My Dream Brazilian Carnival – Salvador, Recife & Rio

Brazil hosts the most famous carnival in the world: Rio Carnaval. The scantly-clad samba queens writhing to rhythmic drum beats fill up news screens in 30-second clips all over the world during the month of February. At least this was my first glimpse of Brazilian carnival.
However, the iconic Rio Sambódromo (samba stadium or Sambadrome) is just a small feature of Brazilian carnival and over the next week, I’ll be participating in the full gantlet of carnival parties in three Brazilian cities: Salvador da Bahia, Recife and of course, Rio de Janeiro.
Recife is a city lying to the north of Salvador and is the capital of the state of Pernambuco. It’s highlight is the “Galo da Madrugada” (“Dawn Rooster”) which is the biggest street party in the world (in 2015, 2.5 million participants).
The traditional music at this carnival is called ‘frevo’. The Recife carnival also features street parties in the historical city of Olinda which lies adjacent to Recife and can be easily reached by taxi and is a favorite of mine on the Sunday of carnival.
Galo da Madrugada
O Galo da Madrugada
The Bahian carnival is known as “The biggest carnival in the world” (“O maior carnaval do mundo”) and Salvador da Bahia is the state capital. This carnival is particularly popular with both Brazilian and international tourists with the revelry centered around “trios elétricos” which are musical floats featuring some of Brazil’s most famous singers and musicians.
It’s possible to get really close to the trios by purchasing an “abadá” (a special t-shirt that acts as an entry pass) or you can watch the different performers from a VIP stand called a “camarote”.
Camarote Salvador
A “camarote” party in Salvador da Bahia
The Rio carnival features two main elements: the samba parades which take place in the sambradrome and the “bloco” street parties which run on a continuous cycle around the city. This year I’ve chosen to participate in the Mangueira samba school in the parade which will perform on the Monday night – one of my favorite schools along with Beija-Flor.
My carnival will conclude with a tour of the various “bloco” parties which are local music events with a more informal atmosphere.
Cristo Redentor
Rio de Janeiro is the ultimate climax of carnival
I plan to produce a series of videos to show you what it’s like to experience the best carnivals in Brazil. If you have any tips, stories or requests that you would like to share with me, please leave a comment below the article. I love reading your messages! 🙂 Até logo!

Interested in moving to Brazil for 3-12 months per year? Please write me a message at and I will see how to help you best. 😁🇧🇷

Olinda carnival
Click above to read about Leg 1 of my Dream Carnival: Salvador de Bahia!
Olinda carnival
Click above to read about Leg 2 of my Dream Carnival: Recife/Olinda!
Rio view
Click above to read about Leg 3 of my Dream Carnival: Rio de Janeiro!
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