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CayMAS Carnival – Your Ultimate Guide
!!Due to the current situation regarding COVID-19, CayMAS has been postponed to later on in the year!!
Friday 8th May 2020
Monday 18th May 2020
- 1 What is CayMAS?
- 2 Where is CayMAS?
- 3 When is CayMAS 2020?
- 4 What is the history of CayMAS?
- 5 How do they celebrate CayMAS?
- 6 CayMAS 2020 Schedule – Dates and Events
- 7 CayMas Carnival Street Parade
- 8 What is Playing Mas?
- 9 CayMAS 2020 Mas Bands
- 10 Caymas Fetes
- 11 Caymas J’ouvert
- 12 Tips and Tricks for CayMAS 2020
- 13 Where do I purchase tickets for CayMas?
- 14 Where to stay for CayMas?
- 15 How to get to Grand Cayman?
- 16 How to get around Grand Cayman?
- 17 What to do and see in Grand Cayman?
What is CayMAS?
When you think carnival season in the Caymen Islands is over, you are wrong it is just getting started! Carnival doesn’t end with Batabano, the Cayman Islands have two Caribbean Carnivals in May. CayMAS is part two of the Caymen Island carnival season!
CayMas is another fun and lively Caribbean Carnival that attracts thousands of people to embrace the celebrations. CayMAS can be described as a vessel to experience Caribbean Carnival and is an excellent way to come and discover the Cayman Islands!
CayMAS is a movement that is made up of a collection of entities who have had a great influence in the Caymen Islands carnival scene over the years and who are passionate about developing carnival. CayMAS encourages and fosters community spirit on the Caymen Islands.
CayMAS is filled with family, friends, feasting, Caribbean music, dance, rum and fetes. The entire island comes together to celebrate! Spirits are high and the music never stops pumping! The peak of CayMAS is the fun and colourful masquerade parade.
Where is CayMAS?
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory. The Cayman Islands consist of 3 islands that sit in the western Caribbean Sea. Grand Cayman, the largest island, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, the smallest island. CayMas takes place in Grand Caymen.
CayMAS takes place on Grand Cayman in George Town which is the capital of the Cayman Islands. George Town lies in the west of the island. It is a financial hub and a major port of call for cruise ships.
When is CayMAS 2020?
!!!Due to the current situation regarding COVID-19, Braccanal has been postponed to a later on!!!
The 2020 CayMAS Carnival will run from 13th – 18th May 2020. Carnival takes place on long Discovery Day weekend, which is ideal as there is nothing on a national level that weekend.
What is the history of CayMAS?
CayMas was created with the intention of being a viable tourism product that occurs during a period of the year when tourism in the Caymen Islands takes a dip. It was also created as an event to showcase Caymanian Culture and hospitality, and as something for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
This was successful as CayMAS provides the island with many benefits! The first being boosting tourism and the local economy. It has also provided more exposure of the Cayman being the safest and most modern destination in the Caribbean. In fact, carnival in the Cayman Islands officially has the lowest crime rate of all the Caribbean Carnival’s.
How do they celebrate CayMAS?
CayMAS, a carnival of mas bands, brings a schedule of musical and parade events to Cayman throughout the long Discovery Weekend. CayMAS Carnival Weekend lets visitors soak up the Caribbean Carnival atmosphere with soca and steel pan band music competitions, parties, fetes, J’ouvert and the vibrant and colorful CayMas Street Parade.
CayMAS 2020 Schedule – Dates and Events
CayMas Carnival Street Parade
- Date: Saturday, May 18, 2020
- Location: Starts in downtown George Town
- Start time: 1-6pm
- Parade Route: The parade will make its way from downtown George Town a and end up at Seven Mile Public Beach. It makes its way north along West Bay Road to the beach.
The CayMas Carnival Street Parade is the highlight of Caymas. When it comes to celebrating carnival in the Cayman Islands you can choose whether you want to be a spectator or be part of the parade!
The streets come alive with incredible costumes from all the different Mas Bands. The energetic revellers dance through the streets to the sounds of soca music. You will still enjoy the parade even if you just decide to spectate from the sidelines.
What is Playing Mas?
When it comes to celebrating Caribbean Carnival, you can either just be a spectator and watch the parades, or you can choose to join in and be part of the fun! When you choose to join in it is called playing mas.
For those not familiar with Carnival in the Caribbean if you want to play mas you have to join a masquerade band. It isn’t possible to just show up in a beautiful home-made costume and join the parade. You must select a mas band you want to be part of, wear their costumes and dance through the streets together with your chosen band.
To have the best time at CayMas don’t just be a spectator! Absolutely find a mas band that you want to be part of, then sign up and join the party!
CayMAS 2020 Mas Bands
The best way to enjoy CayMas is to join in and play mas! We highly recommend it! How do I choose a Mas Band? Well that’s a difficult decision because you have so many good options. The 2020 CayMas Masquerade Bands are:
- Swanky International: Swanky has always strived to offer Cayman’s premier carnival experience. Swanky offers the best international DJ’s and has the biggest sound trucks, as well as the biggest mobile bars out of all the mas bands for CayMas. Swanky wants to offer a carnival experience that rivals any you would have another international carnivals.
- Kalabbra Entertainment: Kalabbra is another incredible Mas Band with some incredible costume choices.
- Renegade Mas: Renegade Mas is the only mas band that participates in both Cayman Carnivals – Batabano and CayMAS. Renegade Mas is only in their second year of CayMas but their popularity is growing tremendously. They are all about sharing the festivity, design and colours of Caribbean culture.
- Liquid Ice: This is a t-shirt band so if you don’t feel like spending loads of money on a costume, or even walking the streets half naked, then this is the band for you.
