The Salvador Carnival is by far the biggest street party in the world. Every year, around 2 million people participate on the Salvador Carnival Parades. During six consecutive days, from 5pm to 5am, dozens of Bands make a parade along the streets, playing on big trucks (called Trios). Usually one or more Trios and Artists form a “Bloco”.
There are two parade areas in the Salvador Carnival
– Barra/Ondina (by the Av. Oceânica)
– Campo Grande/Avenida (by the Av. Sete de Setembro)
Both areas of the Salvador Carnival have aproximately two kilometers. Every twenty minutes, a new Trio starts its parade either from the Farol da Barra or from the Campo Grande square.
There are three different ways to enjoy the Salvador Carnival:
Pipoca You can simply dance on the streets with the crowd for free, and usually called “Pipoca” (what means popcorn) a funny way to describe how a jumping crowd looks like when seeing from the distance.
Camarote You can watch the Salvador Carnival from a fix cabin, or tribune, called camarote, located along the avenues. They offer drinks, food and a dj dancing ambient. Tickets cost between 150 and 600 euros per day.
Abada You can dance on the Salvador Carnival inside a safety area sorrounding the Trio, protected by bodyguards and thus isolated from the crowd. To be accepted it is necessary to buy a pass (called “Abada”), a colorfull t-shirt that identify you as a member of the Trio/Bloco.
The price of these Salvador Carnival Abadas range between 50 and 400 euros per day, depending on the artist playing at the Trio, and the time it makes the parade during the Salvador Carnival. The Abadas are exclusive for a Trio/Bloco.
Some Abadas include free drinks, and access to the bathrooms located inside the Trio. While wearing your t-shirt, you can jump in and out the safety area whenever you want.
With an Abada, you have much more space to move and dance in the Salvador Carnival. If you stay with the crowd, when the Trio passes in front of you, the Abada area, sorrounded by guards holding a rope, reduces the street area, so the crowd becomes a solid human mass, and sometimes moving is very difficult.
Getting on top of the Trios is just reserved for artist’s friends and few lucky people. If you don’t care about which Trio or artist to go with, you can buy cheaper abadas on the street, but if you don’t speak portuguese be careful on what you buy.
Usefull recommendations for the Salvador Carnival:
Statistics have shown that Salvador Carnival is a very peaceful event, although there are a few number of incidents, most of them just rips-off.
Wear tenis shoes only, do not attend the carnival in sandals, since you might loose them and get your feet hurt. Do not use watches or jewelry during the Salvador Carnival.
If you want to bring your camera, put it in inside something you can wear, and buy an Abada. By being inside a protected area, you’ll be free to take pictures with no hazard.
The traffic and transportation changes dramatically during the Salvador Carnival. So, staying on areas close to the Salvador Carnival Parades, as Barra, Ondina, Vitoria and Pelourino, is highly recommended.
Every year, the number of people attending the Salvador Carnival exceeds the vacancy on these areas. Therefore, booking a place with anticipation is recommended to get convenient rates.
If you wait until the last moment to book your place, you probably won’t find a decent accommodation, or will end up paying more. Salvador Carnival accommodations are sold almost everywhere as a seven nights fix package. By staying less nights you will probably end up paying the full package price, so be careful when booking your flight.
Where to stay in the Salvador Carnival
There are basically two kinds of Carnival accommodation: Those with direct eye contact to the Carnival Parade, which are expensive, no matter the service and facilities, and those within a walking distance to the Carnival Parade, which have reasonable prices.
Dorm Bed Price – The price for a dorm bed on Salvador Carnival, ranges from 400 to 700 euros a week, depending on the location and comfort of the accommodation.
Staying within Barra area is highly recommended for being the safest area and the best parade area. For same reasons, try to avoid Pelourinho area which is very dangerous at night.
Private (double) room Price – The price for a double private room, ranges from 1200 to 2000 euros a week, for the couple.
Apartments – Try to work only with those accepting online payments, or ask a signed contract before making any payment. The price for a six/eight beds apartment within the Carnival area ranges from 3000 to 5000 euros a week, depending on the exact location, facilities and services.
To stay in Salvador Carnival we recommend:
|– Open House Barra (best value)|
|– Salvadorms (budget)|
|– Bahiapart (apartments)|
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