Salvador de Bahía, Brazil
Carnival in Salvador de Bahía is perhaps less widely known internationally as compared with Rio, but organizers claim it is the largest Carnival gathering in the world. Also, Brazilians will be the first to tell you it is where Brazil’s “real” Carnival happens, though it also is known for being a little rougher around the edges as compared with Rio.
Take in the music
Salvador is beloved for the effervescent energy of its people and music, and the Brazilian Carnival’s classic music originates in this northeastern coastal city. Axé and samba-reggae are the two main genres, and the music, dancing and celebrations of Carnival in Salvador have heavy Afro influences. Many of the region’s residents claim African heritage, and Carnival in Salvador is the perfect way to learn about and enjoy Afro-Brazilian culture.
Follow the famous
As compared with the blocos in Rio, Salvador blocos are much grander events and feture big-name artists. Top musicians, including drummers and singers, will headline blocos. People crowd the streets and follow the float for a free, thrilling outdoor concert from some of their favorite musicians. Claudia Leite, Olodum and Daniela Mercury all are top musicians performing.
Carnival in Salvador might just be the biggest party in the world, and it gets crazy. Distance yourself a little from the thick crowds and pay for an abadá, which grants you entry into the cordoned-off area closer to the musical talent. You also get a special t-shirt (the “abadá”) for the bloco, which doubles as a cool souvenir.