Carnival in Brazil 2024: A Local’s Complete Guide

Here the samba beats louder, the colors shine brighter, and every street corner dances!


Olá, amigos! Grab your most colorful attire and get ready to samba your way through my ultimate guide to the world’s most dazzling spectacle – the Carnival in Brazil 2024!

As a local who’s danced through these streets more times than I can count, I’m here to give you the insider scoop on how to experience Carnival like a true Brasileiro.

From the pulsating parades of Rio’s Sambadrome to the ecstatic energy of Salvador’s street parties, each corner of Brazil offers a unique flavor of fun. And let’s not forget about fun Belo Horizonte’s street parties, São Paulo’s modern and diverse blocos, and Recife’s frevo frenzy!

In this guide, I’ll take you through the secret spots for the best street parties. Whether you’re a seasoned Carnival enthusiast or a curious first-timer, I promise you tales, tips, and tricks that will turn your Carnival experience into the story of a lifetime.

So, dust off your dancing shoes, charge your cameras, and let’s dive into the heart of Brazil’s most renowned celebration. Vamos lá! (Let’s go!) 🎉🇧🇷💃🕺🎊

Suggested Read: The Ultimate Guide to the Universo Paralello Festival in Brazil

A Brief History of Carnival in Brazil

The first Carnival in Brazil was at some point in the 17th century, during the Portuguese rule. However, it wasn’t long until Brazilians turned the polite masks and fancy European balls into something more, let’s say, “samba”.

Fast forward a bit, and you’ve got the birth of ‘entrudo,’ a festival where people would go wild in the streets with food fights. But, as you can guess, things got a tad too messy, and the government had to step in. No more food fights, folks!

In the early 20th century, samba schools started popping up in Rio. The ‘Escolas de Samba are actually hubs where people gather to dance, sing, and prepare for the most epic showdown of the year – the Samba Parade!

From a small street fest, the Parade is now held in a colossal spectacle at the Sambadrome, where each school struts its stuff in the most jaw-dropping costumes you’ve ever seen. Today, Carnival in Brazil is a wild mash-up of these traditions. It’s a time when the country turns into one big party, and everyone’s invited.

A local's guide for Brazilian Carnival

When the Carnival in Brazil is going to be held in 2025

Get ready to samba because Carnival in Brazil for 2025 is all set to bring its infectious energy and colors from February 28th to March 05th!

Officially, the dates align with those in Europe since Carnival is still a Catholic holiday (though it might not look like it). It always takes place 40 days before Easter, following the lunar calendar, starting on a Saturday and ending on Ash Wednesday.

However, each city has its own calendar for the event, usually starting two or even more weeks before the official holiday.

Bloco x Escolas de Samba x Private Parties and Concerts: The Different Kinds of Carnivals

We take Carnival seriously and, over the centuries, developed different ways to celebrate the best season of the year.

From the raucous street parties of blocos to the glitz of samba schools and the exclusive buzz of private parties and concerts, let’s dive into the different kinds of Carnivals Brazil offers!


I always say that the true essence of Carnival is found on the streets. It’s a traditional, popular, and democratic festival, after all. Sure, the parades are beautiful, but the heart of Carnival is about celebrating life and happiness with friends (and even complete strangers), as well as occupying public spaces

But what exactly is a bloco? Well, a bloco is the basic unity of the street carnival. It is essentially a street party or a parade group, some very small, some huge!

Think of it as a mobile festival, full of energy, color, and music, that takes the celebration to the streets. Here’s a breakdown of what a bloco typically involves:

  1. Music and Dance: A bloco is often centered around a specific type of music, usually samba or other Brazilian rhythms, but nowadays, there is a block for every taste, including rock, reggae, and jazz. Live bands or sound trucks (trio elétricos) blast music as people dance along the streets.
  2. Community Participation: Anyone can join a bloco. It’s an open, free, inclusive event where people from all walks of life come together. You don’t need a ticket; just show up and enjoy.
  3. Themes and Costumes: Many blocos have specific themes or even unique traditions, and participants often dress up in costumes that align with these themes. The atmosphere is festive, creative, and sometimes a bit wild.
  4. Spontaneity: While some blocos are well-organized and follow a set route, others are more spontaneous, springing up in different neighborhoods. The emphasis is on fun, community, and the joy of celebration.
  5. Cultural Significance: Blocos are not just parties but expressions of Brazilian culture and community spirit. They embody the essence of Carnival – a celebration of life, freedom, and joy.
A local's guide for Brazilian Carnival

Escolas de Samba

The ‘Escolas de Samba’ are usually what gringos (in Brazil, we call all foreigners gringos) recognize as the Brazilian Carnival. They are responsible for the spectacular Parades we see on TV.

