When? - February
While you’d probably expect to find carnivals dotted around Spain and the Caribbean islands, Goa might not necessarily be your go-to carnival spot. But Goa carnival is one of the biggest parties in India’s calendar, and definitely worth a visit. The streets come to life with a Portuguese- Indian-infused atmosphere, thanks to Goa’s solid historical ties with Portugal. Everything from the food served to the dancers has a strong, international feel – making you feel welcome no matter where you’re from. There are acrobats, brass bands, clowns and colourful floats driving through the streets. And best of all, it’s free to attend – and everyone is welcome.
When? - January
The people of Aruba don’t take their carnival responsibilities lightly, with their celebrations spanning over two months. It’s an over-the-top affair, from people in glitzy costumes dancing to the beats of tumba music and steel bands, to the numerous parades that take place on the streets of Oranjestad – including a pajama parade. Plus there’s glitter, lots of it. You can party all day and all night, and refuel by sipping daiquiris by the pool. People travel from all over the world to go, so make sure you snap up tickets in advance to secure your place.
When? – February
This is arguably the biggest carnival in the world, with two million people attending the five-day festival every day. The celebration starts 40 days before Easter, and has been going since the 1700s. It’s the perfect opportunity to see the usually laid-back Rio turn into a 24 hour party, filled with upbeat music, bright colours and ridiculous amounts of tasty food. While the festival is only a week long, a series of 500 street parties, or blocos, happen a month before and continue two weeks after – so there’s plenty of time to join in. Some of the most famous blocos include tributes to popular icons, like Quizomba, who blend rock classics such as Nirvana and Rage Against The Machine with samba music – it’s got to be seen to be believed. Partygoers are fuelled by trays of tequila shots, and kisses from strangers. Not surprisingly, tickets for the event sell out quickly, so get yours as early as possible.
When? - August
Jewel-encrusted elephants, a water-cutting ceremony and fire-eaters – all in the name of Buddha’s tooth. Legend has it that 1,700 years ago one of Buddha’s teeth was stolen from where he was buried and smuggled into Sri Lanka. Now, the tooth is a sacred symbol to Sri Lankans, and the Kandy Esala Perahera revolves around a replica of Buddha’s tooth arriving to the festival. Some of the celebrations involve entering temples, so if you want to join in make sure your shoulders and knees are covered up.
When? - February
The Carnival in Santa Cruz is said to be the second biggest carnival in the world, after Rio. It’s so popular that it one day hopes to be considered a World Heritage Site. You can’t help but be captivated by the festival spirit here, with locals drawing you into the festivities. The carnival ends when a large papier mâché sardine is burnt and buried, and everyone takes to mourning and crying for it. Don’t worry, the sombre atmosphere soon returns to party-central, with the locals dancing to celebrate.
Hotel Catalonia Las Vegas has the perfect relaxed vibe for resting after the Santa Cruz carnival, with palm trees, a pool and a beach close by.
The Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino counts a private island, designer shops and an infinity pool as some of its plus points.
Partying non-stop at Goa’s carnival can be hungry work. Colonia Santa Maria has a 24-hour restaurant to satisfy your cravings, as well as a whole host of bars close by to carry on the party.
Our top deals tailored to you, straight to your inbox Sign up for offers
More from TUI
About TUI MyTUI app Cookies Notice Manage Cookie Preferences Privacy Notice Terms & Conditions Credit card fees Media Centre Travel Jobs Affiliates Discover Lakes & Mountains Discover Weddings App Store for Ios Google Play Store Travel Money Holiday Budget Calculator TUI Group First Choice Holiday Brochures Travel After Brexit Holiday Weather
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and National Travel Health Network and Centre have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad.
See gov.uk/travelaware and follow @FCDOtravelGovUK on Twitter and Facebook.com/FCDOtravel - for the latest general FCDO travel advice, including coronavirus travel guidance, security and local laws, and passport and visa information.
See gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice - for FCDO travel advice about individual destinations.
See Travel Aware page - for travel advice from TUI.
See travelhealthpro.org.uk - for current travel health news.
The advice can change so check regularly for updates.
All the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Some of the flights on this website are also financially protected by the ATOL scheme, but ATOL protection does not apply to all flights. This website will provide you with information on the protection that applies in the case of each flight before you make your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.caa.co.uk. ATOL protection does not apply to the other holiday and travel services listed on this website.