parallax background

Sint Maarten Carnival, Netherlands

El Carnaval de las Bahamas es una fiesta continua de grandes eventos durante los 4 días de celebración
Bahamas Carnival
El carnaval de Braccanal es la celebración más famosa en la Isla Caimán Brac de Islas Caimán
Braccanal Carnival, Cayman Islands


What is the Carnival of St. Martin?

St. Maarten, or St. Martin, is located in a rather particular area, as it shares a border with the other side of the island called Saint Martin. Despite being on the same island, they operate under different rules and customs, since Sint Marteen is a constituent country of Lower Countries and Saint Martin is part of the French Overseas Collectivity.

Having clarified this, we tell you that the French and Dutch side of the French celebrates their respective carnivals on different days: St. Martin in February and St. Maarten in late April to early May. St. Maarten Carnival is a celebration that pays tribute to the island’s history, when thousands of people come to reconnect with friends, relatives and other adventurers who come to the island to learn a little more about its customs and culture.



Carnival in St. Maarten is celebrated continuously for two full weeks encompassing a large range of activities such as Calypso contests, music, dance, parades, Reggae, Soca, concerts and much more. The Carnival festivities of St. Martin are filled with passion, energy and a sense of community.

The celebration is under the aegis of the St. Maarten Carnival St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) or the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation. The foundation is responsible for organizing the St. Maarten Carnival from colorful parades to international concerts. The centerpiece of the activities held at the carnival is the Carnival Village or Carnival Village which opens every year. Inside the village are several recreational areas, stages and 80 food stalls.



The Netherlands St. Martin Carnival is a celebration with a great historical trajectory

The Netherlands St. Martin Carnival is a celebration with a great historical trajectory



When is St. Martin’s Carnival

Sint Maarten Carnival takes place between the month of April and the month of May, as it commemorates the birthday of Queen Jualiana of the Netherlands (April 30). The queen ruled from September 4, 1948 to April 30, 1980, passing away on March 20, 2004 at the age of 94.

The carnival lasts approximately 17 days and features a large number of activities and events.

The Saint Maarten Carnival will run from approximately April 14 to May 3.



History of the Carnivals of St. Martin

Prior to 1970, the Island Governmenthad installed an annual committee to organize and carry out activities to celebrate various festivities such as Queen’s Birthday on April 30, Saint Martin’s Day and Kingdom Day on December 15. For several years parades and various recreational activities were organized to commemorate these days.

The committee was known asThe Oranje Committe or the Oranje Committee and was composed solely ofgovernment employees. After residents had received the events positively, the Executive Council decided in 1970 to investigate similar events in the area such as the Saint Thomas Carnival or Virgin Islands to incorporate new elements to the already existing festive events.

After returning from the Virgin Islands, the committee decided to implement the new elements on November 1. The festival site was next to the current Philipsburg location to later be moved to the Pondfill area, where they are currently held.

Initially, the committee was given a limited budget by the government; however, some private companies donated some money for the celebrations. In addition, it had the help of other political figures from the Caribbean region, who had bands brought in to stimulate the participation of the locals. The festivities began to lose interest during the month of November, as they competed with other events taking place on the French side of the island. For this reason, the carnivals began to be held on April 30, a date that still remains today.

After experiencing financial difficulties in 1983, the organizers questioned whether they would be able to hold the carnivals for the next few years, so they developed a working group of several people to carry out the great task of saving the carnivals, initially forming in 1984. The committee continued its work for two more years, then dissolved in 1986.

From 1986 the carnivals were organized by a new committee until 1989; however, in 1990 the previous committee was restored, transforming into the committee that today governs the carnivals, the St Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF)..

Today the carnival is one ofthe island’s biggest attractions and the biggest event of the year comprising around 17 days full of activities, parades, concerts, calypso bands, reggae and international artists. In addition, it features several cultural events and the characteristic Caribbean J’ouvert.


Where is the Carnival of St. Martin?

Carnivals are held on theIsland of St. Maarten on the Dutch side located in the Caribbean.


People wear colorful costumes during the carnival in Sint Maarten

People wear colorful costumes during the carnival in Sint Maarten



How is the Sint Maarten Carnival celebrated?

Saint Martin’s Carnival has a wide schedule of activities that begin even before the official start of the festivities.


Pre-Carnival events

Before the carnival there are some parties known as “Jump ups”, which consist ofsoca music concerts where participants dance while doing little jumps. This is a very popular type of music in the Caribbean.

Also, some live music concerts, the selection of the June Carnival Queen and some other recreational and entertainment events are held.


Official Carnival

Within the large repertoire of activities presented by the carnival, we can mention you some that are considered the most important or popular:


Village Carnival

Carnival Village is an open stadium-like structure containingdozens of booths in which restaurants and commercial spaces are installed during the carnival. In addition, it has a concert stage, seating and conference rooms. La Villa Carnaval has food stands both national and international to satisfy visitors from all over the world.

Likewise, in the booths you can also find toys, telephone services and even games of chance. At night, all the stalls remain open due to the main concerts of local and international artists that are presented during the carnivals.