But these aren’t just dance groups; they’re communities that prepare year-round for a performance that’s nothing short of a Broadway show on the move.

Think elaborate floats, jaw-dropping costumes, and choreographed dances, all telling a story or exploring a theme. The competition is fierce, as each school aims to outdo the others in creativity, costume, and choreography.

The pinnacle of this extravaganza is the parade at the Sambodromo in Rio, an event that’s as much a cultural institution as it is a party. However, other cities also have their parades, but they are much smaller and not as important.

Private Parties and Concerts

For those looking for a more curated Carnival experience, there are private parties and concerts. I have to argue that I am against private Carnivals because, for me, it’s not really Carnival; it’s just a party that could happen any time of the year.

As I said, Carnival is a democratic, popular party, and these events are the opposite of that. However, every major town holds an event like that, often featuring famous Brazilian artists and DJs. It’s indeed a chance to see Brazil’s top musical talents up close in settings that range from chic nightclubs to large-scale concert venues. They’re usually expensively ticketed, offering amenities, security, and a controlled environment.

What to Wear at the Carnival in Brazil

Carnival fashion is all about fun, comfort, and a dash of flamboyance. Let’s dive into some style tips to help you blend in with the festive crowd and enjoy the party to the fullest.

1. Go Bold with Colors and Patterns

Carnival is not the time to shy away from vibrant colors and eye-catching patterns. Think bright, bold, and beautiful. Whether it’s neon greens, radiant yellows, or deep blues, the rule is simple: the brighter, the better! Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns. Florals, stripes, polka dots – anything goes in this fashion fiesta.

2. Embrace the Costume Spirit

Costumes are a huge part of Carnival, and they’re a great way to express your creativity. From traditional samba-inspired outfits to modern, whimsical creations, anything works. You can dress up as a character, go for thematic attire, or simply add playful accessories like feathered headbands, funky sunglasses, or glittery hats.

What to wear in Brazilian Carnival
What to wear in carnival in brazil

3. Comfort Is Key

Remember, you’ll be dancing and moving around a lot, so comfort is crucial. Lightweight, breathable fabrics are ideal. It is also socially acceptable to wear fewer clothes than usual during these days (yes, you can wear a bikini on the streets).

For footwear, think practical – comfortable sneakers are the best choice because you will want to protect your feet from the crowd.

4. Accessorize Wisely

Accessories can make or break your Carnival look. Statement jewelry, colorful socks, and vibrant headgear can elevate your outfit.

However, be practical – avoid anything too heavy or cumbersome. And, of course, no Carnival attire is complete without a healthy dose of glitter and face paint!

5. Pack a Carnival Survival Kit

A small backpack or, even better, a fanny pack with essentials like water, sunscreen, and a portable charger can be a lifesaver.

6. When in Doubt, Go Local

If you’re unsure, take inspiration from the locals. Visit a nearby market or shop where you can find Carnival-specific attire. It’s a great way to support local businesses and get an authentic Brazilian Carnival experience.

Top 5 Places to Be at Carnival in Brazil

Most Brazilian cities and towns have their own Carnival, but if you ask me, these are the top 5 places to be during the event:

1. Rio de Janeiro

The Brazilian Carnival was born in Rio, and it is still the most famous Carnival in the country.

At its core is the spectacular Samba Schools Parade, held in the purpose-built Sambadrome. However, in the past decade, the street Carnival has also exploded in popularity, offering a more spontaneous and diverse celebration.

Going to Rio? Join a Tour at Rocinha Favela with a local guide for only $35. Learn more here.

Best Blocos in Rio de Janeiro

Each neighborhood in Rio has its own flavor of street Carnival. From the iconic beachside areas like Copacabana and Ipanema to the bohemian streets of Santa Teresa, each ‘bloco’ reflects the unique character of its locale. These blocos range from small, local gatherings to massive parties that draw thousands of revelers, all united by the rhythm of samba, funk, and a variety of other musical genres.

The street Carnival also serves as a platform for social and political expression. It’s not uncommon to see blocos dedicated to specific causes, using the festive atmosphere to raise awareness about issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, environmental concerns, and social justice. This adds a layer of depth and significance to the festivities, making it a celebration that goes beyond mere entertainment.

