An unmatched experience … Carnival in RIO

Open your mind, your heart and be prepared to never be the same again. Rio can consume your senses, touch your soul and leave you with a thirst that can only be satisfied by being back in it. And to jolt all of what Rio has to offer in a straight shot, make sure you come during the carnival!

Directly translated, Rio de Janeiro means January River. However this captivating city also goes under the name Cidade Maravilhosa, in English “wonderful city”. Rio is nothing short of wonderful, and although it is sizzling every day of the year, it is during carnival the city truly comes alive. Millions of visitors flood in from around the world and blend in with the locals to party, dance, and celebrate carnival Rio-style.

TCarnival Parade in Riohe carnival parade is probably the most iconic symbol of Rio. Various samba schools from across this culturally rich country prepare for the parade for the entire year and their final productions in the parade are extravagant and Float in the Carnival Parade in Riospectacular. The parade seating can accommodate around 70,000 spectators, but tickets do not come cheap. It is not umcommon to spend between 200-1000 dollars fr these hot seats. But keep in mind; most likely you will not be sitting down for this show. The parade is a huge party, with open Float in the Carnival Parade in Rioalcohol and non-stop dancing crowds cheer their favorite samba dance clubs and watch the extravagant floats and costumes all night long.

If you’re not able to score a ticket to one of the hottest parties around, worry not. The Day Party during the Carnival in Ipanema, Rioparty is not only on the parade grounds. Brazilians can spread the cheer, and the streets of Rio are alive and kicking, especially during the final weekend of the carnival. The scene at Ipanema beach is a must attend! Head there any time after 3pm on Friday or Street Parties on the streets of RIOSaturday and let the rhythm get you. Alcohol is served in the streets and the local beer companies sponsor the party, which means tons of free beer for all attendees throughout the night.

The carnival starts nearly 40 days before Easter on a Saturday and ends on Tuesday, the last day before Lent. It’s important to plan logistics well in advance and ensure you prep for this vacation to make it all that it can be. Since Rio sees the highest demand from tourist during this season, hotels and flights are priced extremely high and vacancy is very low. Therefore, plan ahead!

The location you pick to stay will also be important. The three world famous beaches in Rio, the ones you always see in thousands of pictures, are all next to one another: Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana.

Le Blanc: This is more of an adult oriented beach, with fewer kids. The beach is at the south end of the stretch and is north of the Favela Vidigal. The Sheraton hotel is at the south most tip of the beach and provides view of all three beaches from the north facing rooms. The area is very safe, but it is not recommended to head south from here.

Ipanema: Arguably the main beach in Rio. It is jammed with a wide variety of ages and demographics. Teenagers, families, singles, friends and couples, this beach attract many different crowds. And rightfully so. While the water and beautiful beaches are obvious attractions, there is more. Across the street from the beach are a ton of restaurants, sure to tame the cravings of excited beach goers. Little shops offer pleasant shopping opportunities, and you can also get drinks and snacks from the local beach merchants at any time.

Copacabana is slightly more of a family beach. It is common to see large families spending their Sundays on the beach, where everyone from little toddlers to grandparents will be hanging out together and just soaking up the sun. Both Ipenema and Copacabana are lined up with residential buildings looking over the beaches so it is very common for locals to head down and stick around on the beaches even hours after the sun goes down.

Crowds hang out long after the sun set on Rio beachesWith such an amazing collection of beaches, it comes as no surprise that Brazilians enjoy soaking up the sun. All of the abovementioned beaches attract both tourists and locals, and most vendors speak some level of English, so it is comfortable to hang out and never feel like an outsider.

Brazil is hot, and that means more than just sunny days. The people here are in excellent shape and they do not shy away from flaunting their amazing physique. You will see some of the skimpiest bikinis ever on the beaches of Rio, and don’t be puzzled by the topless women getting their tan on. It is very common here. Not only do the people here stay in great shape, but the culture is very open, so the shape or size of a person does not necessarily mean their choice in clothing will be conservative or provocative – it’s all accepted. Keep an open mind, and enjoy the liberating experience.

A little note on safety: in general the environment feels fairly safe, however you are in one of the largest cities in the world so be smart and stay aware of your surroundings. Do not get in the car with anyone and stay away from local taxis. If you stick with radio taxis, and call them down from your hotel, you should be fine. The local taxi drivers will offer you set amounts and will seem cheaper, but a few dollars of saving here might not be the best idea.

There are hundreds of parties going on all around Rio during carnival and some are specifically catered towards tourist. The music and crowd might feel more comfortable at one of those parties, so might be worth checking those out one of the nights. There are very few ways to go wrong in Rio, so be adventures, stay safe, and have a great time!

Evening at Ipanema Beach in Rio

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