7 captivating South American Carnival celebrations

While it’s tempting to think of Carnival as South America’s version of Mardi Gras, the celebration is more like the World Cup, New Year’s, and the 4th of July all rolled into one!

Dozens of countries around the world celebrate Carnival, but it’s in Latin America where they explode in a spectacle of color and texture so vivid that they feel like a dream. It’s here where Catholic traditions brought to the New World by European colonists blended with the traditions of indigenous peoples and the descendants of enslaved Africans to imbue the celebration with a particular style and atmosphere, always featuring spirited dancing and music. Still today, the continent’s opulent parades and high-energy parties keep fun-loving locals and travelers alike dancing till dawn.

But with so literally hundreds of Latin Carnivals to choose from, it’s hard to know which to attend. Fortunately, though, there’s a celebration for

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