Natal Carnatal – Best off-season Carnival Party in Brazil

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Brazilian people like to celebrate. Every major big city in Brazil has an off-season carnival. Fortaleza has Fortal, Recife has Recifolia, in Natal the off-season Carnival is called  Natal Carnatal; many smaller cities around Brazil organize their own carnival. Usually, Natal Carnatal takes place sometime in late November or December.

While Natal Brazil Carnaval is small and restrained in Natal, Carnatal is the largest off-season Carnival or “micareta” in the city.  Carnatal, like other micaretas, differ from the samba dance school performances in the streets of Rio.

Ivete Sangalo at the 2018 Carnatal

Natal Carnatal 2019 is held from Dec, 12-15.

The micareta’s central attraction is a large truck similar to the Trio Electrico. These trucks are wired for sound and has a live band performing onboard. A large crowd of singing and dancing people follows the trucks through the streets. To be allowed to follow a truck, you must purchase admittance from one of the several sponsors or “blocos”. These sponsors hire the performing bands, sell tickets, and manages those that are allowed access.

Around the trio elétrico, there is a long rope, which is held tight by the bloco staff members; only people who can show a special entrance pass, can enter the area.

You can find Bars and Toilets inside the truck. In order to get into the truck or the area within the rope, you must be wearing a special t-shirt ( usually a distinctive colourful  t-shirt ), which is  called “abadá”. This special t-shirt identifies you and  the staff will allow you in and out .

Abadás can be purchased with the ticket, a few weeks before Carnatal, but will be delivered only a few days before the Carnatal starts ( to avoid copying the special t-shirts). The cost of abadás depends on a few factors. The blocos are free to determine their prices; prices go up and down, depending on the fame and attractiveness of the band which will play with that bloco. Also, it´s better to buy in advance; buying on the spot is possible, but, if the abadás are sold out (as it´s usually the case), expect to pay an overprice. 

If you plan to attend any of these celebrations, be sure to book your accommodation in advance as hotels in Natal fill up quickly during Natal Carnatal.

Natal Brazil Carnatal 2013

If you plan to attend any of these celebrations, be sure to book your accommodation in advance as hotels in Natal fill up quickly during Natal Carnatal.

Natal Carnatal has many artists from Bahia in Brazil, after Salvador Carnival the largest participation of musicians and artists. Each block is responsible for its own attractions, singers, Dj’s and artists.

Are there other ways to participate at the Natal Carnatal?

Natal Brazil Carnatal Music 2013

On the Carnatal route, the organization mounts “camarotes”, these are kind of cabins on a higher level, from where you can see the crowd passing by.

When you are in a camarote, you can see the bands, and watch the blocos more closely. 
Or you can just stay on the street, buy and few drinks, and watch the blocos. At every corner, people are selling beer, soda, and other drinks.

This is for many people the best option, who do not want to spend the money to get into a camarote. Music is very loud and you can hear the trucks from hundred of meters away. 

For your own safety, leave any valuables ( watches, digital cameras, expensive smartphones, jewelery, handbags, etc.. ) at home, just come with some shorts, shirt and cash money to buy drinks, you will have an incredible time. 

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