Maria and I have spent the last week in Corumbá – a Brazilian boarder town in the Pantanal in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Now that I have come back to São Paulo I am able to show you some photos of what has to be Brazil’s great carnival secret – the carnival of Corumbá.
Back in the 1940s, this carnival was the third biggest in Brazil, coming after Rio and Bahia. Nowadays the carnival still attracts people from far and wide across Brazil, including many from Rio de Janeiro looking for a more relaxed, less crowded family event, although very few foreign tourists come. Hence me describing this amazing gem of a carnival as one of Brazil’s secrets, which as far as I could see gets no national television coverage.
As you can see, visitors get a huge carnival welcome as they arrive at the airport. Due to there being no flights on Saturdays, Maria and I missed the first day of blocos, arriving on the Sunday with the second division schools of samba on parade.
In terms of organisation, I really have to praise the organisers who take care of every single aspect of this event. There are extremely large numbers of extremely focused security personnel, but to be honest, although the parades start at around eight and carry on long into the early hours, there seemed to be absolutely no disorderly conduct by anyone.
This is an extremely safe family event, one where tourists can mix easily with no worries at all with the locals, either by the side of the parade, on the seating provided, or amongst the many food and drink stalls serving many delicious local delicacies.
I really just wanted to show you some photos in this article. I took many, but for me the lighting conditions were challenging and many were somewhat out of focus. But hopefully these ones here capture the great spirit, energy and happiness of what was an absolutely brilliant few days in Corumbá.
On the Monday, the parade sees the first division samba schools, and I am glad to report that the winners, Império do Morro, won with their theme of sustainability which was great.
On the final night, Tuesday, the large samba baterias give way to a more relaxed and informal cultural parade. Although at the start we were subject to a torrential downpour, it didn’t dampen the spirits, and after half an hour or so, the storm passed, and the parade got going again.