When my baby goes to Rio, I go too!
Carnival - or Carnavale - is celebrated in every corner of Brazil, but the biggest and most famous is the Carnival in Rio de Janiro. Carnavale dates back to 1723 originating from a Greek spring festival honouring the god of wine. It has since evolved into a mass celebration of indulgence in music, food, wine and dancing. If you are dedicated to having nothing but fun, Carnival is for you. Each day of the carnival sees two million people descend on the streets of Rio for parades, street festivals, balls and parties that go on all day and all night. This is a taste of Rio you’ll never want to forget.
Held during the hottest part of the year, Carnival commemorates the close of a long, hot Brazilian summer with a massive parade and samba competition in Rio’s one-of-a-kind Carnival stadium, the Sambadrome. Carnival street parties, or “blocos” pop up across the city, and revellers can also enjoy more high-end costume balls called “bailes”. Blocos run from for 24 hours and throughout that time the euphoric crowd wear homemade costumes, drink beer and Brazilian rum and dance to the beats of the Carnival parade drummers. The parties are intense, crowded and more fun than you’re ever likely to experience.
When is it?
Tips and tricks
Carnival is wild. Be prepared to rub shoulders, elbows and even have your toes crushed in the swarming crowds. It’s hot and intense but it’s also exhilarating. Keep your sense of adventure.
You need tickets for the parade in the Sambódromo. You should pre-book these for up to $100. Tickets to the bailes can be pre-booked and most other events are free and you can join whatever party you like.
Keep your cash close (preferably in a money belt) and keep your phone in a plastic bag if you want to avoid it getting wet by the tank trucks that spray the crowds with water during Carnival.
The official currency of Brazil is the Real (BRL). While shops and street vendors will accept other currency, they will charge a lot more for it, so make sure you exchange your cash to the local currency.
Be prepared by booking your flights and accommodation a few months in advance and buy your tickets to the parade ahead of time.
February is the hottest month of the year so pack light. Boys forget your shirts and girls feel free to wear your bikini tops. If the mood takes you, go mad with a costume or two- you’ll fit right in.