Among the most famous carnivals in the world are those of Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans and Venice, but in different countries carnivals take on their own local character and the tropical fiesta that is the Santa Cruz Carnival Brazil, Bolivia is one not to be missed!
Part religious procession, part dance party and part paint-ball game, the Santa Cruz Carnival Brazil is a riot of colour, sound and movement that is often compared to that of Rio for its sheer exuberance.
For the two weeks before Ash Wednesday, the streets come alive with troupes of jewellery – and costume-clad locals and foreigners dancing in wild abandon to the beats of salsa, samba or anything else that is being played. A feature almost unique to Bolivia is the way that revellers throw ink-filled ‘globos’ at each other or spray one another with foam and water. A modern innovation is to use water pistols filled with ink. This tradition may hark back to local customs from before Christianity was imposed by Spanish conquerors.
One theory for the origin of the word carnival is that it derives from the Latin words carnem (meat) and levare (raise), meaning to remove the meat, and so relates to the fact that people who observe Lent do not eat meat, fish or eggs.
Regardless of its origin, the Santa Cruz Carnival Brazil is a fantastic experience – a heady mix of dancing, parades, floats and fun-loving crowds that will ensure you’ll still be tapping your feet to the samba beat long after the celebrations are over.
One of the most exciting places in the world to go wild before Easter.
South-eastern Bolivia between Brazil and Paraguay
Traditional and non-traditional dress, dancers, parades, floats and crowds!
Dance, dress up, sing and celebrate!
Carnival season is in February/March for the two weeks before the traditional Christian fast of Lent.
Viru Viru International Airport, Bolivia’s largest, or by train from the Brazilian border, close to the city of Curumba.
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