If you’ve ever been to a Carnival celebration in the Caribbean, you know the experience can be life-changing.

Aside from partying with beautiful people and a good time, there is an uplifting power in soca music, freedom of expression, and an elevation of our African roots everywhere you look.

While many people associate Carnival with Trinidad and Tobago (the originator!) and Brazil, the island of Jamaica has been celebrating carnival for decades, putting its own style and culture on display.

Jamaica is one of the largest islands in the Caribbean and this year’s carnival celebration, turned out to be the biggest in recent history– the word is spreading!

I traveled to Kingston, Jamaica with fellow journalist and producer Noel Cymone Walker and got on real bad (a.k.a set myself free partying) on behalf of Team Grio (without embarrassing my mom too badly- sorry mom, it was for research purposes)!

The 10 Hottest Costumes We Saw at Jamaica Carnival This Week

We hit up the hottest parties, went on a tour of the island and experienced the beauty of Jamaica first-hand, documenting everything along the way.

Check out our Jamaica Carnival Video Diary as we kicked off the weekend with Caesar’s Army A.M. Bush, picked up our masquerader costumes and then hit the road with the Xaymaca International carnival band the next day.

Hit us up in the comments with your questions about planning your own trip and we’ll include it in our Jamaica Carnival 101 Travel Guide!

Natasha S. Alford is Deputy Editor of theGrio.com and a carnival lover who has traveled to Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and now Jamaica in search of the best carnival experiences. 

Follow her at @natashasalford for more of her 2018 Jamaica Carnival Diary.