Carnival in Bahia is as fervent on its expression and tradition as Rio's, though rather different. Essentially, the Carnival in Bahia (Salvador) is a musical and folkloric event, centred in Trio Electricos musical cars, carrying musicians and singers. It's the Trio Electrico cars that make the music and puts everyone in a carnival trance.
There are dozens of Trio Electricos, each one acting in a different street circuit, performing different musical themes, allowing people to choose and accompany their preferred music and performers. The music isn't limited to samba. Most of the top musicians of Brazil go to Salvador da Bahia's Carnival. They are the heart of its success and brightness. Musically speaking, Salvador Carnival is better than Rio's, coming only behing it visually.
Besides the central piece of the Carnival in Bahia (the Trio Electricos), there are folkloric components, such as the afoxe, a kind of musical processios that is very attached to African traditions and ways of dressing. The type of sound produced at the afoxe is very monotonous and the lyrics concern the practice of the slaves brought by the Portuguese to Brazil.
Hotels and Carnival tickets in Bahia
If you are interested in the Bahian Carnival, you must anticipate hotel reservation (though there is no need to purchasethe tickets for the Carnival festivities; you can easily arrange them once in Salvador da Bahia). Salvador calls around 600.000 people to its Carnival and that makes hotel booking difficult.
For more information about Bahia, see:
Eating, Shopping, Nightlife and Entertainment in Bahia
Tropical beaches: Bahia
Travel Package: Rio, Amazon, Bahia
Carnival is a true Brazilian national event; as such, it is not restricted only to Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. Every significant Brazilian city has its own Carnival: Recife, an important city on the Northeast, and Olinda, just 3 miles north, also have a kind of afoxe in their Carnival. It's called Maracatu; it mixes theatre and music, and also have a slave and African origin. Moreover, Recife's Carnival is very peculiar and expressive. The music (the trevo), the dances performed by the figurants (the Crab, the Screwdriver) and the costumes (floppy shirts, shorts, stockings, or colourful umbrellas) are typically regional.
Hotels and Carnival Olinda and Recife tickets
If you are interested in Recife and Olinda Carnivals, you must anticipate your hotel reservation (you don't have to anticipate the purchase of the tickets to the Carnival festivities; you can easily acquire the tickets once you arrive, at the hotels or at local agents).