The Carnival in Salvador, in the state of
Bahia, has been rivaling
Rio's Carnival in recent years. Its popularity,
like those of
and Olinda, in the State of Pernambuco it is greatly
due to the fact that it is celebrated on the streets, with no need to pay
for a show that is done by the people themselves.
The Carnival adds a lot to
Salvador's appeal and make this city one of the most popular Brazil travel
Huge floats carry musicians and dancers, in addition to all the
instruments and gigantic speakers.
These floats are called “trio eletrico”
Famous Brazilian singers
from Bahia ride on top of the “trio eletrico” singing and, literally,
"electrifying" the people on the ground who follow the floats, singing and
dancing. It is pure energy.
A song composed by Caetano
Veloso - one of Brazil’s most outstanding songwriters and singers – gives
an idea of what Salvador’s Carnival is like. It goes like this: “Atrás do
trio elétrico só não vai quem já morreu...” (Only the dead don’t follow
the electric trio...).
And you really have to be
dead if you don’t get into the spirit and dance till you drop. The music
here has a different beat. It’s called Axe.
An Afro-Brazilian Beat
Salvador has strong African influences and this heritage is rich in the
artistic expression of this pulsating city. Afoxe is an Afro-Brazilian
rhythm in which the performers sing in African dialects and use musical
instruments and clothes that reflect the African traditions. There are
several groups of Afoxe in Salvador that also parade during the
Carnival. It is just beautiful.
Following the "Trio Eletrico"
requires some energy to follow the trio
elétrico. Even if you don't
dance, the crowd will make you move. But on the
sidewalks, that are free (duh!), or from the hotel balconies, for
which you have to pay, you can experience the
vibrations of the Salvador da Bahia's Carnival.
Check with your hotel about the options to better enjoy Salvador's
By the way, if you are planning
a family vacation to Salvador during the Carnival, you can choose to
experience the parades in anything from a semi-private box to a large
hotel's balcony with scores of people, and anything in between. The nice
thing about some of the boxes and hotels is that, the price includes all
your food, beverage and drinks.
You can join a "Carnival
Block", Bloco de Carnival.
A Bloco is a group of people that
follow an individual float for the entire parade. You pay a small fee, get
an official T-shirt, and become a true participant of this exciting
spectacle. You become part of the parade itself and are therefore
encompassed within the security zone of "your float".
Salvador's Carnival Tip
in the summer is really hot. So the rule is to wear comfortable, light
clothes and shoes. It is better to take just enough money for that
night's or day's expenses and just one credit card.
If you are going to follow
the crowd, don't take expensive cameras or large bags. They will slow you
down and could be lost or stolen, since you will be completely mesmerized
by the energy and excitement of it all.
There are more than one
million people on the streets of Salvador during every day of the
Carnival. And even though it is safe, with this many people it is not wise
to carry valuable items with you.
But you will feel very safe
because a couple hundred of your best friends in the world (for this night
anyway) will be with you, to watch out for you and show you a good time.
Enough said, have a blast!