🇧🇷 Salvador Carnival

Salvador Carnival is the largest street party in the world and many say it is the best place in Brazil to celebrate carnival! Here is everything you need to know about attending carnival in Salvador, Brazil!

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    When is the 2023 Salvador de Bahia Carnival?

    The Salvador de la Bahia Carnival is a pre-Lenten celebration that always occurs in the lead up to Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. In 2023, the Salvador Carnival dates are Friday, February 17 until Tuesday February 21, 2023.

    Where is Salvador de Bahia?

    Salvador de Bahia is located in and the capital city of the Brazilian state of Bahia. Bahia is situated in northern Brazil and is a city with several million people.

    Salvador was once the capital of Portugal’s New World colony that is still reflected in the charming colonial streets. Salvador sits on a gorgeous coastline filled with picture-perfect beaches make it an idea destination for carnival.

    Salvador de Bahia is also the heart of Brazil’s Afro-Brazilian community. Nowhere else in the world has the African culture brought over by the slaves, been as preserved as it has been in Salvador. Afro-Brazilian music, food, dance, religion and martial arts traditions are still alive and well.

    World’s largest street party!

    Welcome to one of the most wild and fun carnivals in all the world Salvador Carnival. Everyone has heard about carnival in Rio de Janeiro, which might be the biggest carnival worldwide, but Salvador Carnival is famous for throwing the worlds biggest street party.

    Salvador de Bahia is Brazil’s second largest carnival. Over 2 million people flock to Salvador de Bahia for one week of partying.

    Origins of Carnival in Salvador

    salvador bahia carnival

    What is the history of carnival in Brazil? And what is the history of Carnival in Salvador? The Portuguese created a settlement in Salvador de Bahia after their boat became shipwrecked in the Bermejo River and in the following years the area was established as a main business hub in their new world colony.

    Little by little Salvador de Bahia grew in population and is now home to over 3 million inhabitants. It is a melting pot city with its cultures a fusion of Africans, Europeans and Latinos traditions. This is why Salvador de Bahia Carnival is so unique.

    How do they celebrate Carnival in Salvador?

    Often people call Salvador Carnival the “real carnival.” The reason people say this is because of Salvador de Bahia’s large Afro-Brazilian community and their strong roots to their African culture and traditions which gives Salvador Carnival a more authentic African flavor. Afro-Brazilian music, dance and folklore are on display during carnival.

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    Salvador Carnival is also known for throwing the “world’s largest party!” This is because all the celebrations occur in the blocos. No samba parades, just giant moving street parties!

    Find out more: Rio Carnival vs Salvador Carnival – Which Brazilian Carnival Should You Choose?

    Carnival in Rio or Carnival in Salvador?

    While both carnivals take place at the same time, carnival in Salvador is different to carnival in Rio! Firstly, there are no samba schools or samba parades at the Salvador Carnival and samba is the heart and soul of Rio carnival.

    The Salvador Carnival is a more spontaneous street party celebration. Salvador de Bahia Carnival encourages everyone to join in the fun which is done by participating in a street party of after parties called camarotes.

    They say in Rio that you observe the parade, but in Salvador you are part of the parade! So, if the Samba parades of Rio Carnival are not really your thing and you are after a wilder carnival celebration then why not head to Salvador and join the worlds biggest street party.

    Blocos – Brazilian Street Parties

    salvador carnival

    What is a Bloco? The blocos in Salvador is a group that one can choose to join to parade through the streets of Salvador. Blocos in Salvador are different to Rio de Janeiro because the best blocos in Salvador have an entry fee and in Rio blocos are free.

    When you join a blocos in Salvador you can follow a particular band while it parades through Salvador for the four hours it takes a carnival bloco to run the carnival circuit. Joining a bloco at the Salvador Carnival is a great place to meet new friends, dance and have some fun.

    What are the best Salvador blocos to attend?

    The best blocos in Salvador’s carnival are Bloco Salvador, Asa de Águia, Ivete Sangalo, Jammil, Chiclete com Banana and Timbalada. These are some of the biggest and most popular and generally have the best musical acts playing.

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    If you can afford the cost of entry into one of these Salvador Blocos it is highly recommended that you do!

    What is a Trio elétrico?

    Trio Electricos are the heart of Salvador Carnival and accompany the blocos. The trio electrico are large 18-wheel freight trucks that have amplified sound systems and stages on top of them. They drive through the carnival circuits blasting out music or feature live musical performances.

    Why is it called a Trio-Elétrico?

    The Trio electrico dates back to the 1950s when two local musicians called Trio Electrico decided to hook some speakers onto the back of their car and drive through the streets during Salvador Carnival. Today two of the parade’s circuits are named after those guys Dodo and Osmar circuit.

    What is a Support Car?

    Because the most popular blocos are so big with up to 8,000 members that they have now added support cars that follow behind the main car blasting out music and housing amenities like bathrooms, bars, medical assistance and even a VIP room on the top.

    Abada

    salvador bahia carnival

    At carnival in Salvador your shirt is your entry ticket! When you decide which blocos you wish to attend and pay the entrance fee you will receive an abada. It is essentially a vest that gets you access to the enclosed areas of a bloco. It will give you more space to move and you can go and come as you please. Also, some abadas will get you free drinks and access to bathrooms.

