The Ultimate Guide to Guyana Carnival!

Guyana Carnival is the annual carnival in Georgetown Guyana! It is a wild, vibrant and colourful celebration that embraces local culture and heritage.

Postponed due to the CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) outbreak

STARTING ON:

Wednesday 20th May, 2020

ENDING ON:

Wednesday May 27th 2020

Days to start

What is carnival in Guyana?

guyana carnival

Guyana Carnival is an annual carnival celebration that takes place during May. Guyana Carnival is an event like no other and a carnival we absolutely recommend attending! Guyana Carnival is one of the highlights of the year and attracts thousands of local and overseas carnival-lovers who want to be part of the excitement!

Carnival is a popular cultural phenomenon in both South America and the Caribbean. Carnival in Guyana is an action-packed week filled with masquerades, elaborate costumes, non-stop partying, Guyanese culinary, entertainment, music, fetes and so much more.

.Guyana welcomes everyone to join in for a time of revelry! In fact, the Guyana Carnival official slogan is “Just get here.”  Come one, come all! Come to Guyana carnival! Come and dance, come and eat, come and celebrate Guyana’s Independence Carnival.

The Mas Bands are ready, the costumes are ready, the food is hot and the drinks are chilling! Don’t hesitate, just jump on a plane and join in the fun!

Where is Guyana Carnival?

guyana carnival

Guyana, which is officially known as the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, is the only English speaking country in South America. It sits in between Brazil to the South, Venezuela to the west and Suriname to the east.

It is often said to be part of the Caribbean because of it has strong cultural, historical and political ties with other Anglo Caribbean countries. Guyana Carnival takes place in Georgetown, which is the capital city of Guyana.

When is Guyana Carnival?

The Guyana Carnival dates will take place from May 20th until May 27th, 2020. The carnival is sometimes referred to as Guyana Independence Carnival because Guyana celebrates its Independence day on May 26th.

What is the difference between Mashramani and Guyana Carnival?

guyana carnival

A question that gets asked a lot is “what is the difference between Mashramani and Guyana Carnival? Mashramani is a local cultural festival that is essentially a “celebration after hard work”, as defined by the Amer-indians. It is a cultural event that the locals look forward to all year!  A way to celebrate after a year of hard work.

Mashramani occurs annually on the anniversary of Guyana’s Republic Day, which is the 23rd February. This celebration sees thousands of Guyanese take to the streets in costumes and celebrating in the name of cultural pride and unity.

Guyana Carnival is a series of events that lead up to the highlight of carnival which is a masquerade parade. It is basically a big party for adult revellers to let loose, be carefree and enjoy life without worries.

What is the history of Guyana Carnival?

guyana carnival

What is the history of Guyana Carnival? The present Guyana Carnival began back in 2016 during the countries nation’s Jubilee celebration. In 2019 it was Guyana’s 50th Anniversary of Independence!

As thousands of visitors were coming to Guyana to celebrate the anniversary. The Minister of Tourism at that time wanted to capitalise on this and celebrate this event on a grand scale. The Mas Band Road Parade was originally a feature of the Mashramani celebrations but was moved to the Independence celebrations, to satisfy the demand of the masses.

The success of the first Guyana Carnival provided a major economic boost to the local industries and provided much-needed exposure to local musicians, DJs and local culture. Because of this the carnival has continued annually and was scaled up to a ten-day period filled with parties/fetes, concerts and of course the Road Parade.

How do they celebrate the Guyana Carnival?

guyana carnival

What to expect from Guyana Carnival? Expect a premium carnival that is fused with Caribbean and Guyana flavors. During the Guyana Carnival, a ‘Festival Avenue’ is set up on Main Street, that is open for the duration of carnival where you can buy delicious Guyanese foods, drinks, clothes, crafts and arts.

Guyana Carnival has awesome all-inclusive fetes, from Breakfast Parties Fetes, Boat rides Fetes, Cooler fetes, a number of fetes from Trinidad and so much more.

Carnival will be filled with some of the biggest soca celebrities, entertainers and DJs. There are loads of concerts with amazing local and international artists. Shell Down Monday is a jam packed DJ event that showcases some of the best local DJs.

Like any great Caribbean Carnival, one of the most popular events is J’ouvert! J’ouvert is a sunrise parade that is more spontaneous than the Road Parade. Guyana Carnival has everything you could possibly want and love about Mas Parades. Lots of bright elaborate sexy costumes, glitz, glitter, glamour and revelry.

