Whether you’re en route to sunnier climes for March break, a quick Easter getaway, or you’re just chasing summer, the loaded calendar of Caribbean events this year will have your head spinning. Luckily, we’ve done all the research for you; from sports to music and carnivals, here’s a handful of reasons you should take a break from the beach–if only for a day.
Les Voiles de Saint Barth
Where: St. Barts
When: April 11-16
Best for: People watching… and sailors!
Is there any pairing more perfect than yachting and St Barts? Les Voiles de Saint Barth is now in its 7th year, and this regatta, jam-packed with fun (and jaw-dropping boats), keeps getting bigger and better. This year, roughly 80 boats and 1,000 sailors are expected to land on the island. The official agenda or activities has yet to be released, but you can expect calendar of beach parties, live music, delicious eats and, of course, a little sailing.
If you’re not an expert sailor, you’re still welcome to join in on the fun; plus, watching the race from the comfort of your beach mat is just as exciting. Les Voiles is known for its challenging open course and even has some Olympic medalists racing this year. Try and spot the annual celebrity host, yet to be announced. Maybe it will be Jimmy Buffett again?
Where to stay in St Barts
Where: St Martin
When: March 9-13
Best for: Electronic music lovers
Combine a fun-loving festival atmosphere with the idyllic setting of St. Martin, and you may just have the beginnings of a new must-go event on the festival circuit. It’s the first year of SXMusic Festival, but the buzz it’s been generating has us very excited.
Events take place all across the island, from day parties at the Mercure Hotel (pictured right) and the beach clubs of Orient Bay to the bumping clubs on the island’s Dutch side. Anticipated acts are up-and-comer Adriatique and house superstars Maceo Plex and Jamie Jones. We have a hunch this festival will explode in popularity, and although organizers are aiming to keep the boutique festival vibe, plans for expanding in the coming years are already in place according to event organizer Julian Prince, “We anticipate fully selling out this year, and plans are in place to extend to St Barts and Anguilla as well,” he told us. Count us in!
Where to stay in St Martin
St. Thomas Carnival
Where: St. Thomas
When: April 2-30
Best for: A little bit of everything
For the entire month of April, the island of St. Thomas explodes with an eclectic mix of concerts, competitions, pageants and activities for the whole family. Whether you’re sampling local delicacies like Johnnycakes and conch patties or you’re grooving to the cool sounds of Calypso, Carnival in St. Thomas is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in authentic island culture.
Kids will love traditional games like wheelbarrow racing that takes place throughout the month, while the whole gang will enjoy Cultural Night, a must-see showcase of various dance performances from across the Virgin Islands. And, if you’ve ever seen the colorful photos of beautiful feathered and beaded costumes you won’t want to miss the closing parade.
Where to stay in St. Thomas
St. Lucia Jazz Festival
Where: St. Lucia
When: April 29-May 8
Best for: Jazz aficionados
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the St. Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival is one of the most renowned jazz festivals in the world, and definitely one of the most anticipated events in the Caribbean all year. Headlining the 2016 edition is Latino sensation Marc Anthony, in good company with Kool & The Gang, Air Supply and Shaggy, each playing at the Pigeon Island National Park.
While the music is the main attraction, you can also check out art and fashion events throughout the island. Art lovers should check out the Visual Arts Exhibition on May 2nd, while fashion fans can see a display of local handmade threads at the Saint Lucia Hot Couture fashion show.
Where to stay in St Lucia
PGA Puerto Rico Open
Where: Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
When: March 24th-March 27th
Best for: Golf lovers
If you’re a golf buff, we just sorted your Easter weekend plans: now in its 7th year, the Puerto Rico Open combines a stunning tropical setting with a competitive 72-par games at the Trump International Golf Course. This Tom Kite course is a must-try in the Caribbean for golf lovers, and watching the PGA tour players take it on is quite the experience too.
Currently occupying the leader position is Kevin Kisner, but you can check the PGA website to see who the players-to-watch will be come tournament time. If you’re inspired to play a round yourself, stay for an extra couple of days and see if your stroke is as on par with the pros.
Where to stay in Puerto Rico