February sends much of Latin America into a frenzy of costumes and colour as Carnival season gets well and truly underway. The party atmosphere sweeps the continent as cities burst into life, making this one of the most exciting times to visit!
For the most iconic, and in many people’s opinions the best, head to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and succumb to the infectious Samba sounds that ripple through the streets. Although not as well-known as its counterpart, Salvador also hosts incredible street parties, and the infectious atmosphere will leave you wanting to return.
Colombia’s carnival celebrations in Baranquilla are second only to Rio, and make for a great alternative for those wishing to get involved in this once-in-a-lifetime party.
For those wishing to experience something a little different, Merida in Venezuela hosts its annual ‘Feria del Sol’ in February. Every year the best bull fighters show off their skills in the famous ‘Plaza de Toros’, amid cultural exhibitions, concerts, parades, gaucho shows and the traditional election of the Festival Queen.
Other lesser known festivals include the ‘Virgen de la Candelaria’ in both La Paz in Bolivia and Puno in Peru; The festival of fruit and flowers which takes place in Ambato, Ecuador and lasts for the final two weeks of the month; and Tapati, an annual ritual which takes place on the mysterious Easter Island, bringing the island to life in a riot of music and traditional dances.
The annual flooding of Brazil’s Pantanal between January and February makes this a great time to visit, as the high water levels provide a rich feeding ground for much of the region’s wildlife.