These would be my pics for the Carnival in 2024:

  1. Bloco das Carmelitas: Located in the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa, Carmelitas is inspired by the local legend of a nun who escaped a convent to join the Carnival. This popular bloco is known for its large crowds, colorful floats, and participants dressing up as nuns.
  2. Afoxé Raízes Africanas: This bloco is a vibrant embodiment of Afro-Brazilian culture in Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival. Its mission extends beyond mere celebration; it’s dedicated to promoting Afro-Brazilian culture, combating religious intolerance, and using art as a tool for cultural resistance and social inclusion.
  3. Orquestra Voadora: This bloco brings a fresh and eclectic vibe to Rio’s street carnival. They perform in open-air venues, street exits, and open rehearsals in the gardens of Parque do Flamengo, as well as at major festivals and renowned venues like Circo Voador, Teatros Rival, and Odisséia.
  4. Que Pena Amor: This bloco is celebrated for its homage to the 90s Brazilian pagode music scene. Established during the 2017 carnival in downtown Rio, it quickly became a highlight of the city’s carnival festivities.
  5. Céu na Terra: Translating to “Heaven on Earth,” this bloco parades through the cobblestone streets of Santa Teresa. It’s known for traditional carnival celebrations with giant puppets, stilts, and costumed participants, attracting a family-friendly crowd
  6. Bangalafumenga: Also known as “Banga,” this bloco gained popularity for playing funk, pop, and rock songs. Its success led the core members to form a band of the same name. They perform in street parties annually and are a staple at the Jardim Botânico (Botanical Gardens) during Carnival​

If you’re seeking a truly authentic Rio experience, consider heading to Cordão da Bola Preta, the largest and most traditional bloco in the city. Be prepared for a wild experience, though! In 2023, about 1 million people gathered in the streets to join this bloco. Personally, I tend to avoid larger blocos for safety and comfort reasons, but undoubtedly, this is an experience you’ll never have anywhere else.

The Sambodromo

This iconic structure, designed by the renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, becomes the epicenter of the city’s celebrations during Carnival season.

This is where the annual Samba School Parade happens. Its unique design features a long, narrow runway flanked by grandstands, boxes, and VIP areas, letting the spectators up close to the action.

Each school tells a story through its parade, based on a theme they select, which is expressed through music, dance, and visual artistry. The competition is fierce, as each school vies not only for the title but for the honor of their community.

Attending a parade at the Sambadrome is more than just watching a performance; it’s a cultural immersion. The energy is palpable as each samba school takes to the runway, surrounded by the roars of the crowd. It’s a celebration of Brazilian culture, history, and art, and the passion of the performers is infectious.

You can buy your tickets for the 2024 parade here.

Looking for a private party or concert? Check out the Carnaval das Artes 2024.

2. Olinda

Olinda is one of the best Carnival's in Brazil

The Carnival in Olinda is one of Brazil’s most authentic and uniquely traditional carnivals, often described as a true native Brazilian experience. Differing from the samba-dominated parades of cities like Rio, Olinda’s Carnival is renowned for its focus on frevo music — a high-energy style blending Brazilian Indigenous music with African maracatu beats.

The celebration is known for its democratic spirit, with events ‘by the people and for the people’, and all are free to attend.

The streets of Olinda come alive with a one-and-a-half-week-long street party, marked by blocos where crowds follow slow-moving trucks blasting frevo music.

A key highlight is the parade of giant papier-mâché puppets, or ‘Bonecos’, which are emblematic of the town’s spirit and history. The most famous of these is the Homem da Meia Noite, or ‘Midnight Man’, symbolizing the start of the Olinda Carnival.

Another significant event is the ‘Night of the Silent Drums’, or Noite dos Tambores Silenciosos, in Recife. This poignant ceremony involves drummers rhythmically beating their drums in the buildup to midnight, followed by a minute of silence to honor the ancestors and slaves of Maracatu, culminating in a mix of drums and African chants

City tour in Recife and Olinda for only $27? Yes, sir! Learn more here!