In addition to all of the above, the carnival also consists of certain events of great importance and popularity.



Saint Martin’s carnival has the joy of having 3 different types of parades, all of which are held on different days and each of them has a different theme.

The first parade held during the carnival festivities is the Junior Carnival Parade, a carnival parade aimed exclusively at children.

The second parade is theGrand Carnival Parade, the main event of the carnival and is a lively and colorful event full of music, dancing and costumes. In addition, dozens of carrots, dancers and different types of entertainment also participate.

The third and last parade is a particular parade called the Sunset Labor Day Light Parade. This parade is similar to the first Grand Parade; however, it is held during dusk and the participants and floats are covered with lights, making an exciting light show during the night..


The event starts early in the morning and dozens of local bands participate with allegorical floats. They make a route of several kilometers and people party for several hours until the sun rises. During the event they provide great lively atmosphere, music and also perform a water and land war. The event is typical of Caribbean carnivals and is a complete riot of fun during the early morning hours.


Musical performances

During the festivities an abundant number of bands, musicians and artists are presented, integrating various genres such as reggae and Latin music. Almost every night there is a new concert with themed music.


Road March & Band Clash Competition

The Road March and Band Clash competitions are two shows in one and feature a large number of participants. The competition takes place inside Villa Carnaval where 19 singers and 5 bands will compete against each other through musical performances, mainly of Soca.


Carnival Pan Explosion

It is a large musical performance comprising three bands of steel or metal drums, distinctive instruments of Caribbean musical compositions. These instruments are originally from Trinidad and Tobago, but have been integrated into other Caribbean countries.


Tips for going to the Carnival of St. Martin

If you wish to attend the carnivals of Sint Maarten, we recommend you plan your trip in advance, make an itinerary of activities and book the lodging of your choice in advance.

We also recommend you to rest regularly, as the carnivals are a constant party in which you will participate regularly and spend a lot of energy.

The Carnival Village offers both food and alcoholic beverages. If you decide to consume alcohol, we advise you to know when you have reached your limit, do not drink to excess and consume some water between each drink.

Due to the high heat during the festivities, the physical activity that the festivities require and the consumption of alcoholic beverages, we recommend that you stay hydrated during the festivities.

Be sure to pack an umbrella if you can afford one. Also, remember to apply sunscreen every 30 minutes, as most celebrations are held during the day, so you will be exposed to the sun for extended periods of time.

Finally, remember to pack light, comfortable shoes and clothing so you can fully enjoy your festivities without feeling tight and sore.

If you want to know more about tourism in this country I recommend this guide:.


Events at the St. Martin Carnival


Pre-Carnival activities

Carnival has somepre-carnival festivities that begins actively. The first celebrations are made up of the typical Jump Up dances. The following week some musical and dance performances take place, along with other Jump Up events.

A couple of weeks before the official start, the election of the Junior Carnival Queen takes place. Finally, some musical performances and entertainment events are held.


Carnival events

The carnivals formally begin with theset-up of the Carnival Village, this event is exclusive, so only the installation and small celebrations take place inside the enclosure. The following day, some musical performances with local bands are held.

The Road March & Band Clash Competition takes place on the third day of the carnivals, giving way to the Junior Carnival Parade and the Culture Night. Then, some events for the entire public take place inside the Carnival Village. Finally, the Carnival Pan Explosion takes place with the participation of the 3 metal drum bands.

The next few days are held various musical performances, concerts and cultural events involving the young community of the city. In addition, some festivals and calypso contests are held.

The last week is the most anticipated, as a lot of event of large proportions occur. The first event of the week is the J’ouvert which starts at 4 a.m. and is accompanied by Jump-Up events. The day culminates with a velada at the Villa Carnaval.

The week continues with the Latin music concert known as Noche Latina Concert and the Soulfoul Company Concert of Soulfoul Company Concert. After this, the Grand Carnival Parade takes place and then gives way to the Light Parade at sunset, so that people have a full view of the light show.

Finally, the last three days of carnival closes withthe Golden Finale, with the Reggae music concert, the Bacchanal and a closing ceremony, thus ending the carnivals of St. Martin..


Las comparsas toman las calles durante el desfile del carnaval de San Martín

Las comparsas tomar las calles durante el desfile del carnaval de San Martín


Saint Martin Carnival Parades

The carnivals are composed of 3 parades:

The first parade is the Children’s Parade, is a parade suitable for all audiences and seeks to grant spaces to the smallest of the city so that they can also be part of the carnival festivities.

The second parade is the Main Parade or Grand Carnival Parade. This is themain event of the carnivals and is a celebration full of music, dancing, great colorful costumes and decorated with feathers. In addition, the parade is accompanied by large floats and top quality entertainment such as live music and trucks with speakers.



The third and final parade is the Sunset Labor Day Light Parade. This parade is composed of virtually the same elements as the Grand Parade, the only difference is that this parade is held during sunset and the dancers, participants and carriages use hundreds of lights; as a result, the streets are the stage for a grand light show.


