Of course, there is the carnival in Rio and the samba schools parade at the famous “sambodromo” as the greatest reference of the worldwide famous “Brazilian Carnaval”, but the carnival on the streets of Salvador in Bahia (as well as in Recife-Olinda in Pernambuco) is not far behind.
Salvador Carnival is very famous specially for its African roots and “Axe” Blocos that attract millions of people to the streets of this magical city. Some people (not just Brazilians) that had this experience, consider Carnival in Salvador as the most popular and energetic party on streets in the world.
If you not have been there yet, it is an explosion of happiness that is indescribable and beyond words. Its better say, you should be there! You need to have this experience for you full understading that “magical” means.
We know that this may sound strange to foreigners who always ask: “what about Rio?” No doubt, the carnival parade in Rio is maybe the most beautiful spectacle in the world, but if you are looking for real fun, and on streets where you can participate and not just watch, the Salvador Carnival (we need add Recife-Olinda here too) is the place to go.
In Rio you are a spectator of the parade, in the Salvador (and Recife-Olinda) Carnival you are the show. If in Rio the carnival parades are done in two days, the Salvador Carnival fest usually is the entire week! Carnival in Rio parade is just 700 or 800 meters of closed streets while Salvador (and Recife-Olinda) takes kilometers of open streets.
Usually and in realily, the “Carnival Party” starts days before the Saturday of Carnival and goes through fate Tuesday. Unoficcialy, it goes until Thursday after fat Tuesday.
Instead of the famous parade of Samba Schools with those wonderful fantasies that most of the people know, Salvador Carnival happen “behind the Trio Eletrico – a big truck, driven very slowly, loaded with thousands of watts of sound equipments and with a band playing on the top.
Surrounding the truck, there is a big rope carried by hundreds of security guards. This structure is organized by a private company, called “bloco”. Each Bloco sells a different T-shirt called “Abadá”. This T-shirt is your entrance ticket and allows you to get inside the rope area. The biggest Blocos, have over four thousand people, dancing, drinking, kissing and having fun during this crazy-fun-love street big party. It’s good to reminder that the people who aren’t in blocos, and therefore are outside of the rope areas around the trios, are called “Pipoca”. Usually it is not privilegied folks that can not afford to pay for be inside the rope area