Top January Caribbean Events

Top Tropical Festivals, Concerts, and Cultural Events in January

My picks for the best January events, festivals and holiday happenings in the Caribbean begin with New Year's Day and include Carnival celebrations, music festivals, Three Kings Day observances, and more.

  • 01 of 06
    ••• Bahamas Junkanoo dancer. © Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

    Bahamians welcome the New Year with parades featuring traditional junkanoo dancing and music, on islands from Grand Bahama to Abaco. The parade in Nassau is the biggest and considered the best; it starts at 2 a.m. and runs through 8 a.m. Other parades take place on New Year's morning.

  • 02 of 06
    ••• Dancers at Aruba's annual Carnival celebration. © Aruba Tourism Authority

    Each Caribbean Carnival celebration is unique, and Aruba's exhibits both Dutch influences and the culture of the Antilles, featuring parades in San Nicolas and Orenjestad highlighted by tumba and calypso music, a balloon parade, the crowning of a Carnival king and queen, a Heineken drinking contest, and the burning of King Momo.

  • 03 of 06
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    ••• Wood carving of Los Reyes Magos by Hipolito Marte Martinez. © cliff1066 via Flickr

    The feast of the Three Kings, a.k.a. Los Reyes Magos, is a huge celebration in Puerto Rico. On the eve of Three Kings' Day (the Feast of the Epiphany), children put a box containing grass clippings for the Magis' camels to eat, and good children are rewarded by Los Reyes with gifts. Thanks to the importance of this January holiday, you will see Christmas decorations in Puerto Rico well after folks back in the U.S. have packed theirs away until the following December. If you are in Puerto Rico in January, try to catch up with the Three Kings from the town of Juana Diaz, who tour the island before heading back to the Holy Land.

  • 04 of 06
    ••• Crowd chilling at the annual Jazz Festival in Barbados. Courtesy of the Barbados Tourism Authority

    Established in 1992, the Barbados Jazz Festival is a week-long celebration featuring performers such as Lee Ritenour and Erykah Badu, with performances in diverse venues such as historic plantation homes, a rum factory, and Farley Hill National Park.

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  • 05 of 06
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    ••• Landing a blue marlin. Photo © augustaklc via Flickr

    Launched in 1964, the annual Billfish Tournament in Grenada attracts anglers from across the Caribbean and around the world. Based at the Grenada Yacht Club, the tournament includes a boat parade and dinner, with prizes for top boats and heaviest fish (including Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, and Dolphin).

  • 06 of 06
    ••• Julien Brunetaud performing at the Mustique Blues Festival. © Basil's Bar, Mustique

    For a week in January, blues musicians descend upon Basil's Bar in Mustique in the Grenadines, led by London's First Lady of the Blues, Dana Gillespie. The festival benefits the Basil Charles Educational Foundation, a charity benefitting the children of St. Vincent.