Olinda Carnival

Olinda Carnival: Address, Phone Number, Olinda Carnival Reviews: 4.5/5

Olinda Carnival
4.5
About
Of the people and for the people, organizers argue that Olinda’s Carnival is the most democratic in the world, with more than 500 groups taking part in its parades, more than 100 performers wowing the crowds for free across its nine stages, and all ages, generations, and races represented. Olinda’s Carnival also benefits from its unique, picturesque setting — a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site — and the fact that the best of its festivities take place during the day, lending it a particularly family-friendly vibe. Look out for the huge paper mache puppets amongst the paraders, as well as the infectious 'frevo' rhythms — both of these make Olinda a truly one-of-a-kind carnival experience!
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Edward D.
Lucena, PB2,886 contributions
What a party!
Feb 2020
When you say “Carnaval”, most people think of Rio de Janeiro, but Carnaval is celebrated throughout Brazil, with different cities and regions celebrating differently. Olinda is a town in the northeast of Brazil (founded in 1535), and is one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Brazil.
Olinda’s Carnaval celebration is very popular and their celebrations include the samba music you’d hear in Rio de Janeiro, but they also have their own music: Frevo, Maracatu, Ciranda and Coco. Also, they are famous for their giant puppets that resemble famous people worldwide and Brazilian celebrities. They stand about 10-12 feet tall and weigh as much as 60 pounds, which must make it difficult for the puppeteers to walk the steep cobblestone streets.

About 1 million people come to this town during carnaval to drink, dance and watch the various Carnaval blocks perform. You can pay to watch the processions pass from the upper floors of private houses (about $15 per person for the day); you could also rent one of these houses for the month (they charge about $2000), but I think the best way to experience this is in the street, among the crushing throngs of people.
There are food stands all through the city selling inexpensive street food; cold beers can be bought for as little as $1 for a can of beer. Many of the city’s restaurants remain open during Carnaval, but you’d better come early, because they will be full very quickly and then you’re going to wait to be seated.
Don’t even think of trying to get into Olinda by car. Park outside the old city and walk in. This is what everyone does. You can stay in the nearby city of Recife (about 15 minute ride) or the next state’s capital, Joao Pessoa (about a 2 ½ hour ride). I did the second and it cost $20 per person for a goup of 15 of us. The driver took us there and waited outside Olinda for 5 hours and then drove us back, so not a bad deal. It’s probably much cheaper if you’re leaving from Recife because it’s so close.
As with any street festival with lots of people, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t wear a watch or other jewelry (that’s the advice I’d give for most places in Brazil, unfortunately) and everything should be fine. I didn’t see or hear about any violence while I was there, but when one million people are stuffed into an area about 16 square miles, you have to think about safety. There are lots of police.
They have very few public toilets, but many businesses charge $1 to $2 to use a private bathroom, which is money well-spent.
In all, Carnaval in Olinda is a unique experience, you may either love or hate it, but you’ll never see anything else like it.
Written February 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Boogiedownbrownie
Sao Paulo, SP33 contributions
Top Carnival!
Feb 2019 • Friends
Olinda, has hands down, one of the best street Carnivals in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is more of the Samba schoos (parades) along with blocos. But the vibe in Olinda is sooo friendly and warm! Great music, costumes and traditions! Incredibly beautiful town as well!
Written July 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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