Parade route


The St. Martin carnival program includes two weeks of festivities and dozens of events

The St. Martin carnival program includes two weeks of festivities and dozens of events



Both the Grand Parade or Grand Carnival Parade and the Sunset Labor Day Light Parade follow the same route. The parades begin in the parking lot where the Carnival Village is installed, and then make a lap around the main streets of the city. The parade ends its route again at the fairgrounds.


The Conch and Dumplings is one of the most traditional dishes on the island of St. Maarten

The Conch and Dumplings is one of the most traditional dishes on the island of St. Maarten



What to eat on St. Maarten Carnival

One of the most common dishes in Sint Maarten is the Conch and Dumplings. It is a dish of dumplings with mollusks typical of the Caribbean. On some occasions, they are used as a contour, while others, they are eaten by themselves with some sauce to accompany.

You can also try the Callaloo. This dish is a soup containing a large amount of green leafy vegetables, such as spinach. Sometimes pork is put in it, but it can also include crab. In addition, some flavor is added with aromatic herbs and spices.

In addition, the city of Philipsburg offers you a lot of places where you can eat out. Some of the most famous are: Lazy Lizard Beach Bar & Grill, Beirut sxm, Chesterfield’s, Blue Bitch Bar and Sunset Café. The restaurants and bars offer a wide menu of Creole, Mediterranean, Cajun and Caribbean food.


Callaloo is a traditional vegetable soup

Callaloo is a traditional vegetable soup


Travel Insurance

From we recommend to hire a good insurance to visit this carnival and to know the rest of the country. For being our readers we offer a 5% discount on all IATI insurances. Read more information about all insurance offers here:



What to see and do inside the St. Maarten Carnival

Within the carnivals you have a long list of activities that you can attend. First, you cansee the varied concerts and musical performances of Latin music, soul, reggae, instrumental presentations and the various concerts by local and international artists. In addition, you can participate in some of the entertainment events or Jump-Ups that the city offers you during the festivities.

Finally, you should not miss the Grand Carnival Parade and the Parade of Lights, since they are two of the most important events of the carnivals. Also, if you feel like getting a little dirty and partying hard, you should attend J’ouvert which takes place the last week of the carnivals.

If you don’t want to complicate things, here you can book interesting excursions in Spanish in this city:.

Guided tours in Spanish around the world


What to see and do outside of St. Maarten Carnivals

The city has some tourist attractions such as:


Great Bay Beach

It is a quiet beach with calm and warm water. It also has a wonderful view of the horizon. The beach offers rental of chairs and umbrellas for 25 US dollars.


St. Maarten Museum

This is a museum located in the city. The museum is somewhat small, but has some pieces of history, geology, biology and anthropology. Admission is free, but there is an incentive to donate something to the facility when you visit.


Philipsburg Promenade

It is a walkway that extends along the entire seashore. In its surroundings there are a lot of stores where you can go to eat or drink something. You can hang out with friends and admire the sunset.

Also if you want to visit museums and important buildings in this city we recommend that you book your ticket in advance through Tiquets: .

Book tickets in the city you are visiting


Safety at St. Maarten Carnival



The city of Philipsburg is as safe as any other city in Europe. Generally, visits to the island occur without much disturbance; however, crimes do occur from time to time. We recommend that you practice basic safety measures and use common sense when traveling for carnivals.

In addition, there is a police substation at the Villa Carnaval fairgrounds to control the order of the celebrations, so you should not have to worry about anything. Also, we recommend the following products to keep your objects safe:



Weather at St. Martin Carnival

During the carnival celebrations, the weather is somewhat hot, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. We recommend using an umbrella, staying hydrated and applying sunscreen regularly.


St. Martin's carnival parade is full of colorful costumes

St. Martin’s carnival parade is full of colorful costumes



How to get to the Sint Maarten Carnival


How to get there by plane

The Princess Juliana International Airport is the main airport on the Dutch side and the city of Philipsburg. The airport receives a large number of flights mainly from the Caribbean, but also from the United States United States, the Netherlands and France.

We recommend buying airline tickets through or Skyscanner where they are usually cheaper. More information on this link to review


How to get there by sea

The Dutch side has one of the busiest seaports in the Caribbean. More than 1 million people have visited the island through the Philipsburg port.


How to get there by car

From Princess Juliana International Airport you can take Union Road all the way to downtown Philipsburg.


Where to stay in St. Martin Carnival



Port de Plaisance Resort Casino Marina Spa

5-star hotel 4.5 km from the city center. Rooms have air conditioning, living room, satellite TV, kitchen and private bathroom. Facilities include 2 swimming pools, bar and free wifi.


Holland House Beach Hotel

3-star hotel 300 meters from the city center. Rooms have private bathrooms, air conditioning and refrigerator. Facilities include beach entrance, bar and free wifi.


Suites at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort

4-star resort 2.1 km from the town center. Rooms feature satellite TV, air conditioning and equipped kitchen. Facilities offer swimming pool, beach entrance, bar and wifi.

We recommend you use to book hotels at a good price, check more information here:.


Thank you for reading


If you liked this article and found it useful share it on your social networks or collaborate by inviting us for a coffee at Paypal so we can continue creating useful content. Click here to collaborate:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *