AP PHOTOS: Best of Carnival in Latin America, Caribbean

A masked guest attends a Carnival ball at the Copacabana Palace hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. In stark contrast to the hundreds of hard-charging street parties across Rio that are open to anyone, the "Baile do Copa" bills itself as a fairytale event where the country's elite can see and be seen in a hotel known for both opulence and a lengthy tradition of welcoming world leaders and stars. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Cymbalists perform in the traditional "Diablada" or Dance of the Devils, during Carnival in Oruro, Bolivia, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. Carnival is a religious festival dating back more than 200 years in an ongoing pagan-Catholic blend of religious practice in the region, and is one of UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
A resident rests next to a costumed Carnival reveler during the "Papangus" block party in Bezerros, Pernambuco state, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. Residents in this small town in Brazil's northeastern region say the annual carnival tradition began when the families who owned the sugar mills wore masks and ripped up clothing to surprise their friends during carnival. Papangus is a Portuguese word that means those who eat corn. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
A youth sells foam cans to revelers during the "Get out Temer" carnival street party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. Merrymakers took to the streets to protest Brazil's President Michel Temer. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
A masked performer waits for his friends before a Carnival parade in Les Cayes, Haiti, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Tuesday's celebrations were the last major party day of Haiti's Carnival, a mixture of Catholic pre-Lenten festivities and African, Spanish and native cultures found throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
A reveler wearing a unicorn mask attends the "Ceu na Terra" or Heaven on Earth street party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. Merrymakers take to the streets in hundreds of open-air "bloco" parties during Rio's over-the-top Carnival, the highlight of the year for many. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
A reveler sleeps on the sidewalk during the "Ceu na Terra" or Heaven on Earth street party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. Merrymakers take to the streets in hundreds of open-air "bloco" parties during Rio's over-the-top Carnival, the highlight of the year for many. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Dancers perform the traditional "Diablada" or Dance of the Devils during Carnival in Oruro, Bolivia, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. The carnival is a religious festival dating back more than 200 years in an ongoing pagan-Catholic blend of religious practice in the region, and is one of UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
Performers from the Salgueiro samba school dance during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Mauro Pimentel)
Men toast with beer while wading in mud during the "Bloco da Lama" or Mud Street Carnival party in Paraty, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. Legend has it the "bloco" was born in 1986 after local teens hiking in a nearby mangrove forest smeared themselves with mud to discourage mosquitoes and then wandered through Paraty. (AP Photo/Mauro Pimentel)
Revelers wearing costumes pack a bus during carnival festivities in the Cidade de Deus, or "City of God" slum, before going to another party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Costumed patients from the Nise da Silveira Mental Health Institute wait for the start of their Carnival parade, coined in Portuguese: "Loucura Suburbana," or Suburban Madness, in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Patients, their relatives and institute workers held their parade one day before the official start of Carnival. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
A performer waits during a pause on the Carnival parade route in Les Cayes, Haiti, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Haiti's three-day Carnival festivities have brought rum-fueled parties, imaginative costumes and high-energy dance music to a southern city that's still recovering from last year's punishing Hurricane Matthew. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
Performers from the Uniao da Ilha samba school parade during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Competitors work for months to ready for Brazil's world famous Carnival parades of samba dancing, costumes and magnificent floats. (AP Photo/Mauro Pimentel)
Performers wait during a pause along the Carnival parade route in Les Cayes, Haiti, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Haiti's three-day Carnival festivities have brought rum-fueled parties, imaginative costumes and high-energy dance music to a southern city that's still recovering from last year's punishing Hurricane Matthew. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
A couple dressed as a bride and groom participate in the last day of Carnival celebrations in Panama City, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Carnival is celebrated throughout the country every year for four days before Ash Wednesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
Dancers perform in a Carnival parade in Les Cayes, Haiti, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Tuesday's celebrations were the last major party day of Haiti's Carnival, a mixture of Catholic pre-Lenten festivities and African, Spanish and native cultures found throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Feb. 25, 2017 photo, revelers dressed as devils sing and dance down a hillside to the rhythm of drums to mark the start of Carnival celebrations in the remote Andean town of Uquia, Argentina. During the 9 days that the festivity lasts, Carnival devils are not supposed to take their costume off or reveal their identity. (AP Photo/Alvaro Medina)
A clown-faced reveler smiles wide as he takes part in the "Galo da Madrugada" or the Morning Rooster carnival parade, in downtown Recife, in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. The "Galo da Madrugada" took to the streets for the first time in 1975 with the aim of rescuing the traditional carnival of Recife. It is now considered one of the largest carnival parades. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
A performer from the Uniao da Ilha samba school dances on a float during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
"Mike" dressed in a boxer costume, takes part in the "Blocao" dog carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. Carnival goes to the dogs as pet owners take to the streets for their own party, with their four-legged friends in ornate costumes. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Revelers wearing costumes depicting "The Simpsons" comic characters pose for the photo during the "Ceu na Terra" or Heaven on Earth street party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. Merrymakers take to the streets in hundreds of open-air "bloco" parties during Rio's over-the-top Carnival, the highlight of the year for many. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
A reveler reacts to the camera as he performs during the "Ceu na Terra" or Heaven on Earth street party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. Merrymakers take to the streets in hundreds of open-air "bloco" parties during Rio's over-the-top Carnival, the highlight of the year for many. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
In this Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 photo, revelers take part in the "Guanabara Pearl" carnival street party on Paqueta Island in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Merry makers ferried across Guanabara Bay to Paqueta Island for the parade. (AP Photo/Mauro Pimentel)
A performer from the Academicos do Grande Rio samba school parades during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Mauro Pimentel)

This gallery is a selection of some of the best moments captured during Carnival celebrations by Associated Press photographers across Latin America and the Caribbean.

The highlight of the year for many in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro's over-the-top party and competition at the famed Sambadrome. This year featured sensual red devils, the classic high-heeled women in barely covering outfits of feathers, singing performers with instruments, and people in large dresses spinning across the floor to impress the judges.

There was plenty of action outside the famed stadium, too. While the city's elite held a private bash in tuxedos and cocktail dresses resembling the "Great Gatsby" era, outside in the street a scrawny young boy sold cans of spray foam to partiers at an anti-government Carnival protest and costumed patients from a mental hospital sat dazed on the sidewalk.

Men in blue beards partied in the streets as did a half-man, half-unicorn and "Mike" the boxing dog. People in costumes from "The Simpsons" and "Wonder Woman" brought color to the subway, and one man squeezed in a power nap along the parade route.

In other parts of Brazil, muddy men bonded over beer and celebrants in rural areas honored traditions dating back to the country's sugar plantation days.

Outside Brazil, rum-fueled parties and high-energy dance music gave life to a city in southern Haiti still recovering from last fall's punishing Hurricane Matthew. An elderly couple in Panama showed up in bride and groom costumes. In Oruro, Bolivia, local people in colorful horned costumes performed the "Dance of the Devils," a celebration that has developed over more than 200 years to blend pagan and Roman Catholic religious practices.

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