The Carnival period is coming. The world is getting ready for this great spectacle. And what a better place to enjoy it than Brazil, which in 2017 officially starts the Carnival festivities on February, 28th. Being the country with the largest Catholic community in the world, Brazil also hosts, probably, the largest and most famous Carnival parade on earth.
But, what makes the Brazilian Carnival so great? Maybe it’s because of the Carnival floats, the costumes, or those huge parades. For me, the best of the Carnival is the Bateria (drums), they are great and make all the difference in the parade. If you don’t know what I mean, here is a short video of a samba school practicing drums.
So, how do you feel? Want to see more? Please, feel free to check our list of the Top 10 Brazilian Carnival Destinations, starting right below.
10 – São Paulo
Not as famous as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo (the city, not the homonymous state of São Paulo) is still a great choice to spend the Carnival days, providing good infrastructure, transport and many options for parties. The most famous parade in the city happens on the Anhembi Sambadrome (Sambódromo do Anhembi), where the samba schools, each one using a different theme for their presentation, compete in a huge and multicolored procession.
9 – Fortaleza
The Carnival Parade in Fortaleza provides an excellent option, with many different rhythms besides samba, being Forró the main rhythm.
8 – Diamantina
Located in the countryside of Minas Gerais state, Diamantina was once a place used for diamond extractions (hence the name, Diamantina), now it is a charming cultural and historical city, where people can enjoy watching the blocks of Carnival passing through the streets or join them in this wonderful party.
7 – Recife
Hosting the most democratic party in this list, Recife’s Carnival is driven by blocks of parades in which you don’t need to pay to take part in most of them.
As well as Olinda, the rhythm is Frevo, a remarkable dance so unique that it was added on UNESCO list of intangible world heritage.
6 – Ouro Preto
Ouro Preto, in Minas Gerais, provides a traditional Carnival, with people partying while marching throughout stone streets and among colonial buildings. The local university also plays a big role in this event, so you can expect many young people and parties inside the campuses too.
5 – Florianopolis
Famous among people in South America (especially from Argentina), Florianópolis is a beautiful island that also hosts an unforgettable Carnival experience.
4 – Sao Luíz do Paraitinga
An underdog in this list, the Carnival in São Luiz do Paraitinga is traditional, and it is getting more and more famous in Brazil, and famous enough to be on our list 🙂 .
A good place to stay there is the Pousada Araucária, well rated, and only 500 meters from the city.
3 – Salvador
Salvador’s Carnival is well-known in Brazil and in the world. The main rhythm is Axé, a contagious rhythm derived from African styles. A good example is Olodum, an African-Brazilian percussive group and one of the most famous Carnival blocks in Brazil.
The festivity is literally driven by “Trios Elétricos”, enormous moving stages with bands on top that lead and incite people to carry on with the party. Sometimes, the excitement is so big that people keep partying for days long. Barra/Ondina and Campo Grande/Centro are the city’s two main carnival circuits, where for more than 16 hours a day and for six consecutive days dozens of bands run through, being followed by eager crowds, immersing themselves in music and dance.
To be part of the blocos it is necessary to purchase an “abada” (a colorful shirt), but you can also get a ticket and watch the “trios” passing by from exclusive areas called “camarotes”.
2 – Rio de Janeiro
The most famous Carnival in the world is in Rio de Janeiro. It counts with a myriad of options for every taste, from the traditional street blocks, as the Cordão da Bola Preta, the actual world’s largest parade, and the world’s famous Rio’s Sambadrome, where, as well as in São Paulo, the samba schools, each using a different theme for their presentation, compete in a huge and colorful procession.
You can check more about Rio in our Top 25 Places in Rio de Janeiro list 🙂
1 – Olinda
A unique event, with a traditional street Carnival where people march together with 2-meter tall figures (around 6.5 feet): the Olinda’s dolls.
The rhythm is “Frevo”, so you can expect plenty of people branding their colorful umbrellas while dancing and marching on the streets of this beautiful city.