St. Thomas Carnival is one of three US Virgin Island carnivals that typically occurs the last weekend in April with carnival festivities, fetes, Jouvert and more. The best part about this is you don’t need a United States passport to travel or celebrate the culture.
I was hosted at St Thomas Carnival in 2023 by USVI tourism and festivals however all opinions are my own. Please note that some links are affiliate links in which I earn a commission from with no extra cost to you.
When Is St Thomas Carnival?
The week of carnival is slated for April 28th to May 5th, 2024 with the road parade taking place on Saturday May 4th, 2024. Jouvert occurs on May 2nd, 2024 (around 4am).
Travel to St Thomas, USVI
You can fly into Cyril E. King Airport (code STT). The island is breathtaking from the red rooftops along the Charlotte Amalie waterfront dotted by cruise ships, sailboats, yachts and beautiful blue water.
American citizens do not need a passport to travel as the US Virgin Islands are a US territory. Currency used is USD. The main area that hosts carnival events is the Charlotte Amalie area which is also the capital of the US Virgin Islands.
Where To Stay In St Thomas?
Charlotte Amalie seems to be the busiest and most convenient area to stay while in St. Thomas for carnival. The Carnival Village is conveniently located here as well. Here are a few hotels to consider when planning your carnival trip.
- Pink Palm VI(adults only)
- BlueBeard Hotel
- Bolongo Bay Beach Resort (all inclusive)
- Ritz Carlton – St. Thomas
- Emerald Beach Resort
- Windward Passage Hotel
- Mafolie Hotel
Check out my review of the Pink Palm VI and a tour of the boutique hotel here:
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Getting Around St. Thomas
When visiting St. Thomas, we mainly relied on a private driver but here are a few tips listed on VINow.com to help you with transportation options around the island and taxi options. There are also public transportation options such as a public bus but driving is the best case scenario to get back and forth when on the island. Taxis are recognizable by their license plates or placards.
Jouvert takes place on May 2nd, 2024 and starts early in the wee morning hours. The troupes proceed along the waterfront of Charlotte Amalie and it’s plenty energy from beginning to end. VI Soca is very popular on the island and has a distinct sound with a high BPM. Some of my favorite songs are from DJ Avalanche and Pumpa. What I also noticed is that the troupes do have live bands and also have artists from neighboring islands like Grand Masters band from Saint Kitts and Nevis. If you’re looking for a Jouvert troupe, I jumped with Insomniacs which seems to be a very popular choice on the island however people just show up and enjoy the revelry.
Carnival Troupes & Costumes
If you’re jumping in a troupe on parade day; here are a few options to choose from:
- Ultimate Legacy VI
- Remedy Troupe
- Allure Mas Carnival Troupe VI
- Prodigy Mas
- Infernos Troupe
- Real Mas Carnival Troupe
I played in Ultimate Legacy VI troupe who was very organized during costume collection. It was their 2nd year on the road post covid and while they did run into some logistical issues on the road (that they remedied quickly)- I have to say I really enjoyed my experience in the troupe. One thing that’s significant about playing in a troupe during St. Thomas Carnival is that you are required to learn choreography for judging purposes. The parade starts late morning/early afternoon and goes until after the sun sets.
USVI Festivals has a stacked itinerary for carnival goers and culture lovers from Food Fair to National events such as pageants and Carnival Village nights that are basically FREE concerts that cater to a diverse crowd with nights such as Reggae Night, Sofrito International Night and more. What’s even more unique is that village nights are held in an actual carnival so families can more than take advantage of going on carnival rides, eating Virgin Island food from local stalls while enjoying the music. Here’s a few pivotal events for the season:
- Food Fair
- Children’s Parade
- Fort Fete VI
- Butter Bread and Jam Breakfast Fete
- Paradise Day Party
- Village Nights @ Carnival Village
- Parade Day
For more local events in St. Thomas, check out Virgin’s Haven where they post a variety of different events for the season and even if you’re just visiting St. Thomas.
Places To Eat in St. Thomas
I personally didn’t realize how diverse the culture and the cuisine was in St. Thomas so there’s an array of different types of restaurants and food. I got the pleasure to eat at a few places and here’s some of my favorites:
Here’s a vlog of how my last St. Thomas Carnival went:
Let me know if St. Thomas Carnival is on your list.