Carnival, the musical masterpiece of Rio de Janeiro!

Sambódromo or rather, Carnival, is the hearty highlight of Rio de Janeiro’s atmosphere every year before the lent season. Held from the 21st to 26th of February 2020, the festival is celebrated till Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of Lent and symbolises a time of jubilance before a 40-day time frame where Christians abstain from any type of festivity. During these five days, the streets of the seaside city come alive with the vibrant rhythm of samba. Tourists and locals mingle through the palm tree-lined golden beaches while making use of all the picture opportunities and rejoice at the sight of all the pulsing activity around them.

To be more specific, the energy is insane! The event is described as the biggest show on earth and is also described to be a significant factor in pulling visitors from all over the world towards Rio. Curious to know what it’s actually like? Firsthand visitors have told that this is the party that’s going to make you want to book an annual flight to Rio. From elaborate floats, whirling dancers with flamboyant costumes, pounding drum tones, music that beats like the vital force of everything around you and a lot of sequins, the festival is one glittery escapade that we’re sure you won’t complain about because you’ll be one with the enthusiastic crowd yourself. Carnival tends to have that effect on people.  

Even though the musical crescendo starts on the 21st, the celebrations begin at least a week prior! Days before the main event, there will be neighbourhood-organised parties with live samba music and skilled-local drummers who invite almost everyone to join in on the fun and if you want to feel more included, you can always be on the parade yourself. Yea, not only can you watch but there’s also a chance you could dance your way through everything!

So, if you’re not like me and you don’t have serious self-esteem issues, you’re more than welcome by a numerous amount of samba schools to take part. Just remember, you have to be in Rio at least 2 weeks prior if you want this to work because you’ll be getting a lot of practice on mastering the moves and you’ll definitely need some time to work on your outfit.  

Our Guide to surviving the hype of Carnival

  • Not to sound like your parents, but…go easy on the drinks. Carnival is much more enjoyable when you’re sober and not reeling from a horrible hangover. Keep it as minimal as possible, unless of course you have a high alcohol tolerance or you’re brave enough to withstand almost 2 million people screaming at the top of their lungs while nursing a stubborn headache
  • Rio is known for the cheap accommodations it gives travellers, but trust me when I say you’ll need a remotely good hotel after all the night parties that last up till 2am. Cheap hotels are definitely great, but it’s highly recommended you stay somewhere nice just until Carnival is over or while it’s happening.
  • Get tickets to watch the parade live as soon as possible! Remember, thousands of people are vying to be in the front while all of Rio’s most renowned samba schools put on their best performances to date. If you wait too long, you might end up paying more than you have to and seeing it on tv isn’t the best way to experience the festival.
  • Street vendors selling local food and other souvenirs are not known to appreciate cards, so be sure to have some cash in hand but not too much. Remember, crowded streets and unsuspecting tourists are a pickpocketers dream come true.

If you’ve been thinking about seeing carnival for yourself or just wanted to travel to Rio in general, we’ll be more than happy to give you our assistance! From helping you find flight deals, accommodation and getting you linked with a certain holiday package (Multi-centre holidays, all-inclusive holidays etc.) we, at Travel Center will be there with you every step of the way and make sure you have the best time in Rio. Call us on 020 3515 0800 or send us an email, that’s all it takes to start planning with us.

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