Carnival is one of those things every man must do at least once. To experience the relentless energy and positive spirit that sees Brazilians shut up shop for a whole week of fun. The sheer quantity of people having a good time can, at times, seem somewhat daunting. With many years of Carnival experience under our collective belt, take our advice on how to do Carnival in style.
Day 1-3: Set on a hill overlooking the city, Olinda is the jewel in Recife’s crown: cobbled streets lead to restored colonial buildings and patios filled with lush green plants that play home to a bohemian enclave of artists, writers and musicians. Exploring the town on any normal day of the year and you will be surprised to catch glimpses through windows of giant heads suspended from the ceiling. Fear not, for you have not stumbled across a pagan ritual, but a key component in the charm of Olinda’s Carnival: giant paper mache figures that are paraded on sticks above each bloco. Our favourite hotel is a beautiful old colonial mansion, set right in the heart of the action, so you don’t have far to go if the desire for a poolside cocktail or quick power nap in you fourposter bed beckons. A few days soaking up Brazil’s bohemian- culture carnival is the perfect warm up for jumping in a plane and flying down to its flasher, brasher sister.
Day 4-5: Rio de Janeiro. Magic is in the air and the lilting rhythm of Forro accelerates to a frenetic samba beat that seems to have no end in sight. Marvel at the extravagant costumes with front row seats at the parade and then head back to the Fasano for poolside sundowners on the roof top, before joining a bloco of your own and dancing the night away.
Day 6-10: Known as the ‘Resaca do carnival’, Carnival’s Hangover. This is the period after carnival where the country sleeps it off and in a typically Brazilian way, can go on for months. When the only place to be is in a hammock on a beach, with the sound of the waves lulling you to sleep for your afternoon nap, Kenoa is just the ticket. This is Brazil’s first eco-chic design hotel, set on a stunning deserted beach in the little known state of Alagoas. After a tough day choosing between the excellent spa and your private infinity pool, set on a terrace looking out to sea, snuggle up on your goose down pillows to watch a movie from the hotel’s extensive DVD collection.