music

4 Things to Do this Summer in the Caribbean & Mexico

Where to go? What to do? These are all natural questions to ask when you’re busy planning your vacation itinerary. The good news is summertime in the Caribbean & Mexico is packed full of festivals, celebrations and plenty of fun things to do. If you’re heading to the beach this summer, be sure to pencil in some of these must-dos.

St. John’s Carnival Festival 2013: June 1st – July 4th

If you’re heading to any of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the next few weeks, St. John, more specifically, you’ll be there for the island’s largest celebration. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Come and Explore the Cultural Scene for Festival 2013,” which means you can expect lots of events centered around St. John’s culture and history.

The whole calendar includes activities featuring traditional food and music, among other things. Also, there’s a legend of West African inspired mocko jumbies, which were shape-changing ghost-like figures that traditionally appeared at night and scared those who were out late and being mischievous. People dressed up as mocko jumbies parade around the events on stilts and elaborate costumes, and are a signature of St. John’s festival. All of this is cumulated at the conclusion of the festival on July 4th with one final parade and, of course, a massive firework show.

Things to do in St. John from CheapCaribbean.com

See the beautiful costumes, taste the delicious food and experience the spirit that encompasses St. John with a schedule of events here.

Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival: August 1st – August 5th 

Jamaica is known for many things, reggae music being one of them. Upon its origination in the 1960s in Jamaica, reggae is a music style with influences of traditional African, ska and Rastafari.  And the first week of August in Ocho Rios is a festival to celebrate this true Jamaican style and most specifically this year “Woman in Film.”

Originating in 2008, the Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival is an opportunity to come together and celebrate the reggae style that is home to Jamaica. In the past, several of the films shown at the festival have received awards and honors from film festivals all over the world. And this year the Festival will include a larger emphasis on reggae music with a plethora of live performances and the addition of new Music Video Awards. The event will take place at Island Village in Ocho Rios, which is also home to great shopping and entertainment. It sounds like this week in Jamaica, among others, is one you won’t want to miss.

La Fiesta de Playa, Cancun: August 11th – August 13th 

If you’re look to party on the beach like the name of the festival means, it looks like Cancun is the place for you during this week in August. This celebration takes place in the middle of Cancun’s hotel zone and offers plenty of ways to let loose, such as parties, DJs, fashion shows, concerts, competitions, traditional Mexico food and plenty of other cultural events. This party has been rumored to be so legendary, it’s often called “The Biggest Beach Party in the World.”

Cancun Hotel Zone Beach Party from CheapCaribbean.com

And after three days of beach parties you can only dream about, you can hop over to Isla Mujeres on August 17th to take part in their Founding Day festivities. This day marks the day in 1854 when the first settlement was founded on the island and is often times celebrated with a mass dive off the coast of the island, as well as parades, a pageant, live music and dancing. Spending this week in August in Mexico will give you an accurate representation of how these people party and possibly inspire you to bring some of the fun home with you.

Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival – August 30th – August 31st

And if a-list celebrity, star-studded events are more of your thing, we suggest the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival, a two day festival that takes place at the end of August. Just recently announced, Usher and Marc Anthony will be headlining this event celebrating jazz music.

Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival from CheapCaribbean.com

There’s a full roster of iconic music acts including The Roots, Diana Ross, Luis Miguel, Toto, Erykah Badu and Sonny Rollings, just to name a few. There’s no denying that this event sounds like one of the best beach music festivals all summer long. With picturesque beaches and even better tunes, we almost consider this event the perfect way to wrap up your summer travels.

If you’d like to WIN your way to Curacao for this festival, don’t forget to enter our Tweet to Win promotion running through June 25th. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter to get all the info.

Jammin’ in Jamaica

As you may have guessed, my “One Love” is the Caribbean. I’m in Jamaica this week for the Caribbean Marketplace hosted by the Caribbean Hotel Association, and I must say I’m feelin’ the reggae. In light of my location, I’d like to share a little Bob Marley love with you.

The musical prophet, Bob Marley was born in Rhoden Hall to the north of Jamaica and spent most of his life in Kingston, Jamaica. Marley’s story, his music and his ideals resonate today, and his music can be heard all over Jamaica. A man of love, understanding and God-given talent, Marley may have been the most significant musical artist of the twentieth century; he had, and still has, the ability to sing any person through a rainy day. To this day his music offers a daily reminder of what he felt is most important – peace, love and music.

It’s amazing in our fast paced, internet, iphone and ipad, Pandora (I love Pandora!) world we now live, Marley’s music not only sounds refreshing and new, but connects and touches us almost more so than when the songs were written without any of the .com world around it. You know, I usually take an informal poll on every flight to see what “people are doing” as I walk down the aisle of the plane when flying around the islands. While laptops, ipods, and DVD players are being used by many, do you want to know the number one thing I still see today? Passengers reading a book, magazine, or newspaper. Almost 50 percent of the plane is using the same standards they did years ago. It means to me that some standards will never go away as time passes and changes the way we interact with each other. Listening to Bob Marley is one of those standards.

There’s a great jerk chicken place called “Scotchies” just 10 minutes from the airport. I always make this my first stop when I land in Montego Bay. The sauces, smells, and Red Stripe at this outside bar, while watching an English premiership soccer match is a slice of heaven for me. Then the Bob Marley music plays and it is totally magical. A few minutes of “Could This Be Love’” and the world is ready for Jamaica. Just as Marley used music for relief in tough times and a smile on a rainy day, you too should be jammin’. So “let’s get together” in Jamaica “and feel alright!”