Celebrating the Irish tradition of St. Patrick’s Day in the tropical Caribbean might seem far-fetched at first, but you’ll be surprised to know that on some islands, celebrating Paddy’s Day is as important as Christmas Season. If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean in March and can’t decide between warm beaches and St. Patrick’s Day festivities right where you are, don’t worry. Here are some of the best islands for St. Patrick’s Day to get your Irish on while also enjoying a beach vacation.
Celebrate for 10 Days in Montserrat
St. Patrick’s Day Festival 2019: March 8-18 throughout Montserrat, British Virgin Islands
Montserrat is nicknamed the “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean” and for a very good reason. This British protectorate in the British Virgin Islands celebrates St. Patrick for 10 days and is the only country outside of Ireland where this is a national holiday. It is also the island’s most popular event.
Irish Catholics who were persecuted by their religion arrived here in the 17th century and impacted much of the island’s culture, including the regional dialect, architecture, cuisine, surnames and folklore. March 17 is also celebrated for another reason on Montserrat: it is the day of a slave revolt that happened here in 1768. As a result, St. Patrick’s on Montserrat is rich with Irish and African heritage and Caribbean entertainment.
A Multi-Cultural Holiday
Between March 8 and March 18, partake in a torch-lighting ceremony, a freedom run, a Heritage Bus Tour, a junior calypso competition and much more. A reconstructed slave village in the south of the island sells traditional food like Irish cakes, fried fish and the national dish, Goat Water—made of mutton, cloves and rum. Street vendors also sell games and marbles and feature African-inspired masquerade dances.
Know that the observed holiday is March 18 this year and features the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and Slave Feast in Salem. You’ll find visitors from across the world and neighboring islands attending this major festival. Get ready for lots of special deals on Heineken, Guinness and Caribbean rum punch.
Staying in Montserrat
Montserrat still retains that old Caribbean charm and tranquility. Check out the traveler-favorite Miles Away Villa Resort and relax on the island’s nearby volcanic beaches like Lime Kiln. Enjoy boat tours, snorkeling, a deep fishing excursion or just relax with a green drink at the beach—you won’t have the crowds like on other islands.
Join the Parade in St. Croix
St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2019: March 16th in Christiansted-Downtown, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Crucians love to celebrate and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the biggest event of the year here. On the day before St. Patrick’s Day, the historic town of Christiansted hosts a parade down King’s Street. Local bars feature live music and offer Irish-style food and drinks and locals wear outrageous green attire.
St. Croix began its St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1969 when local businessmen decided the Virgin Islands needed the holiday. To this day, the event is organized by private businesses and vendors. Many locals plan their day around this event and will call out sick the day before.
Places to Stay & Things to Do in St. Croix
St. Croix offers plenty of history, miles of romantic beaches and undisturbed marine wildlife. It is a perfect destination for scuba divers and honeymooners. The beachfront Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort and Spa on Estate Davis Bay is very popular and offers a special Year of the Weekend deal throughout March 2019. If you’re staying in Christiansted or nearby Frederiksted, consider visiting the historic waterfronts and view the island’s old colonial Dutch buildings. Frederiksted is also home to historical St. Patrick Church, one of the oldest on the island. Or, snorkel and explore the reef at Buck Island.
Visit a Famous Irish Pub in Bermuda
St. Patrick’s celebrations: mid-March throughout Bermuda.
If you want to stay close to the U.S. mainland, consider the British island territory of Bermuda, which is only a couple of hours away by plane. For St. Patrick’s Day this year, Bermudans will import Irish entertainment and also hold an Emerald Isle Society Dinner Dance. Visit Bermuda’s renown Flanagan’s Irish Pub in Hamilton for a real Paddy’s Day treat. It is situated on Hamilton Harbor, which literally turns green during the holiday and feels like a tropical version of Ireland. Sit back with a Kilkenny, a Jameson whiskey or potent Blarney Stone cocktail and watch Celtic football on a TV on Front Street. The menu contains dishes like Steak & Guinness Pie, beef tenderloin, corned beef, Irish cheesecakes and Bermuda-made beer. This year, Flanagan’s is celebrating its 10th Anniversary, so make sure to visit the pub between March 13 and March 17 for special deals.