The peak of carnival is the parade on May 26th, Independence Day as well as the incredible J’ouvert, cooler fetes, beach parties and concerts.

The peak of carnival is the parade on May 26th, Independence Day as well as the incredible J’ouvert, cooler fetes, beach parties and concerts.

Guyana Carnival 2020 Schedule of Events

There are lots of revelry and fun events planned for carnival. See below for the full list of events:

guyana carnival

Guyana Carnival Mas Bands

The best way to enjoy Guyana Carnival is to join in and play mas! When it comes to celebrating carnival you can either just be a spectator or you can join in the parades! When you want to join in it is called playing mas. For those not familiar with Caribbean Carnival, to play mas you have to join a masquerade band. 

You cannot just show up in a beautiful home-made costume and join the parade. You must select a mas band that you want to be part of, contact them, purchase their costumes, or t-shirts and dance through the streets with your chosen band. 

There are several carnival bands that each offer their own unique Guyana carnival experience. Take a look at each band’s website and social media to see what their costumes are and what they offer.

 The 2020 Guyana Carnival Mas Bands include

  • Genesis: Their theme for this year is ‘Around The World’, check out all the amazing costumes that have been inspired by different parts of this beautiful world!
  • Unique: Their theme for this year is ‘Explorers’, check out their City of El Dorado costumes.
  • Boom Nation: This year, Boom Nation presents their theme ‘Lost Gem’.
  • Pulse Carnival: This year Pulse Carnival presents their theme ‘Flirt Live x Play’.

How to choose a Mas Band for Guyana Carnival? Well that’s a difficult decision because you have so many good options.  Maybe you will select your band based on their costumes with some groups wearing very sexy costumes, and others being more conservative. Obviously, money can be a big factor when choosing to play mas. Or just choosing the one that your friends pick so you can march together.

Each Mas Bands are all inclusive and you will not just get your costumes but also food and drinks, bathrooms, security, medical services, and whatever else you may need for your carnival experience. However some bands have a better offering than others.

J’ouvert Guyana

What is J’ouvert in Guyana? J’ouvert is a large, popular morning fete/parade that takes place at sunrise. J’ouvert is a French creole/Patois term that means – “opening of the day”.   J’ouvert is a feature of the Trinidad carnival that spreads to most other Caribbean Carnival celebrations. In Guyana, J’ouvert is dominated with appearances from popular Trinidadian soca artists.

 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!

 How to get to Guyana?

guyana carnival

By Plane: The best way to get to Guyana is to fly. The Cheddi Jagan International Airport is located just 25 miles outside of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana. This is the major international airport and has direct flights from Miami, New York, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Barbados and Suriname. To get a quote for a flight click here.

By Road: There are two legal land border crossings at Nieuw Nickerie in Suriname and Bonfim in Brazil. While Guyana borders Venezuela, there is no legal land crossing.

Where to stay for Guyana Carnival?

The carnival is held in Georgetown which is the main hub of the country so there are plenty of accommodation options. A 2-star hotel will cost you around $25, a 3 star hotel is about $47 and the most luxurious hotels will cost anywhere from $150-$300. There are also plenty of guest houses and private rentals.

If you are someone who wants to stay in more luxurious accommodation, the top hotels include Guyana Marriott Hotel, Herdmanston Lodge, Roraima Duke Lodge and Cara Lodge.

Check out some accommodation deals here! 

What to do and see in Guyana?

guyana carnival

Georgetown is not only the capital but is also the largest city in Guyana. Georgetown is also known as the “Garden City of the Caribbean”. It is the financial, administrative and retail center of the country. The city is a beautiful colonial infrastructure with a Caribbean vibe. It is chaotic, colorful, vibrant and filled with lots of cultural attractions and a great performing art scene.

Guyana has an incredible mix of cultures that you can experience Caribbean, Amerindian, Latino and Amazonian interior. Getting outside of Georgetown you can experience beautiful untouched nature and wildlife.

For more information about tours, things to do, sightseeing tours, day trips and more click here. For a longer vacation check out Tour Radar here. 

Before you go!

We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance! Never travel without coverage! Being protected on your travels gives you an irreplaceable peace of mind. Don’t learn the hard way about the importance of travel insurance. Get a quote through our recommended insurance provider, World Nomads!

 

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