The Amazing Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is one of the largest and most renowned festivals in the world. The carnival takes place in February and although the exact dates vary every year, it typically begins on a Saturday and ends on a Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.  The carnival is a tradition that indulges the locals with worldly pleasures. They are expected to abstain from such pleasures during Lenten season that comes after the festival.
Rio de Janeiro carnival
During the Rio Carnival, millions of people dance, sing and party on the streets to celebrate Brazilians’ love for life and culture. The festival is celebrated on every street corner, clubs, bars and other open areas of the city, but the heavily attended street parties are those that are held in the downtown area and South Rio.

The Samba Parade is one of the primary events in the Carnival. The parade features Samba schools, which are actually social clubs coming from different working-class communities. The parade is like a pageant where the Samba school representatives put on costumes, make their float and dance to their chosen song in order to provide a stand-out samba dancing performance. The Samba, which originated from Rio, is the main background music all throughout the festival. If you want to fit in with the crowd during the parade, consider preparing a costume and practicing your Samba moves.

Carnival de Rio is not complete without the street bands and balls. Streets bands typically consist of orchestra that centers on brass instruments. Almost all neighborhoods in the city are represented by their own street band. It is quite common to see these bands performing even before the Carnival starts. The two most famous balls are the Gay Gala Costume Ball in Scala and high profile Magic Ball in Hotel Copacabana.

Witnessing this festival is guaranteed to be a unique, fun and memorable experience. If you want such an experience, then start by carefully planning your trip to Rio. You must book your accommodation months prior to the event and expect the rates for most hotels during this period to be significantly higher. If you are skillful and patient enough in browsing the hotel rates online or have a professional travel agent, you can find fixed rate packages that are more cost effective.

A good number of hotels can be found at the southern part of Rio called Zona Sul. This area is clean, well-developed and generally safe for tourists. The more luxurious hotels are situated in Copacacabana and Ipanema, while the cheaper areas are Botafogo, Lapa Flamengo and Leblon. Another option is to rent a room from apartment owners who open their homes to facilitate people on a budget. Although in this kind of arrangement, you should definitely consider safety issues.

Aside from booking your flight and accommodation early, it can save you a lot of stress if you purchase your Carnival tickets online and in advance. The local government maintains a website for Rio Carnival which shows the schedule and venues for the various carnival events. Since there are various activities happening at the same time, you may want to get a copy of the current calendar and then purchase the corresponding tickets for events you wish to attend. Make sure to buy tickets only from the official website or its affiliates.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!