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Carnival in South America: Brazil’s Got the Best Show on Earth


One of the best parties to be found during Carnival in South America is in the streets in Salvador. Tradition here is to follow Trios (large trucks carrying musicians on top) and dance to the music as it makes its way down the street. You can choose to buy a shirt, which grants you the privilege to run after the Trio, or you can watch from the sidelines in a Camarote. These spectator stands are a party in and of themselves, complete with food and DJs. You can be sure to keep the party going after the Trios have passed by. The final free option is perfect for the budget traveler or person with a short attention span. Go as Pipoca (popcorn) and hop around to any and all of the 16 miles of Carnival circuit, catching whatever you can of  the passing Trios or street celebrations. However you go, be prepared for a long weekend of an exhaustively good time.

Carnival in South America

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For our big finale to our Carnival in South America Week, of course it has to be Rio. The pageantry, color and sheer size of the event are the reasons why images from Rio’s celebration are the first brought to mind when thinking of Carnival in general. Each large group is part of a samba school, a club or dance school dedicated to working on their Carnival presentation year round. These schools are usually divided by neighborhood and have various functions throughout the year, but none so important as Carnival. Each school’s performance during the Rio Carnival is judged on music, costumes, performance, theme and flow. The competition is fierce as the work done by the schools is always jaw-dropping and spectacular. There’s a reason why it’s referred to as the greatest show on Earth. Be ready for a full house and an empty wallet, though, because this is the event of the year. Nearly 5 million come to experience Carnival, either out in the street or up in the stands. This influx of people make it possible for hotels to charge up to four times their normal rate, with a multi day, minimum stay policy. But if you can (even just once!) make it to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival, it’s an experience you are never likely to forget.

Carnival in South America

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Carnival in South America

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Carnival in South America

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If you’d like to include Carnival 2014 in your South America tour, Class Adventure Travel has several customizable options to create your perfect vacation!