Top April Caribbean Events

Concerts and Easter celebrations typically highlight the April events calendar in the Caribbean.

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© Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Christianity -- and especially Catholicism -- is the dominant religion throughout the Caribbean, and many island residents are quite devout. So, despite the revelry associated with the pre-Lentin Carnival, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday tend to be solemn occasions in the Caribbean. With its emphasis on family, however, spending Easter in the islands also can be a warm and welcoming experience for visitors and, as with most things in the Caribbean, local traditions put a unique tropical spin on the holiday's religious and secular celebrations.

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Tobago Goat Races

© Trinidad Development Co.

Tobago's Buccoo village is home to a unique Trinidad and Tobago tradition and a poor-man's alternative to horse racing: goat races. Since 1925, goats and their "jockeys" have been competing on a 100-yard track during the Buccoo Goat Race Festival. The competition, held on the Tuesday after Easter, includes jockeys who run barefoot behind their goats and use twigs to whip them into motion. There's plenty of drinking and gambling, with all of the trappings of a "real" race course, including stables, trainers, and even a post parade. Buccoo is also home to another great local competition: crab racing, in which blue crabs are guided with string and bamboo poles towards the finish line in a event that's both more serious and more fun than it might sound.

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A Taste of St. Croix

© Ted Davis

The U.S. Virgin Islands' top food event is a one-day celebration of the Caribbean's varied cuisine and wide range of culinary influences, from Cajun and Creole to French and Italian. This fundraiser for the St. Croix Foundation is hosted by the Divi Carina Bay Resort.

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St. Vincent & the Grenadines Gospel Fest

This month-long celebration of gospel music includes international performers singing songs of praise in a variety of musical styles including reggae, soca, soul and hip-hop. Churches across the Grenadines take part in the festivities, such as concerts, drama, dancing, comedy, and the annual SVG Gospel Awards.

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Tobago Jazz Festival

Courtesy of TDC by Jim Stephens

Also known as the Plymouth Jazz Festival (after Tobago's main town), this annual three-day concert brings world-famous acts to the normally sleepy smaller sister that comprises Trinidad & Tobago. Diana Ross, Rod Stewart, Shakira, and Steel Pulse are among the headliners, proving that the festival is not about jazz alone.

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St. Barth Film Festival

St. Barth's is known as a Caribbean hideaway for Hollywood celebrities, so it follows that the island hosts an annual film festival. Unlike some others, however, the St. Barth Film Festival is less interested in attracting big-name international filmmakers than promoting Caribbean movies and directors.

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Curacao International Drag Races

Motorsports have become hugely popular in the U.S., but Curacao also has had a long-standing love affair with cars, fuel and speed. Islanders have been drag racing since 1971, and the racing season is highlighted by April's annual international competition.

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Antigua Sailing Week

For more than 40 years sailors have been making April on their calendars for the annual regatta in Antigua. Highlights of the weeklong event include races around the island, in Antigua's bays and harbors, and to the neighboring island of Guadeloupe.

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Oistins Fish Festival, Barbados

Courtesy of the Barbados Tourism Authority

This festival on the south coast of the island honors those who are part of the Barbados’ fishing industry with calypso and reggae music and traditional Bajan fare like fish cakes, fried fish, souse (a kind of pickled pork), and head cheese.

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Bequia Easter Regatta

2007 was the 25th anniversary of Bequia’s Easter Regatta, a special combination of local boat racing, yacht racing and traditional Bequia hospitality. Enjoy beach games, a sandcastle competition, model boat races, barbecues, music, and more.

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Cayman Islands Annual Million Dollar Boat Run

© Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Powerboat aficionados, this one’s for you: come watch the world’s hottest, fastest, and most exotic boats race for $10,000 in cash and prizes.

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