Updated: Thu, 07 Feb 2013 09:45:00 GMT | By Alexander James
World's wildest carnivals

J'ouvert, Trinidad, West Indies

J'ouvert, Trinidad, West Indies (© LatinContent Getty Images)
  • J'ouvert, Trinidad, West Indies (© LatinContent Getty Images)
  • Venice Carnival, Italy (© Reuters)
  • New Orleans, USA (© Reuters)
  • Mardi Gras, Sydney (© Reuters)
  • Flaming Giant carnival, Las Fallas, Valencia (© Getty Images)
  • Olinda carnival, Brazil (© Reuters)
  • Day of the Dead, Mexico (© Design Pics Inc Rex Features)
  • Windhoek carnival, Namibia (© Getty Images)
LatinContent Getty ImagesShow Thumbnails
Previous1 of 11Next
Share this Gallery

Some of the biggest carnivals on the planet kick off in February, in one last hedonistic blow-out before Easter. They are an excuse to display ancient rituals, dance bizarrely and don among the world's wildest party outfits.

But these are not the only carnival days on the calendar. Take our tour of some of the best – and most surreal – street parades throughout the year.

J'ouvert, Trinidad, West Indies

Steel-pan band madness and huge plates of jerk chicken merge to form one of the most explosive carnivals on the planet, in Trinidad, the West Indies, climaxing this year on February 11 and 12. With its heady mix of bands, ball costumes and voodoo-like processions, the celebration, known as J'Ouvert or simply the Trinidad carnival, is not made for the chill-out crowd.

The fancy dress on show is homage to an 18th century tradition when slaves would hold their own version of colonial balls. Just as rewarding as the carnival is the post-party detox. Go to Maracas Bay to wind down and for unrivalled views of the island's rain forest and surf-washed beaches. Or hop on a boat to the nearby island of Tobago, which locals call "paradise".

More info:Gotrinidadandtobago.com

Find cheap flights to Trinidad