August 18, 2022

Cayman Carnival Batabano attracts Toronto’s masquerade “Band of the Year

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Cayman Carnival Batabano’s steadfast reputation as Cayman’s national carnival since 1983 has attracted the participation of an award-winning masquerade (mas) band from Canada for the first time, Carnival Nationz, which has won the coveted “Band of the Year” award at Toronto’s Caribana carnival multiple times.

In addition to offering a new carnival experience for local Batabano masqueraders, the group is also expected to increase tourist arrivals to the Cayman Islands from Canada over the Batabano weekend, May 4-7, 2017 thanks to their all-inclusive 5-day travel package, which includes airfare, hotel accommodations, a costume, event tickets, and a Sunday boat cruise.

Offering visitors the ease and comfort to play mas in Batabano is essential, and making the booking and registration process smooth is key to our end goal of attracting this segment of masqueraders to the Cayman Islands,” explained Carnival Nationz Band Leader Bryce Aguiton. “So we are targeting not only locals to join the band, but also Canadians who may, or may never have, considered Batabano before.”

Cayman Islands Director for Tourism, Mrs. Rosa Harris, commented: “As a national event, I am pleased to see that Batabano continues to explore partnerships that will increase visitation to the Cayman Islands. It is very exciting to have such seasoned veterans join us for our vibrant carnival. We look forward to welcoming the band to our shores.”

Headquartered in Toronto Canada, Carnival Nationz, which has established a local subsidiary Carnival Nationz Cayman, has won eight of the last 12 Caribana Band of the Year titles, including a hat-trick in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

When asked why his band chose to participate in Batabano this year, Mr. Aquiton said: “Carnival Nationz is always looking for opportunities to expand its brand, especially in valued and growing carnival markets, and we have witnessed Cayman Carnival Batabano evolve over the years to become an emerging force among Caribbean carnivals. An opportunity presented itself for us to team up with Ryan Bahadur in Cayman, along with a committee of local Caymanians to help ensure that our band is driven indigenously from the grassroots level, following their directives to ensure we stay true, and represent the festival properly. So the timing was just right for us to finally venture overseas and join Batabano in 2017.”

As a salute to the Cayman Islands, the group’s inaugural theme for Batabano is “Natiwe” which focusses on the beauty of Cayman’s indigenous plants and animals, including the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana, the Wild Banana Orchid (Cayman’s national flower), the Cayman Parrot (Cayman’s national bird), Spiny Lobster, and Fire Coral.

Natiwe” is a play on the word “Native” as pronounced by the locals in Cayman,” Mr. Aguiton explained. “We thought – what better way to pay homage to the islands than to showcase key natural beauties and aspects that are present in Cayman. We have also adopted an environmental aspect to the theme by donating a portion of the monies collected through the Blue Iguana section, to the local conservationist movement to protect this endangered species. We want people to embrace the beauty of these islands.”

So far, Carnival Nationz Cayman’s inaugural entry into Batabano has been successful – at a month before the carnival, most of the group’s costume sections are already sold out.

Mr. Aguition said that what he’s looking forward to most about being in Batabano this year for the first time is: “Seeing the band come to life for the first time and creating a new ultra-experience for masqueraders, from costume design, to road vibes!”

Batabano Chairperson, Donna Myrie-Stephen echoed the tourism director’s sentiments: “The Batabano Committee is thrilled to welcome the first masquerade band from Canada to register for our national carnival Batabano, and we’re very excited to see their beautiful Cayman-themed costumes on the road this year.”

For details and to register with Carnival Nationz Cayman, visit or email [email protected].

To learn more about Cayman Carnival Batabano visit or email [email protected].

You can also follow Cayman Carnival Batabano on social media,, or


Photo caption:

The 2017 Batabano costumes by Carnival Nationz Cayman


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