Carnival of Guadeloupe, West Indies

One of the most important festivals in the West Indies is the carnival of Guadeloupe which takes place for about two weeks and can go up to 4 weeks; but the most important days go from Fat Sunday to the day after Fat Tuesday, or Ash Wednesday. With European origins, this festival has taken place more and more in the West Indian culture and has settled. During this period, there are several events that take place like singing and dancing competitions, costume parades and of course the election of the queen. The most important events take place in Basse-Terre where the public accompanies the musicians, dancers and participants costumed through the streets of the city with the rhythm of the drums. The iconic Carnival character, King Vaval (abreviation of Carnival in Creole), is cremated on Ash Wednesday, ending the festivity and the crowd dresses in black and white for the occasion.

Tips

If you visit Basse-Terre during a ship stop before the carnival, you can usually see some participants who practice for carnival parade during the day in the city center (especially on weekends). This is a good opportunity to know a little about this festivity.

Two or three weeks before the big festivity, you can also attend group parades on Sunday from 17:00.

The Marques de Sapucai Sambódromo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Marques de Sapucai Sambódromo or Avenida Marques de Sapucai or Passarela do Samba is an avenue surrounded by bleachers of the carnival parade of the best samba schools of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is located west of downtown Rio de Janeiro. The avenue has just a dozen meters wide for about 800 meters long and there are bleachers which sides are open and there are boxes on three levels and the capacity is just over 80,000 people. The samba schools that parade are judged each year to choose which one will be best for 1 year. At each end, there is a place for preparation of dancers, floats, costumes and musical instruments. The parade of each school finished at Square of Apotheosis where there is also the museum of the samba. Before the existence of the Sambodromo (1984), the stands were to be assembled and disassembled every year and there wasn’t a specific place to do it. The avenue has a lot of traffic during the year but during the carnival is completely closed. Oscar Niemeyer was the architect who directed the project. The place will be used for the Summer Olympic Games this year for the marathon and archery.

Tips

Before buying tickets, learn much about the place cause you have to be able to see the parade. The best seats are in the middle or at the end of the avenue.
You have bars, places to eat something and toilets in each sector of the sambodromo. Behind the stands, there is another street with fast food, ice cream, souvenir shops and other toilets. Bring toilet paper in case it would be finished due to the length of the parade that usually ends up with the sunrise.
You can bring your own camera but professional cameras are prohibited.
Check for the Sambodromo Transfer that will give you the security of travel. In the sambodromo, there is no problem, there is security everywhere.

Festival des Neiges of Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Festival des Neiges of  Montreal is an annual event that takes place every year on several weekends at Parc Jean Drapeau. There are a lot of winter activities and what’s even better is that there are several that are free as the entrance that is completely free. There are tube slides, dog sled tours, zip lines, skating, shows, music; among others. There is also a special section for younger children that closes a little before (17:00). This year the event will take place from January 20th to February 11th.

Tips

The best way to arrive is by metro and go down in Hean-Drapeau Station.

For paid activities, you can buy the Accropass which will give you unlimited access for the duration of the festival.

Children under 4 years do not pay and there is the possibility of buying a family package a little cheaper for 4 people.

Saturday is open from 10 am to 8 pm and on Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm.