Salvador Carnival, the largest street party in the world, approximately 2.5 million people participate in the festivities every year. In Rio you are a spectator of the parade, in the Salvador you are the show. In Rio the carnival parades are usually two to three days, the Salvador Carnival last one week!!! Carnival in Rio is a parade, just 700 meters of closed streets while Salvador Carnival covers kilometers of open streets. Instead of the famous parade of Samba Schools with those wonderful costumes, Salvador Carnival happens by following behind the Trio Eletrico.
The party normally last for 1 week. There are two main parade routes where the Trios (trucks) pass through. One close to the old district and another by the beach (Barra). Each Trio plays for 3 days on each parade. You can buy abadás for all these days, or just for one day. If you want, you can also mix different Trios, that is the alternative to see everything the Salvador Carnival can offer. You can also buy abadás for the Camarote (balconies), an option for those who want to have fun without getting into the messy crowd. This also provides a great view of the party, free drinks and a dj ambience. Just remember that it is not so safe and comfortable (for the first timers) to join the pipoca, it is better to buy an abadá.
The Salvador Carnival is heavily policed, specially in Barra. Stands with five or six seated police officers are everywhere and the streets are constantly patrolled by police groups moving in single file usually arriving quickly to break up into any incident. Remember you are in a poor city with plenty of inhabitants who would happily try to buy their food and drink by pickpocketing in an often unsubtle manner, i.e. hands in your pockets. How to avoid this? One way is to stay out of and away from the pipoca (the Carnival’s open crowds).