Best Blocos in Olinda

  1. Homem da Meia-Noite (Midnight Man): This iconic bloco is famous for its giant papier-mâché puppets, including the Homem da Meia-Noite, which symbolizes the start of Olinda Carnival​​.
  2. Cariri Olindense: Celebrated for its traditional and folkloric vibe, Cariri Olindense adds to the rich tapestry of Olinda’s Carnival celebrations​​.
  3. Lamento Negro: A bloco that stands out for its commitment to Afro-Brazilian culture and music, contributing to the diverse cultural landscape of the event​​.
  4. Enquanto isso na Sala de Justiça (Meanwhile, in the Hall of Justice): Known for its playful theme that encourages costumes of superheroes and comic book characters, this bloco adds a fun and imaginative twist to the festivities​​​​.
  5. Elefante de Olinda (Elephant of Olinda): This bloco is recognized for its large elephant puppet and festive atmosphere, drawing large crowds every year​​.
  6. Mangue Beat: Celebrating the Manguebeat movement, this bloco combines traditional rhythms with modern beats, reflecting the innovative spirit of Olinda’s Carnival​​.
  7. Bloco Eu Acho é Pouco (I Think It’s Too Little): Known for its vibrant red and yellow dragon, this bloco is a staple of Olinda’s Carnival, embodying the joyous and inclusive spirit of the festivities​​.
  8. Esses Boy Tão Muito Doido (These Boys Are So Crazy): A bloco that stands out for its high-energy and enthusiastic participation, adding to the dynamic atmosphere of Carnival​​.
  9. Ceroula de Olinda: A traditional bloco that features unique costumes and lively music, contributing to the rich diversity of the Carnival experience​​.
  10. Boi da Macuca: Famous for its large bull puppet, this bloco is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, known for its festive music and colorful parade​​.

3. Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte, my cherished hometown, may not be the first name that springs to mind when you think of Brazilian Carnival, but let me tell you, it’s an undiscovered party gem. Personally, my favorite place to be; this is a relatively recent phenomenon but has rapidly grown to become one of the country’s largest.

Its growing popularity is attributed to the enthusiastic involvement of the local community and the variety of attractions it offers, catering to all tastes and ages. Unlike the age-old traditions of Rio or Salvador, my generation had the opportunity to build Carnival with our own hands, and we are very proud of what we have accomplished.

The Carnival boasts an array of unique blocos, known for their creative themes and lively performances. These blocos are the heart and soul of the celebration, drawing large crowds with their infectious energy and music.

Unlike some other Brazilian Carnivals, Belo Horizonte’s version is noted for being particularly safe and family-friendly. It provides a welcoming atmosphere for people of all ages to enjoy the festivities together.

Carnival in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Best Blocos in Belo Horizonte

  1. Mamá na Vaca: This bloco climbs the steeped street in the Santo Antônio neighborhood, in the South-Central region of Belo Horizonte. It’s a celebration that pays homage to the vaquinha da Rua Leopoldina, a local statue of a cow that is uniquely painted by a different artist each Carnival season. The bloco is known for its lighthearted and fun atmosphere, where participants often dress up as “spotted cows” in keeping with the theme. It embodies the spirit of Belo Horizonte’s Carnival – inclusive, joyful, and deeply connected to the local community.
  2. Então, Brilha: This bloco traditionally opens the Carnival festivities in Belo Horizonte, starting with the first rays of the sun, and is inspired by the Carnival traditions of Santa Teresa in Rio de Janeiro​​. Everybody wears pink and gold and a lot of glitter, and it’s just beautiful to see the crowd shining together.
  3. Abalô-caxi: Originally known as Alô, Abacaxi, this bloco addresses the concerns of minority groups and embraces LGBT+ tropicalist Carnival traditions​.
  4. Truck do Desejo: My favorite bloco on Carnival 2023, Truck do Desejo was founded in April 2018, by lesbian, bisexual, non-binary, and transgender women, aiming to fight prejudice and increase visibility for the lesbian and bisexual culture. Comprising about 150 members, including dancers, drummers, and musicians, the bloco parades through the streets of Belo Horizonte, bringing a vibrant mix of samba reggae, funk, pagodão, marchinhas, piseiro, and reggaeton.
  5. Como te Lhama?: Born in 2016 as a celebration of Latin American culture, the block is distinguished by its cumbia repertoire, blending Brazilian instruments like the caixa and surdo with traditional cumbia instruments like the Colombian guira. “Como Te Lhama?” represents a fusion of various Latin American sounds and rhythms, creating a unique and lively celebration​.

4. São Paulo

Carnival in São Paulo is a vibrant and eclectic celebration, often overshadowed by its more famous cousin in Rio de Janeiro, yet it holds its unique charm and excitement. Unlike the samba-driven extravaganzas of Rio, São Paulo’s carnival is a melting pot of different musical styles and cultural influences, making it a unique experience.

Here, the blocos are free, informal, and often more experimental in their musical choices, ranging from traditional samba to modern pop, funk, and electronic music. The streets are filled with a sea of people dressed in colorful costumes, dancing and celebrating in a more spontaneous and inclusive atmosphere.

