Rio de Janeiro Carnival is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. With this guide, you’ll be able to plan your trip, choose the best time to visit, what to wear, where to stay, and how to experience the Carnival in the best way, including the Parade of Champions and the Blocos street parties. So without further ado, let’s get to the heart of the topic.
Introducing the Rio de Janeiro Carnival
The history of the Rio Carnival dates back to the 17th century. From a Catholic tradition, the celebration has evolved to become a huge cultural event that attracts millions of visitors from all around the world. Today, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival is famous for its elaborate parades featuring colorful costumes and the floats of the samba schools that compete in the Parade of Champions.
Best Time to Visit and What to Wear
When planning your trip, remember that the best time to visit is during the main parade, known as the “Samba Parade,” which takes place on the Sunday and Monday before Ash Wednesday. The dates change every year. About attire, when it comes to Carnival, the more colorful and extravagant, the better it is. Many people wear costumes or traditional Brazilian clothing such as a samba dress or a “fantasia” (fantasy costume). And keep in mind that the weather during the Rio de Janeiro Carnival can be pretty hot, so lightweight, breathable fabrics are a must.
Where to Stay
The best places to stay during Carnival are in the neighborhoods of Copacabana, Botafogo, Lapa, and Santa Teresa. These areas are close to the main parade routes and are known for their lively street parties. And book your accommodation well in advance as the prices rise and availability becomes limited closer to the event.
The Parade of Champions
One of the highlights of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival is the samba schools and their Parade of Champions. The top samba schools to see during the parade of champions are Mangueira, Beija Flor, and Portela. These schools are known for their elaborate costumes, floats, and choreography. To experience the Parade of Champions, remember to purchase your tickets in advance as they sell out quickly. The parade takes place in the Sambodrome, a dedicated arena built for the event. From the Sambodrome, you can also see the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Different ticket options are available, such as seating in the grandstand or standing only. It’s also possible to purchase VIP tickets with access to differentiated viewing areas and amenities.
the Rio de Janeiro Carnival Blocos
Another aspect of Rio Carnival is the Blocos and street parties. The Blocos are neighborhood-based groups that parade through the streets. They play music and invite locals and visitors to join in the fun. The best are Sargento Pimenta, Amigos da Onça, and Orquestra Voadora. For a more traditional experience, check out Cordão do Bola Preta, Banda de Ipanema, and Simpatia É Quase Amor. To fully immerse yourself in the street party atmosphere, we recommend you join one of these traditional Blocos and follow them through the streets. To add to the magic, you will often see postcard views, such as Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer, making the experience even more unforgettable. By the way, we have a short city tour to visit these two iconic touristic attractions. Check it out for detailed information.
When attending the Rio Carnival, don’t forget to keep safety in mind. One way to do this is by keeping your valuables safe, as pickpocketing is common in crowded areas. To help prevent this, you can use a money belt to store your belongings and avoid keeping items such as your phone or wallet in your back pockets, which are more easily accessible for pickpockets. And to ensure you have a pleasant experience, avoid carrying large amounts of cash and instead opt for a travel credit card or cash card.
Due to the heat in Rio during Carnival, remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and being mindful of your alcohol consumption. Like that, you ensure you have a healthy and enjoyable time. Overall, by taking the necessary precautions, you will have a great time during the Rio Carnival. That’s it! With this guide, you can start planning your trip and get ready to experience a magic moment!