Belo Horizonte: Brazil Hidden Gem for Carnival Revelers


Belo Horizonte is a city in Brazil that you might not have heard about. It’s the sixth biggest city in Brazil and is also a state capital, but it doesn’t have the famous beaches or historical buildings that are usual hot-spots for tourists. Locally, it’s known as “Beagá.” Even though it hasn’t always celebrated Carnival, a big yearly festival with roots in Christian traditions, these days it’s one of the most popular spots to party during Carnival.

During Carnival this year (it’s from January 27 to February 18, but most celebration happens between February 9 and 14), a large number – 5.5 million people! – are expected to join the festivities in Belo Horizonte. And this is even more than the city’s whole population. Famous people, like the star singer Anitta, will even be there, proving that Beagá is becoming a popular place to celebrate Carnival in Brazil.

You cannot imagine how important Carnival is in Brazil. It’s a period of walking parades, street parties, and balls, and it brings tons of money to the country. In 2023, it pulled in over R$8,180m, which is about £1.3bn. Rio de Janeiro gets the most significant chunk of the money and tourists since it has the largest and most expensive Carnival. Big coastal cities like Salvador and Recife also have lots of Carnival events, and over time São Paulo, the most populated city in Brazil, has become a major place to party during Carnival.

But this year, bright Brazilians are heading to Belo Horizonte.

Belo Horizonte is 127 years old and was built with a city plan, and it is the capital of Minas Gerais. This state is popular for its food and drinks made from sugarcane. The city itself is known for its friendly people and relaxing atmosphere. But the Carnival festival is taken seriously, with events, called blocos, starting as early as 5 AM, and going on till early evening. This year, there will even be more blocos in Belo Horizonte than in Rio, and it’s predicted to bring in R$1bn (£160m) to the local businesses.

In the past, people would leave Belo Horizonte during Carnival, even though there used to be celebrations in the late 19th century when the city was founded. It wasn’t until 2009 that it became popular once again. This was a big political statement and symbolized a revolt against the government.

One of the blocos in Belo Horizonte was created to defend the rights of lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Its member, Fernanda Branco Polse, said that the carnival began as a protest against a mayor who didn’t allow public places to be used for celebrations. Now, they are feeling like the local government is trying to take control of the event to regulate it. Polse doesn’t like this idea of the local government trying to control a spontaneous and popular event and standardize the carnival.

While a lot of tech-savvy people in Brazil are now interested in the Belo Horizonte Carnival because of good advertising, it’s not just that. Gustavo Jreige, a host of a famous LGBTQ+ party in São Paulo, usually celebrates Carnival in São Paulo, but this year, he’s going to Belo Horizonte. He explained that it’s organized enough to have a schedule, but not too strict, which makes it fun and easy to enjoy.

Belo Horizonte is still new to Carnival, so it’s not too commercialized yet. It keeps its original spirit alive, and it’s not expensive or dangerous either. Compared to the famous Carnivals in Rio and Salvador, it’s more affordable and safe. It’s a big yet friendly city. Apart from this, its growing cultural value has made it attractive to a lot of people.

In conclusion, the Carnival in Belo Horizonte is expected to be a great experience for everyone in attendance.