Photos: Big Easy returns

loading photos...
  1. Katrina's mess

    A junked car lies near empty houses in the Lakeview neighborhood near the site of the levee breach on the 17th Street Canal, August 29, 2005. More than five months after caused by Hurricane Katrina made landfall, there was little progress in some areas of New Orleans. Today, tours are offered to visitors to have a better understanding of events pre and post Katrina. (David Rae Morris / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Big Easy blues

    Costumed revelers dressed as blue roof tarps pose at the annual MOMs Ball, thrown each year by the Krewe of Misfits, Orphans and Mystics in New Orleans. Many of this years Mardi Gras floats and costumes reference the blue tarps that still protect broken roofs across the city after Hurricane Katrina. (Matthew Cavanaugh / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Soul sounds

    Jen Pearl (L) and Michelle Loughnane stand under an umbrella with a reference to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, April 2006. Jazz Fest '07 will be held on April 27-29 and May 4-6. (Lee Celano / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Dancing in the streets

    A member of the Young Olympia Aide and New Look Social Aid and Pleasure Club dances in a second line parade at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. (Lee Celano / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Jeweled celebration

    Members of the Krewe of Thoth throw beads as they travel down St. Charles Avenue where thousands of revelers showed up to enjoy 2006 Mardi Gras festivities. Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") is the day before Ash Wednesday, and a celebration of the last the day before the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. Mardi Gras 2007 will be observed on Feb. 20. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Eye candy

    Revelers ogle a woman exposing herself on Bourbon St. during Mardi Gras festivities in the French Quarter of New Orleans. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Closing time

    Orleans Parish mounted Police Officers march down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter announcing the official end of Mardi Gras 2006. (Sean Gardner / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A shout for freedom

    "Big Chief" Victor Armstrong wears an elaborate Mardi Gras Indian costume. The Indian tradition of Mardi Gras pays homage to the relationship between Native Americans and escaped African slaves of the 1700s. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters via Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

updated 1/3/2008 11:52:11 AM ET 2008-01-03T16:52:11

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various through February 2008

The deal
While others beat the winter blues with a beach vacation, we recommend joining the season's biggest party instead: Mardi Gras (aka Carnival)! Tickets to the best parties, happening next month in New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, Quebec City, and Trinidad, are already getting booked up, but you can still join in the fun with the great-value vacations we've found from $169/night. The festivities usually reach their zenith on Mardi Gras itself (February 5), so you'd better make your travel plans now if you want a party to remember.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Mardi Gras may be celebrated around the world but nobody does it better than New Orleans! In February, the city delivers a few days of unforgettable festivities, with music, parades, picnics, floats, crazy costumes ... After some lesser hype in recent, post-Katrina years, the Big Easy promises to put on a stellar show this year and we recommend boosting the city’s tourism by checking it out! You can even save by staying at Hilton New Orleans Riverside, a deluxe property with special Mardi Gras rates between February 4 and 7. Discounted double rooms start at just $169/night ($199/night if you want to stay on the executive floor).

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro
Glittering sequins, fabulous costumes, spectacular floats, caipirinha-fuelled parties ... that’s Rio de Janeiro at Carnival time. Every February, the streets of this sexy Brazilian city get filled with revelers who come from around the world to strut their stuff to the sound of samba and bask on sun-kissed beaches. This year, the fiesta peaks on February 3 and 4 when the samba schools compete in the famed Sambodromo. Tickets are known to be outrageously pricey, running up to $599! But book the General Tours package we found and six days in Rio during Carnival will cost you just $1119, with five nights’ lodging, meals, sightseeing tours and Sambodromo tickets. Note that the flight to Rio is additional.

Carnival in Trinidad & Tobago
Slideshow: Rio grand Imagine celebrating Carnival on a tropical island, among rainforests, waterfalls, wetlands, and corral reefs. You can do exactly that during Trinidad & Tobago’s Carnival each February. With its masquerade bands, astounding costumes and pulsating calypso and soca music, Trinidad's giant street party is among the world’s best (and certainly the Caribbean's largest party). Fun-loving folks who head to this Caribbean outpost will witness an explosion of color, music and revelry. We recommend booking a package by a local operator, Caribbean Discovery Tours. For $400, it covers five-nights' hotel during the festivities, transfers, island tours, and breakfasts. They’ll even arrange to have a costume made for you if you wish to play in a band (at a cost of $50-$200).

Winter Carnival in Québec City
For Carnival festivities with a cold-weather twist, head north of the border to Canada’s historic Québec City. Revelers flock to this French-speaking city for the annual Winter Carnival to watch the parades, ice-sculpture competition, and canoe and dog sled races. Slated to run between February 1 and 17, the 2008 Carnival features a special vintage program that will celebrate the 400th anniversary of Québec City. Hotels are now running promotions, including the five-star Fairmont Le Château Frontenac that has family rates for $314/night, with lodging, buffet breakfast, gratuities, and a Carnival kit with a number of freebies.

The dollars
All rates above are listed per person, based on double occupancy.

The catch
You better brush up on your funky dance moves.


ShermansTravel is a guide to top travel deals and destinations. Sign up for Sherman's Top 25 e-newsletterwhich features the best editor-screened deals from hundreds of travel providers and is delivered to over 4 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments