Caribana 2018 was an experience of a lifetime! Because of my strong Haitian background (Sak passe??!), I’ve always wanted to go to a caribbean carnival. Miami has always been the most accessible to me, but I’ve never been able to make it.
While we were relaxing in the Blue Lagoon we met some ladies from Toronto and they suggested that we visit the city during Caribana weekend. They told us about the festival and we were all instantly intrigued ! I’ve always wanted to visit Canada and Caribana became the perfect opportunity.
Once we got back to the states, I started researching the most cost effective way to travel to Toronto. I followed my 8 step method for booking affordable trips. The popularity of Caribana made it extremely difficult to find deals and be flexible. As you can imagine airfare and hotels were extremely costly! Frankly, I felt a little stretched thin because I was already committed to several trips for the year and Toronto was not in my budget. Still, I wanted to see if I could make it happen.
Then one day, I was flipping through my mounds of junk mail when I saw a credit card offer from Delta Airlines. I usually automatically discard those offers but I decided to read the promotion. Delta offered 60,000 bonus miles and $50 statement credit if you spend a certain about of money within the first 3 months. I didn’t want to pass on that deal especially since I already earned delta miles from the general free account that have never been used. At the same time, I did not want to incur debt for the sake of miles. I decided to get the Delta American Express card. Each time I used my card, I transferred the amount spent to cover the transaction to avoid a lingering balance. I eventually earned the 60,000 bonus miles plus earned additional miles for regular card spend on top of the miles I already owned! I was able to purchase my flight with a 100% miles and upgrade my seat to Delta Comfort class. If you’re interested in the same delta deal, click here.
Next up, we needed a hotel! I searched a bunch of different sites and hotels were either overbooked or extremely high in price. The official Caribana website offered hotel packages for single, double, triple, and quad. We opted for the quad. Each package came with event tickets for each night. We stayed for three nights and we got tickets for Day Fete, Day Lit, and a Soca party!
The last piece of the puzzle was deciding to Play Mas! C’mon, we couldn’t go all the way to Caribana and not Play Mas! Each carnival has a parade and during the parade participants pay for a costume designed by members of the band. The participants dance in the street during the Carnival to the sound of a DJ playing soca music– this is what it means to Play Mas! We connected with Carnival Nations Band and danced with the Soul Section.
The city of Toronto has all the feels of New York City! It is a large metropolitan area that is heavily populated with people who are always in a rush and on the go. Despite this, the residents were extremely friendly and approachable. I will absolutely re-visit Toronto during a regular weekend so I can absorb more of the city.
Till next time,
— Esquire in Love❤️