- Iconz Cayman: Iconz can be described as a boutique style mas band that launched back in 2013. It is backed by Cayman’s leading media house, Hurley’s Media Ltd, so the band gets a lot of support from the island’s four leading radio stations, two television station’s and their large social media following. Icon has very colourful and unique costumes and tries to be cutting edge and fashion forward. Their inspiration is drawn from the natural beauty of the Cayman Islands and the diversity of a multiple of culture’s that are represented here.
- Quinntessential Movement: This band is a unique exercise studio in the Cayman Islands. They specialise in Pole and Aerial Fitness and also offer a wide range of different classes that are all about having fun while getting fit. Quinntissential Movement has a passion for movement, dance, fitness and health. So, if you love to dance and you are looking for a very unique carnival experience than joining the Quinntissential Movement Mas Band could be the band for you. They do not disappoint their Road Parade is filled with dance routines, acrobatics and even some movements on the stage with a pole.
- Chicken Run: Chicken Run International first made their appearance back in 2006 at the Cayman Carnival Batabano. The Band was created by former members of the Mudders International revel. They also offer t shirts if you don’t want to wear a full costume.
What are fetes? Fetes are carnival parties! They are the absolute highlight of carnival and in the lead up to the parade, there are lots of fetes that countdown to the big carnival day. There are lots of different types of fetes including boat fetes, all-inclusive fetes, J’ouvert parties and so much more.
What is J’ouvert? J’ouvert in English translates to ‘break of day’ and symbolises the start of carnival each year. J’ouvert takes place in the early hours of the morning before the sun even rises! I know what you’re thinking… before sunrise! Yes, before sunrise! And yes, it is worth getting out of bed for!
J’ouvert is a large street party that sees revellers take to the streets before the parade to dance and jump alongside music trucks that blast intoxicating soca music. J’ouvert is similar to playing mas as revellers join a J’ouvert band which covers the cost of their t-shirt, breakfast, alcohol, music and paint and powder.
There are no pretty costumes to be seen here. If you do get up and attend J’ouvert a little warning is that you must be prepared to get hit with flour, paint, mud, water and maybe even clay. Thousands of partygoers throw paint and mud at each other and there is nothing you can do to avoid it, just get ready to get down and dirty and join in the fun!
J’ouvert actually originated in Trinidad and Tobago and has since spread across the world to numerous other Caribbean Carnivals.
Tips and Tricks for CayMAS 2020
- Sun protection: this is essential! You are on a tropical Caribbean island and the parade begins midday and runs for several hours. So, wear loads of sun block because it is hot and you don’t want sunburn ruining your carnival experience. Bring some sunglasses to!
- Stay hydrated: Dancing and drinking, or even just standing for a few hours under the hot sun puts you at risk of dehydration. So, drink lots of water all day! Bring a water bottle with you.
- Good comfy shoes: You will be on your feet for hours so wear comfortable shoes!
- Careful of your valuables: Leave important things like passport etc back in your hotel. Get a little bag to carry your cell phone, keys and cash.
- Don’t forget your camera: You are going to want to take lots of selfies! Plus, the crowd’s energy is unreal so you are going to want to capture this day.
- Eat a good breakfast! Trust us you are going to want to have lots of energy to last the day jumping around under the hot sun, or even if you’re just watching.
- Get there early: If you are just going to be a spectator then get their early to get a good spot and bring some beach chairs with you and even a cooler. Park along the parade route and enjoy.
Where do I purchase tickets for CayMas?
It is free to watch the parade. If you want to join a mas band you will need to contact that group and purchase their outfit. The same for J’ouvert you will need to purchase a t-shirt to be part of the celebrations.
Where to stay for CayMas?
This carnival takes place on Grand Cayman which is the largest of the Cayman Islands. So there are plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets from luxury resorts, to guest houses and private rentals!
Remember Caymas is very popular and accommodation can be scarce and more expensive due to higher demands so book ahead of time!
How to get to Grand Cayman?
There are only two ways to get here and that is to fly or by boat.
By Plane: Owen Roberts International Airport is the Cayman’s main airport to with flights from North America and the UK. Major international carriers British Airways, American Airlines and the local Cayman Airways have flights to Cuba, Jamaica and Honduras.
By Boat: Hundreds of cruise ships stop in George Town. As there are no deep-water port facilities, they will shuttle passengers to shore using frequent tenders. You can see what cruises will be in the Cayman during carnival by visiting the Cayman Port Authority (www.caymanport.com).
How to get around Grand Cayman?
Grand Cayman is easy to get around and you have a lot of options to get you around the island. Your best option is to hire a rental car. Remember though they drive on the left-hand side of the road so if you are not comfortable with this there are plenty of taxi services or public buses you can take. Get a quote for a rental car here.
What to do and see in Grand Cayman?
Grand Cayman is a stunning part of the world. White sand, crystal clear water, swaying palm trees, fresh seafood, tasty rum. You can relax on the beach, enjoy a cocktail or you can have some more adventure and enjoy scuba diving, snorkelling, hiking the jungle and so much more.
Georgetown, the capital of the Cayman Islands and where carnival takes place is known internationally as being a financial haven. It is also the first port of call for the cruise ship passengers. It is famous for duty free shopping with loads of luxury shops catering to the wealthy. It also has a lot of historical charm and great bars, restaurants and cafes.
Seven Mile Beach is the most iconic beach on Grand Cayman island. Situated close to Georgetown, the beach is always quite busy and bustling, but it’s the seven miles of tropical sunshine and white sand that make this beach popular. You can walk along the beach or stop along it and enjoy something to eat and drink.
Before you go!
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