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Let the rhythm take over and give in to the pulsating drum beats and glittering allure of the St Maarten Carnival. Held for over two weeks on the Dutch side of the island, the destination comes to a standstill as locals parade, perform and party into the night. The festival is also held on the French side of St Maarten in February; however, the activities really kick off in April.
Musical performances of reggae and calypso by local and international artists can be heard throughout the streets while residents dazzle in elaborate feathered costumes that they spent months preparing prior to the festival The best outfits from the carnivals are kept and displayed in Philipsburg where visitors who missed the event can still get a feel for the celebration.
Competitions between islanders are also a large feature of the event, and locals put a lot of work into their costumes and song writing for the coveted title of Calypso King or Queen.
During the carnival, everybody takes to the streets or Carnival Village, an area built especially for the festival on the edge of Philipsburg where people can sing, dance and play. Visitors left hungry from the celebrations are spoilt for choice with plenty of stalls and street vendors offering a range of food from traditional delicacies to international dishes.
The St Maarten carnival offers travellers a party that doesn't stop for 17 days and a palpable atmosphere that they will treasure for a lifetime.
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