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The Complete Guide to Rio Carnival
It’s on everyone’s bucket list; it’s one of the biggest and most extravagant carnival parades in the world and it’s time for you to see what all the fuss is about. Our Latin America Specialist Grant gives an overview of when and where it is, and most importantly why you should go!
Carnival (or Carnaval in Portuguese) is an energetic, over-the-top celebration: a riot of music and colour. It is a parade of giant floats and samba dancers. It is a party unlike any other. Taking place 40 days before Easter, and spread over the course of five days, it is something everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime. Traditionally, during Lent, no celebrations were held and people refrained from eating rich foods. The local population therefore decided that these vices needed to be enjoyed one last time before their abstinence. This is thought to be the origin of Carnival – the community gathering together in one large street party.
Carnival takes places all around the world, however, Brazil, and more importantly the iconic city of Rio de Janeiro, earns the title of being the carnival capital of the world! It is the biggest and most exhilarating carnival in the world with more than two million people heading to the streets and beaches every day to join in with the celebrations. The Brazilians certainly know how to put on a good show, and before you know it, you will be five caipirinhas down and dancing the Samba with the locals.
Rio de Janerio also hosts the most incredible Samba parade, packed full with vibrant colours, pulsating music and bronzed samba dancers. Samba schools compete with one another throughout the Carnival in the Sambodrome (a purpose built stadium where they can parade in front of packed grandstands) with a winner chosen at the end. Schools tend to prepare a theme that all floats, dancers and costumes will follow. What makes Carnival so great it that it isn’t just limited to the main parade; there will be smaller street and beach parties throughout the city, with Lapa district being famous for some of the best carnival atmosphere. Rio de Janeiro during Carnival will be the best party you will experience and won’t disappoint.
Carnival doesn’t stop in Rio, it is celebrated in other parts of Brazil and Latin America as well. Our other favourite and one of our most popular destinations includes Salvador (Brazil), Colombia and Bolivia. Each with their own local traditions and festivities, they are great cities to visit during this celebratory time.
Get in touch with one of our specialists on 020 7622 1116 to start planning you trip to Latin America at carnival time!
Grant, Latin America Specialist:
“Carnival embodies the true Brazilian spirit. Colour, music, dancing, cachaça and some of the most incredible costume and float designs imaginable. It is a week of non-stop FUN! Don’t forgo paying a bit more for grandstand seats to watch the Samba Schools parade at the Sambodromo, the view is worth every real!”
Sinead, Latin America Specialist:
“A trip to Rio Carnival allows you to experience one of the biggest celebrations in the world, where thousands of people come together and become hypnotised by the beat of the Samba dance; a dance uniquely Brazilian and ingrained in Brazilian culture.”
Every year during the week leading up to lent.
Top Tips from the Latin America team:
Sinead advises to… Use your imagination! In Rio, people take costuming really seriously and so have some fun and dress up! Think colour, masks or hats!
Grant says… book early and don’t leave it to a last minute panic! This is the most exciting and celebrated carnival in the world, so many people book months and months in advance.
Call our Latin America experts on 020 7622 1116 and they can offer the latest advice and begin looking in to availability for you right away.