One aspect that sets São Paulo’s carnival apart is its cultural diversity. Being a melting pot city, the carnival here reflects its varied population. You can experience a range of cultural influences from across Brazil and the world, making it an intriguing celebration for those interested in cultural exploration.

Many blocos and samba schools use the event to voice social and political commentary, making the carnival a reflection of contemporary Brazilian issues. This adds a layer of depth to the festivities, where celebration meets social consciousness.

Best Blocos in São Paulo

  1. Bloco Tarado Ni Você: This bloco is a tribute to the iconic Brazilian singer and composer Caetano Veloso. It’s known for its joyful atmosphere and draws a diverse crowd. The music is a mix of traditional samba with contemporary Brazilian rhythms, making it a hit among both young and older carnival-goers.
  2. Acadêmicos do Baixo Augusta: One of the most famous and inclusive blocos in São Paulo, Acadêmicos do Baixo Augusta celebrates diversity in all its forms. The party is known for its extravagant costumes and vibrant music, ranging from traditional samba to modern Brazilian pop.
  3. Bloco Agrada Gregos: Focused on LGBTQ+ inclusivity, this bloco is known for its high energy and a strong sense of community. The music often includes a mix of Brazilian hits and international pop, making it a favorite among those looking for a diverse and open-minded environment.
  4. Bangalafumenga: This bloco is famous for its unique blend of Afro-Brazilian rhythms and contemporary music. The musicianship is top-notch, and the energy is contagious. It’s a great choice for those who appreciate a fusion of different musical styles.
  5. Casa Comigo: This bloco is known for its romantic theme, where many participants wear wedding dresses or costumes. It’s a fun, lighthearted party with a mix of samba and popular Brazilian music, appealing to a wide range of ages and backgrounds.
  6. Charanga do França: Known for its joyful and inclusive atmosphere, Charanga do França stands out with its focus on traditional Brazilian marchinhas, which are classic carnival tunes. It’s a favorite among those who enjoy a more traditional carnival experience, bringing a sense of nostalgia and joyous celebration.

Suggested Read: Complete Guide to Enjoy the São Paulo Pride Parade

5. Salvador

Carnival in Salvador, the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia, is an electrifying and unique celebration, distinct in its character and scale from other Carnivals in Brazil, like those in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.

Known as one of the largest street parties in the world, Salvador’s Carnival has in its core the music, particularly the Afro-Brazilian rhythms of Axé, a genre that originated in Bahia in the 1980s.

This music style blends traditional African rhythms with Brazilian pop, creating an irresistibly danceable sound. Salvador’s streets pulsate with live music, with bands performing on huge trucks known as “trios elétricos.” These trucks, equipped with massive sound systems, move slowly through the streets, with crowds of people dancing behind them.

The blocos can be either free or require a special shirt, called an “abadá,” which acts as a ticket, and are led by famous music artists and bands, making each one a unique experience. However, if it is your choice to spend the Carnival here, I highly recommend that you go to a camarote (VIP area). These spaces offer a more exclusive and safer experience with elevated views of the street festivities, food, drinks, and private shows.

The party takes place along three main routes: Campo Grande, Barra-Ondina, and Pelourinho. Each route offers a different experience.

Campo Grande is known for its traditional and political roots, Barra-Ondina is famous for its scenic beachside path and is where most of the major artists perform, and Pelourinho offers a more historical and cultural experience, with Afro-Brazilian music and dance groups performing in colonial-style streets.

Going to Salvador? Join a Free Walking Tour and get to know the city for cheap! Learn more here!

Best Trios in Salvador

  1. Ivete Sangalo: One of Brazil’s most beloved artists, Ivete Sangalo is synonymous with Salvador’s Carnival. Her performances on the trio elétrico are legendary for their vibrancy and crowd engagement. Ivete’s music, a mix of Axé, samba, and pop, captures the essence of the festival.
  2. Daniela Mercury: Known as the “Queen of Axé,” Daniela Mercury’s performances are a highlight of Salvador’s Carnival. Her energetic presence and powerful vocals, combined with a repertoire that includes Axé hits and traditional Brazilian rhythms, make her trio elétrico a must-see.
  3. Bell Marques: Formerly the lead singer of the band Chiclete com Banana, Bell Marques is a Carnival veteran whose solo career has only heightened his popularity. His trio elétrico is famous for its mix of Axé classics and new hits, creating an electrifying atmosphere.
  4. Claudia Leitte: Bringing a blend of Axé, pop, and reggae, Claudia Leitte’s performances are high-energy and visually spectacular. She’s known for her charismatic stage presence and ability to connect with the audience, making her trio elétrico a crowd favorite.
  5. Durval Lelys: As the former frontman of Asa de Águia, Durval Lelys is a seasoned performer known for his lively shows that feature a mix of Axé and rock. His performances are energetic and interactive, ensuring a memorable Carnival experience.
  6. Psirico: Led by Márcio Victor, Psirico is famous for its unique blend of Axé and pagode music. Their hit song “Lepo Lepo” became a national sensation, and their performances are known for their rhythm and danceability.