    If you don’t have an abada then good luck trying to follow your favorite band parading through the streets of Salvador before you are engulfed by large crowds of people. On the busier nights you can have a million people out on the streets, so you will be competing with a lot of people to get close to the popular blocos.

    Cost to attend blocos at Salvador Carnival

    The cost for attending different blocos everyday could set you back between $50 – $500US depending on what artist is playing or the popularity of the blocos. The cost to attend some of the top and most in demand blocos which have either a top sponsor or feature a prominent artist can cost around $300US per person.

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    However, if you don’t care about which blocos you attend or artist you see, then there are plenty of cheaper abadas you can purchase just make sure you negotiate for your blocos tickets. The last night of the Salvador Carnival is actually the biggest party day and is free for everyone to attend.

    Where to buy tickets for carnival?

    You can buy tickets when you’re in Salvador and you can just ask your accommodation to help you out and let you know where to go. Or there are several ticket vendors online so you can pre-purchase tickets. We have been told that one place to get tickets is https://www.abadaweb.com.br/ , however this website is in Portuguese, so we haven’t verified this personally. Most people will purchase once they are in Salvador  

    What are the Salvador Carnival circuits?

    The blocos in Salvador Carnival follow three main circuits. First there is the Barra/Ondina which is also known as the Dodo circuit. Then there is the Campo Grande/Centro also known as the Osmar circuit. These two circuits were named after the musicians who created the Trio Electricos. And lastly there is the Pelourinho circuit.

    Osmar and Dodo are the main two carnival circuits where the largest carnival blocos are held. The Pelourinho circuit is in Salvador’s old historic center and features more traditional carnival parties. The most popular blocos route is Dodo because it parades parallel to the beautiful Bahian coastline.

    Salvador Carnival music

    Salvador Carnival musically speaking is superior to Rio Carnival because the music is not limited to samba. One of the most popular genres of music played at Salvador Carnival is axe music. Axe music is a fusion of African and Brazilian pop music.

    Camarotes

    There are two types of parties at Salvador carnival; the blocos and the camarotes. What are the camarotes? Camarotes are the grandstands that are located at the end of the parade route. They are essentially the after parties’ venues. Entrance requires a separate abada.

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    If you have the money to keep on partying when your parade is over then this is where you go. Camarotes are all-inclusive parties with food and drink. They also have DJs and live music. Their location at the end of the parade route means you have great views to watch the other blocos finish.

    The most popular camarotes are even more expensive than the main blocos and can set you back over $600US, because they feature top international DJ’s like Calvin Harris or David Guetta. What are the best camarotes? The best camarotes is “Camarote Salvador” which is very glamorous.

    What to wear to Salvador Carnival?

    Well first and foremost make sure you wear comfortable shoes! Flip flops won’t cut it and you will be on your feet all day. When you attend the blocos you must wear the abada the t-shirt ticket or you won’t gain entry.

    Where to stay in Salvador de Bahia?

    salvador carnival

    Accommodation in Salvador de Bahia is not a concern when deciding to attend the Salvador de Bahia Carnival as the area has an abundance of places to stay from inns, hostels, to luxurious 5-star hotels. It really just depends on your budget and how comfortable you wish to be.

    Essentially you have two options when deciding your location. Carnival accommodation with direct access to the parties which are the most expensive. Or carnival accommodation that is within walking distance to the parties.

    The area of Barra is highly recommended for tourists because it is known as being the best parade area but also very safe. The Pelourinho area is very dangerous at night so avoid booking your accommodation here.

    Most accommodation at Salvador Carnival is sold for a week-long fixed price package so if you decide to stay less nights you will still end up having to pay for the full week. So, this is important to note when booking your flight.

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    Check out Booking.com for some accommodation deals 

    Book your Hotel and Flight for the Salvador Carnival

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    What to Do and See in Salvador?

    In addition to attending the famous Carnival of Salvador de Bahia you can enjoy over 50 km of pristine beaches, stroll historic colonial streets or get active and play some water sports or beach soccer. You must try some of the delicious local Salvador food in the local restaurants.

    The best beaches in the area are Del Porto Da Barra beach, Itapuan or Praia do Forte. Or you can visit one of the different islands located near the city. Salvador de Bahia is a tropical area that is full of so much natural beauty and a gorgeous tropical climate.

    How do I get to Salvador de Bahia?

    It is easy to get to Salvador de Bahia which can be accessed by land, air or sea. If you are coming from overseas Salvador de Bahia has a well serviced international airport that has multiple domestic and international flights. Brazil also has an excellent bus and rail system that connects with other cities.

    Is carnival in Salvador de Bahia safe?

    Yes, statistically very few incidents happen during carnival in Salvador. We recommend that you stay in the more touristy areas and don’t wander into places by yourself at night. When you buy an abada and gain access to a blocos you are in a protected area with security so it’s worth doing for extra safety.

    However, pickpocketing is very common during carnival so be aware of your valuables at all times and don’t wear watches or jewelery. It’s best to leave your valuables back in your hotel room. If you want to bring your camera or iPhone maybe wear some clothing with a security pocket.

    Carnivaland recommends tours, events and accommodation based on our extensive experience and knowledge of them. We may earn affiliate commission from affiliate links in this article. Read more about our policy.

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