Cricket is the focus in the Caribbean for the next two months as the region plays host to the ICC Cricket World Cup. With matches scheduled for venues across the Caribbean — Barbados, Antigua, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and Guyana — this is the perfect opportunity for extensive island hopping.
Warm-up matches run from March 5 to 9 in Jamaica, St Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados. Group playoffs start on March 13 in Jamaica, with other matches in St Kitts, Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia until March 25. The “super-eight” stage is in Guyana and Antigua (March 27–April 9), continuing in Grenada and Barbados (April 10–21), with the semi-finals in Jamaica (April 24) and St Lucia (April 25), and the finals on April 28 in Barbados.
Can’t tell the difference between a wicket and a wicket-keeper? Don’t worry. March/April activities aren’t just about cricket (and anyway you can bone up on the rules with our World Cup special in this issue). Determined to make this historic event successful, memorable, and a magnet for tourism, every island in the region is going all out to ensure visitors make the most of their Caribbean experience.
Festival Barbados is designed to do just this. Running from March 5 to April 30, it’s an island-wide explosion of independently staged events that will treat visitors to visual arts, theatre, film, music, street parties, museum shows, lectures, horse racing and other sports.
There won’t be any cricket in Grenada on March 17, but early arrivals to the spice isle can celebrate St Patrick’s Feast with locals in this northern parish. There’s a full week of activities, including exhibitions, cultural events and, of course, plenty of food. Stick around for the unique Carriacou Maroon Music Festival, with a three-day display of Big Drum Nation Dance, String Band and Quadrille Dancing at Belair Park in Grenada’s sister island (March 27–30).
The bright dry-season weather makes this time of year ideal for water sports, and there is an abundance of those. St Maarten kicks off with the Heineken Regatta (March 1–14), and the British Virgin Islands join the fun with the big annual Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival (March 26–April 1).
Cruise back down to Grenada for the Round-The-Island Easter Regatta from April 5 to 8, and if you’re serious about sailing don’t on any account miss the Stanford Antigua Sailing Week (April 29–May 5). This is one of the biggest events on the world sailing calendar, attracting over 200 boats.
Fishermen will be heading to the Cayman Islands for the Rooster Shootout (March 6–18) and to Tobago for the International Game Fishing Tournament (March 15–18), and perhaps on to the British Virgin Islands for the Spanish Town Fisherman’s Jamboree and the annual Wahoo Fishing Tournament in Tortola from April 6 to 8.
The Virgin Gorda Easter Festival in Virgin Gorda from April 7 to 9 is one good place to be for Easter, with its calypso, fungi bands, vendors and food fairs, parades and nightly entertainment. Tobago is another: punters can bet on the fastest goats and crabs on the island for the annual goat and crab races. On April 14, you can have fun and help the environment too at the Bonaire Underwater Cleanup Dive on April 14. This is a quarterly event in which volunteers clean up the seabed, rewarded by a sponsors’ potluck barbeque.
March and April aren’t entirely about sport, though. Caribbean film will be the highlight of the St Barth’s Cinema Caribe film festival from April 25 to 30, where regional filmmakers will come together to screen and discuss their work.
And from April 27 to 29, back in Tobago, the Plymouth Jazz Festival promises music icons such as Elton John, Al Green, Gladys Knight and LL Cool J. If you’re still craving more music after that, jet off to St Lucia immediately for the renowned St Lucia Jazz Festival, which runs from April 29 to May 8. This year, the festival will revive the intimate jazz sessions where audiences can interact with their favourite musicians at close quarters.
Or of course you could follow the cricket, and a whole army of the world’s top cricketing stars.