The undisputed king of Brazil’s arts scene and renowned as the country’s party capital, Salvador da Bahia is a hotbed of activity after dark, as well as host to some of the most riotous annual carnival celebrations. What makes Salvador’s nightlife so unique is its strong Afro-Brazilian roots and the city’s vibrant heritage infuses the Bahian culture. This is the heartland of the Samba and the energy is so infectious that the rhythmic drumming and lively dancing seems to permeate every bar, club and sidewalk in town, particularly during carnival season.
The Old Town of Pelourinho is the center of the city’s nightlife, but the Rio Vermelho neighborhood is also a burgeoning hotspot for samba music and dance, as well as a great place to watch the spiritual rituals and dances of the Candomblé (the legendary animist religion brought to the region by west African slaves). Tuesday night is the biggest night to party, with the bars and clubs of Pelourinho erupting into festivities after the 6pm mass and the famous Olodum bloco (street band) taking to the streets of the Praça Teresa Batista.
If you don’t fancy braving the streets alone, a night tour of Salvador da Bahia is a great way to experience the city’s lively atmosphere and discover the unique Afro-Brazilian culture with a special culture show. You’ll even get a chance to watch a traditional Capoeira, the unique dance-cum-martial-art developed by African slaves to disguise the learning of fighting skills, and tuck into a hearty bowl of feijoada, a traditional slave dish cooked up with meat and black beans.