From Carnival in São Paulo to the Beaches of Guarujá, Brazil

Carnival Sao Paulo

We’re going to Carnival in Brazil! We have a celebratory drink at the Pittsburgh International Airport while we wait to board our flight. On schedule, we land in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at 4:00pm. Only a quick layover is between us and our flight to Brazil…we think.

Pittsburgh Airport

After boarding and deplaning twice, a cancelled flight, spending the night sleeping in the corner of a deserted gate of the airport, 14 hours later we are on our way to São Paulo-Guarulhous International Airport.

We land in São Paulo around 12:00am. After a 60 minute taxi ride we arrive at our friends’ home and are greeted with hugs, beer, and a ride to Anhembi Sambadrome.


We arrive into a sensory overload of confetti, music, dancing, drinking, cheering, an endless line of floats with elaborate costumes, feathers and vibrant colors. The floats range from royal frogs and cupids to the Brazilian soccer team, Palmeiras.

Bright Heads Float Carnival

Mushroom Float

frog float carnival

Carnival Dancers Sao P

Palmeres Float

Hands Float

Japanese Float Carnival

Cupid Float Carnival

Golden Float Carnival

halloween float

Greek Titan Float

Chinese Floats Carnival

Palmeres Soccer Float Carnival

The Portuguese celebration begins every year the Friday before Ash Wednesday continuing until 12:00pm on Ash Wednesday. São Paulo began holding their own Carnival celebration in 1991. Samba schools compete to attract famous musicians and television stars to top their elaborate, themed floats. Each night’s festivities continue early into the next morning.


The scenery on the ride to Guarujá is filled with vibrant greens as we drive by mountains, forests, lush vegetation, and the occasional favela. As we get closer to the coast, the smell the salt water fills in the air.

Walking along the beach in sao paulo

Overcast as we walk to the beach, we don’t expect much of a crowd. The ocean comes into view along with masses of umbrellas, beach chairs, and people. With no room to walk along the sand, we maneuver to the water walking knee deep in the ocean searching for a less crowded area.

Guarujá Beach Brazil

Rocky Guarujá Beach Brazil

Our persistence pays off and we find an opening to lay our beach towels at the far end of the beach. A stunning backdrop of mountains and thick vegetation surround the ocean. Due to the lack of room on the beach, vendors selling hot, roasted corn on the cob park their carts in the ocean.

Chicken Hearts in Brazil
Skewers of chicken Hearts and sausages

During our stay we eat very well dining on delicious homemade Brazilian cuisine, fresh bakery items, and experience an authentic Brazilian steakhouse. Getting accustomed to the late mornings, we awake around 11:00am to an abundance of tapioca crepes, fresh fruit, strong coffee, breads, cheeses, and lunch meats. For an after breakfast snack plates of chicken hearts and sausages are served, followed by lunch, dinner, a second dinner, and a late night snack.

Coxinhas – a water droplet shaped ball of dough containing shredded chicken battered, Pao de Quijo – cheese filled, fried bread balls, and Pastels – deep fried pockets of cheese and meats, similar to empanadas are eaten during at least one of the meals throughout the day.

us at carnival in sao paulo

We cannot thank our Brazilian family enough for their generous hospitality, delicious meals, and an unforgettable experience. Obrigado!

February 2015

Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

The Traveling Gingerbread is a place for us to share budget travel tips for people with full time jobs, fun facts, itineraries, and where to find the best craft beer. We have been traveling together since 2013. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours, experiences, and local breweries. We can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. In 2019, we brewed our first beer and were hooked, although, we have no intentions of brewing more than small batches. We'll continue our self appointed roles of professional testers and creating craft beer trails.

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