To stay close to the action, consider the luxurious Grotto Bay Beach Resort nearby, from which you can walk to Hamilton Harbor. The tranquil beach resort Rosewood Bermuda in Hamilton Parish is another elegant option that offers up to 50 percent off until April.
Island of the Pink Beaches
Bermuda is famous for its pink-sand beaches, stunning coral reefs and underwater caves, so you’ll find wonderful opportunities to swim and snorkel here. You can also experience the Bermuda International Film Festival from early to mid-March or check out historic St. George’s, one of the oldest towns in the Americas.
Join a Pub Crawl in Turks & Caicos
St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl: March 17, Providenciales, TCI
St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest nights out on the Turks and Caicos. TCI, as locals call the archipelago nation, is located just south-east of Bermuda in the Atlantic and holds an annual St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl. The party usually starts at the Tiki Hut at Turtle Cove Marina in Providenciales and ends at the fun and popular Danny Buoy’s. Before dancing the night away at this sports bar, be sure to jump into the neon turquoise water paradise of nearby Grace Bay. Most bars in the pub crawl are located near or on the water—perfect for beach-goers. While bar-hopping, also check out some authentic Irish cuisine at The Vix, a bar and grill run by an Irishman from Dublin. The Irish frequent this island often and have endearingly nicknamed the people of TCI “belongers”.
Stay Within the Action
The Turks and Caicos feature beautiful beaches, striking coral reefs and romantic, deserted cays perfect for diving and exploring. For a good place to stay in the middle of the festivities, check out Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Village in Providenciales. This exciting luxury beach resort offers swim-up bars, a water park, laid-back comfort and luxury. For some serenity, consider the serene Windsong Resort on Grace Bay.
Visit St. Patrick’s Parish in Grenada
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations: the week of March 17th throughout Grenada
If you’re a fan of the Spice Island, you’ll be happy to know that the patron saint of Grenada’s northern St. Patrick Parish is St. Patrick himself. The island celebrates St. Patrick for a week with dances, night club parties, food fairs, cultural events and religious services.
Keep in mind that when you book your trip to Grenada for early to mid-March, you will also be able to partake in the island’s March Madness events and Carriacou Parade.
Where to Stay in Grenada
Grenada is known for its friendly, hospitable people and unspoiled nature and beaches. Check out the beach resort Sandals Grenada for ultimate luxury and pampering. If you prefer something more remote, consider the hillside eco-luxe boutique resort Mount Cinnamon Grenada, which overlooks the popular Grand Anse Beach. Grand Anse Beach has a lot of action on St. Patrick’s Day, so combine your beach day with a green pint of Guinness beer and celebrate.
Other Caribbean Islands Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
The month of March is high season in the Caribbean, so there are many bars offering their own versions of green cocktails and Irish-style cuisine to lure visitors. If you happen to jet set to the Caribbean, consider some of these more low-key events.
Grand Cayman hosts the annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K Irish Jog. This fun event attracts over a thousand runners dressed in green and wearing fake red beards. Prizes include massages and hotel stays at the best spas on Grand Cayman.
Shamrock’s Pub on Rodney Bay is an open-air bar and restaurant with live music, dancing and a swimming pool and lots of Saint Patrick’s Day specials on March 17.
The Martineau Bay Resort and Spa on Vieques Island hosts a St. Patrick’s Day Weekend party with a beachfront celebration, green-hued cocktails and local versions of Irish beer and cuisine.
Things to Know Before Booking
March is one of the busiest times in the Caribbean, so book as soon as you can. Select airlines offer early bird deals for as low as $209 and resorts offer great packages as season gears up. Also, know that cruise ship lines like the Royal Caribbean offer many St. Patrick’s Day festivities and great deals to the islands in March.