Brazilians have been celebrating Carnival, the vast festival that marks the beginning of Lent, for over 300 years. The holiday is marked by dancing, parades, elaborate costumes and music. The celebrations in Rio de Janeiro are world-famous, but Brazil's second city, Sao Paulo, is also a major centre for Carnival reverly. If you're planning a trip to Sao Paulo to celebrate Carnival, there are a few sights you can't afford to miss.
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Book a ticket for the Sambadrome. The Anhembi Sambadrome, located in the north of the city, is the site of a parade in which all the city's major samba schools participate. Each school strives to outdo the others in the splendour of their costumes and the complexity of their dances. The main days of the competition are the Friday and Saturday before the beginning of Lent. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Sambadrome; you'll need a Brazilian ID to buy them online.
Join in a "bloco." The informal alternative to the staged competitions at the Sambadrome, these street parties are lively and spontaneous. At any time during Carnival, there will be a bloco making its way through the Sao Paulo streets.
Visit a Carnival ball. Some carnival balls require an invitation, but many are open to the public. Nightclubs and restaurants will host special Carnival events with live music, samba competitions and lots of drinking and dancing into the night.
Tips and warnings
- Sao Paulo in early spring can be rainy, so be sure to grab an inexpensive plastic poncho to keep the water off if you'll be partying outdoors.
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