Crop Over is Barbados most vibrant festival set alongside the Eastern Caribbean. It’s a traditional harvest festival tracing as far back to slavery celebrating the end of sugar cane season. Crop Over is months of festivities ending the first Monday in August with The Grand Kadooment Day- a present day spree featuring thousands of locals and tourists with flashy costumes "jumping" to music, booze and foods of the native land.
Needless to say, a few American girls from down south traveling thousands of miles across the country to "twerk our life away” or the term we later learned- “wuk up” had no clue in planning or participating in the local affairs. Mimi, Sharon and myself were in for a life changing experience which involved a lot of learning. Learning about the culture, how the bands work, traveling the island and etc. Luckily our AirBnb landlord Barbara or “The Barb” delivered a few pointers before our travel and throughout the duration of the trip.
Below are a list of things to consider when traveling to Barbados for Crop Over based on our experience:
When we decided on Barbados and attending Crop Over we quickly learned the difference between Carnival and Crop Over. Barbadian locals DO NOT like the term Carnival!
We initially looked to create our own looks by purchasing costumes online and then we learned that you HAVE to purchase your costume through the band you decide to jump (not dance) but “jump” with. Most bands usually offer payment plans on costumes as the average was about $500.
It’s a MUST you jump with a band! Do NOT go to Barbados for Crop Over and don’t partake in jumping with a BAND!
Now that comes to picking a band! How do you choose? Is there a list of bands on the inter webs somewhere? Well I still don’t know the answer to that question but after much research from my wonderful cousin Mimi we decided to jump with Aura Experience. I think mainly because this is who Rihanna is usually with when she attends Crop Over and if they’re good enough for RiRi then why shouldn’t we?
Get your makeup done professionally for Grand Kadooment! We used a local company called Face Candy Studio. Having been apart of enough fashion shows and other entertainment productions to know a great makeup team- THIS IS IT! Face Candy Studio had Kadooment Day makeup down to a science! Different stations were set up with each artist focusing on one thing. A foundation station, an eye makeup station, a jewel station. Each of us transitioning around to each station effortlessly with little to no wait time.
The Grand Kadooment parade was an 8 hour experience of jumping to the beats of the island in their warm, fresh and crisp air! With that being said get your cardio up before attending and make sure you stay hydrated! Our band, Aura Experience had runners who made sure to swarm the crowd with ice water and liquor for refills!
I wanted the HUGE feathers, you know- the ones that drag along the ground but boy am I glad I didn’t purchase them. You’d be knocking and bumping individuals the whole stroll. Not to mention they get in the way when jumping and flying them back is a hassle.
After the celebrations our band had lunch prepared and waiting on the beach. YUM YUM! After hours of bumping to island beats you’ll definitely need a fulfilling meal featuring toes in the sound and taking in the serene sounds of the North Atlantic Ocean waves.
Let go and have fun! For 8 hours you’ll be beating the pavement with strangers from across the world to music that just makes you want to move. Each one smiling and exhuberating wonderful energies!
Attend beach parties and boat parties. I mean you’re only in the country for a limited time so take advantage! My motto is ALWAYS “Sleep on the plane."
Hit marketplace- a outdoor market with vendors and bars offering foods, drinks, toys and souvenirs
Ride the horses along the beach! We did this close to sunset and I damn near cried taking it all in!
Our lodging was an AirBnb on the beach “Paradise Beach Cottage” which gave us a refreshing view of the beach as it was practically in our backyard. Worked out perfectly as we just walked up the beach after Crop Over to our little cottage.
Oh- YOU MUST eat macaroni pie while there! A sweet macaroni dish...(I still need to attempt this recipe)
Take advantage of Barbados public transportation- buses and ZR Vans. Taxis and private cars can get pricey.
American dollars go a long way in Barbados. You’re basically doubling your cash when you exchange. So pay in Barbados dollars, your money will go further.
Hopefully this helps as you plan to "get your whine on”! My experience released a sense of freedom from within! I didn’t feel judged for being a mother floating down the streets in a bikini top and bikini bottoms adorned with jewelry and sporting a mid section that has a little pouch! Very liberating as I took on the beauty of the island, culture and learning a few Bajan Creole words. If you are a lover of life, culture and dancing then you HAVE to experience Barbados Cropover!