical trio known as 3canal, produce a Rapso concert every Friday night during the Carnival season in a backyard converted to an open-air concert space. Being situated near Ariapita Avenue, a major thoroughfare for Carnival festivities, is a bonus for event-hoppers. If you’re unfamiliar with Rapso music, that’s all the reason your curiosity needs to check out D’Backyard Jam in the Big Black Box. Admission is about U$10.
Canboulay, Nostalgia, Junior Carnival, J’ouvert and the Parade of Bands can all be experienced without forking over an admission fee. One of the wonderful attributes of Trinidad & Tobago’s famed Carnival is that it remains widely accessible to the public. In most instances, an admission fee applies to cover the provision of sheltered seating with an unobstructed view, security, sanitation and audio/visual services.
Enjoy your Carnival.