Rio de Janeiro Carnival

From: Rio de Janeiro Travel Guide

See also: Rio de Janeiro BeachesCathedral Of Rio de JaneiroBrazil Carnival

Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is often referred to as 'carnival city' due to its world famous yearly 4 day Carnival which attracts many thousands of visitors and takes over just about every area of the city.

To get the best views of the Samba Parade you have to go to the Sambadromo which is located on a street called Marques de Sapucai, 4 kilometers from the Santos Dumont Airport . The Sambadromo has many different viewing levels either side of it from which spectators can watch the Samba Parade. The design was by architect Niemeyer and was opened in 1984 and was built specifically for the Samba Parade. The Sambadromo offers plenty of food and drink opportunities and fantastic views of the Samba schools performances.

The Samba Parade takes place through the Sambadromo and consists of each the top Samba schools putting on a performance which lasts for well over an hour, the Samba Parade starts around 9 pm each evening and continues on throughout the night into the early hours. Each of the Samba Schools performances is judged on a number of criteria such as costume, dancing and singing. The floats that are included in the Samba Parade are incredibly elaborate and often very inventive, with the float and participants amazingly dressed up which all adds up to the overall impression of each of the Samba Schools routine.

If you are looking to join in with the carnival then a street procession is the way to go. Many of the Samba Schools who do not perform within the Sambadromo perform on the streets of there local area. The processions will often include Samba dancers, marching bands, wonderful costumes and heaps of entertainment, these street processions are free of charge and will certainly get you in the carnival spirit so go for it, dress up and have fun. Bandas is a form of street parade that is held within each neighborhood of the city and allow you another great way to experience the carnival, the Banda de Ipanema has a large percussion band, dancers, loads of fun and outrageous costumes along with a huge crowd of followers.

Carnival Balls are also a great way to experience the Carnival spirit, some balls take place in open air locations of Rio while other balls are within hotels such as the Copacabana Palace.

Rio De Janeiro Carnival Date
The dates of the carnival change each year but it is always seven weeks before Easter Sunday and ends on Mardi Gras 4 days later.

Travel There
During the carnival many of the streets used for parades are closed off, there are no busses running, however the subway does run 24 hours a day during this time and there are plenty of taxi's.

Carnival Safety
As with many crowded situations be aware of pick picketers and keep as many personnel possessions safely hidden away, a money belt is a great option. Avoid the shanty town areas especially late at night where crime rate is higher. Where possible at night take a taxi rather than walk especially if you are on your own or unsure of your location.

Rio Accommodation
Due to the immense popularity of Rio de Janeiro Carnival it is advisable to book as early as possible, especially in popular areas such as Copacabana and Ipanema. Many of the hotels have a minimum stay requirement and the prices will be significantly more than at other times of the year.

Carnival Tickets
There are many areas of the Carnival that do not require a ticket such as the street processions and Bandas , however if you wish to watch the Samba Parade from within the Sambadromo you will need to purchase tickets well in advance as they sell out very quickly. Some of the Carnival Balls are free and others require a ticket to be purchased in advance from the location of where the Ball is to take place for example you would need a ticket in advance to go to the Copacabana Palace Luxury Ball.