There are some celebrations worth traveling for, and one at the top of this list is sure to be Carnival in Brazil. Across the country there are celebrations of music, dancing, costumes, and more, and the images of Brazil Carnival filled with bright colors and happy crowds. What some travelers don’t know is that each Carnival celebration has its own character. Before you go booking a trip, do a little research to find the best match for you. For example, the Sao Paulo Carnival might be considered one of the smaller celebrations (in comparison to Rio de Janeiro) but many travelers like it this way. For more of an opportunity to get some culture with your Carnival celebration, choose Sao Paulo.
The Sao Paulo Carnival lasts for five days and marks the beginning of the Lent season. Local residents who don’t want to deal with the noise and partying often leave town for the festivities, but there are also many locals who stay for the five days of fun. While other Carnival celebrations such as in Olinda are focused more on daytime festivities, in Sao Paulo you should be ready for some long nights. The music, dancing, drinking, and costumes keeps going all night long—so be sure to catch up on your sleep before your trip!
One of the best parts of the celebration in Sao Paulo is the costumes. Locals are known for their elaborate costumes and hats. If you want to join in on the fun, many shops are stocked with these items, and although on the expensive side, they might help get you in the festive mood. One thing not to do is wear jewelry – there’s a chance it could get stolen during the festivities. Another reason the Sao Paulo celebrations are great is because they are free. Some destinations charge you money to get inside the ropes, as they're called, where the main activities are taking place. Here, street parades are free.
If you don’t mind spending a little money on tickets, there are also indoor parades, in the samba contests in the Sambadrome. The core of this event is a contest between different samba schools, and one of the schools will be announced the winner at the end of Carnival. These tickets sell out quickly, so if you want to attend, be sure to make your reservations in advance. The same goes for hotels and flights. With so many people congregating in one place for a few days, hotels get booked up rather quickly. Some people start planning their trip as far as 1 year in advance.
Another highlight of the Sao Paulo Carnival is the nightclub scene. While the action takes place in the streets in some cities, it continues in the nightclubs of Sao Paulo. Many nightclubs have specific Carnival parties, encouraging costumes and contests. The best way to plan a trip to Carnival is with a group of friends. By making your arrangements in advance, avoiding wearing jewelry, and sticking together in the nightlife scene, you can safely enjoy every minute of your Carnival experience. For some people, once they experience Carnival in Sao Paulo, they return every single year for more.
Image: sfmission.com (flickr)