Safety at Carnival in Brazil

Safety at Carnival in Brazil is a significant concern, given the large crowds, festive atmosphere, and the sheer scale of the events. I am not saying that you should be afraid of going on the streets, but especially as a foreigner, ensuring personal safety is crucial to making your experience as fun and chill as possible.

Here are some key points to consider when discussing safety at Brazilian Carnival:

  • Avoid Large Gatherings: Carnival attracts millions of people, leading to densely packed crowds. It’s essential to be aware of one’s surroundings and avoid areas that feel too congested.
  • Stay with a Group: Attending events with friends or in a group is safer. This not only enhances the fun but also provides added security.
  • Valuables: It’s wise to leave valuables in a secure place. Do take a phone with you, as you might need it if you get lost, but it is better if you have a cheaper one and keep it hidden and secure.
  • Pickpocketing: Unfortunately, pickpocketing is common in large crowds. Be mindful of your belongings, especially in tightly packed areas.
  • Plan Ahead: Understand the transport options. Public transport can be crowded or might not work in the regular schedule; Uber might be a safer choice, especially at night.
  • Accommodation: Ensure your accommodation is in a safe area. Check reviews and seek recommendations.
  • Respect Local Norms: Be aware of local customs and respect them. This includes dress codes and social conduct.
  • Stay Connected: Keep your phone charged and consider a portable charger. Share your location and plans with someone you trust.
  • Language Barrier: Learn some basic Portuguese phrases for emergencies or carry a phrasebook or translation app.

Playlists that will help you to enjoy the Brazilian Carnival like a local

Off-season Carnival in Brazil: How to Enjoy the Party the Whole Year

Not going to be in Brazil during the best season of the year? Don’t worry! You can still enjoy a taste of Carnival by going to off-season Carnival parties and Escolas de Samba and bloco’s rehearsals!

Off-season Carnivals usually arise from local traditions or as an extension of the official Carnival, offering a more localized and often less crowded experience.

These events can range from small street parties to full-scale parades, mirroring the energy and excitement of the main Carnival.

Major Off-Season Carnival Events

  • Micaretas: These are mini-carnivals or off-season street parties, often featuring trio elétricos (music trucks), similar to those in Salvador’s Carnival, like the ‘Carnatal’ in Natal.
  • Rehearsals: These rehearsals are not just mere practice sessions but events in their own right. They typically start months before the actual Carnival and are essentially practice sessions for the dancers, musicians, and performers who participate in the Carnival parades and blocos.
  • Pre-Carnival Parties: In cities like Rio and São Paulo, the pre-Carnival period (weeks before the official Carnival) is filled with numerous blocos and rehearsals open to the public.
  • Regional Festivals: Depending on the region, you may find unique celebrations blending local culture with Carnival vibes, like the ‘Bumba Meu Boi’ festival in Maranhão.

Enjoying Off-Season Carnival

  • Research: Look into local events and their schedules. Smaller events might not be widely advertised, so local knowledge is key.
  • Accommodation: Plan your stay around these events, as some off-season Carnivals can still draw considerable crowds.

Participating in Community Events

  • Community Engagement: Many off-season events are deeply rooted in local communities. Engaging with these can offer a more authentic and immersive experience.
  • Workshops and Classes: Participate in dance and music workshops to better understand the Carnival culture.

Editor of Yes, Summer! I am a Brazilian journalist, writer, and digital nomad. I have been traveling the world, telling stories, and tasting local beers since 2010. I am the co-founder of 360meridianos, a reference in travel writing in Brazil, and author of the newsletter Migraciones. On social media, I'm always reachable at @natybecattini.

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A Local’s Guide to Carnival in Brazil Universo Paralello 2023: Everything about the Biggest Brazilian Trance Festival
A Local’s Guide to Carnival in Brazil Universo Paralello 2023: Everything about the Biggest Brazilian Trance Festival