Ahh, mango season. In my opinion, one of the very best times to visit the Caribbean. There’s nothing better than pulling over on your way to the beach to collect an armful of mangoes, then spending the day lounging in the sun enjoying the sweet, sticky, delicious (and often messy) tropical fruit.
And true to the eclectic nature of each island, there are many, many different varieties of mangos to be enjoyed throughout the West Indies.
There’s the round Hatian Baptiste that turns bright yellow when ripe, the Jamaican Bombay which remains fairly green even when ripe, and the Trinidadian Graham whose flesh is fairly fiber free.
Cuba has quite a lot of varieties including the Toledo, the Prieto, and the San Felipe, which turns an absolutely gorgeous apple-red when ripe.
But the most widely spread type of mango to be found on roadsides around the Caribbean would be the Julie—mustard yellow with a slight blush when ripe and soft, fleshy, juicy goodness hiding just below the skin.
When is mango season?
Generally, Julies come into season from May to July. This is the best time to enjoy mango season in the Caribbean!
Why visit during mango season?
Like the millions of mangos that grace the trees of the Caribbean during the Summer, there are also a million reasons why you’d want to visit the region during mango season.
One great reason are the many mango festivals that celebrate the annual bounty like the famed Jade Mountain Mango Madness Festival. During this time, you can also expect to find sweet and inventive mango recipes on the menu from roadside to lux restaurants and everywhere in between. The mango pork at Sugar Ridge Antigua is a standout.
Mango season means free breakfast in St. Lucia
Recently in St. Lucia, we happened to have a tree heavy with fruit right next to our villa at Stonefield Estate Villa Resort. During the night we’d be awakened by our breakfast being delivered with a loud thump on the roof, the sound of rolling, and finally a soft thud as mango after mango found its way, fresh picked by the trade winds, to our porch.
A little mango season humor
So, the old joke goes something like this:
Three men were sentenced to die – a Barbadian, a Jamaican, and a Trinidadian. On the day they were sentenced to hang, the priest asked each man – “what’s your last wish?”
The Barbadian said “I’ll have a flying fish cutter.” After he ate the meal, they hung him. The Jamaican was next. He said “give me some ackee, saltfish and jerk chicken.” After he ate his meal, they hung him too.
The Trinidadian then gave his last wish. He said: “Well, its a very long time that I haven’t sucked a mango.” The priest replied: “Sorry, its not mango season.” The Trini replied: Well, I will wait.”
Forget the typical “season”, my favorite season for travel in the Caribbean is mango season. Mmmmmm… Mangoes.