The Rio Carnival is based every year in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. It’s the biggest carnival in the world. The parades of samba schools in the Sambadrome are a can’t miss highlight of the Rio Carnival. But the fun doesn’t stop there! With parties in the streets, celebrations cover the city for over a week, and the atmosphere is electric! Here’s everything you need to know for the full Carnival experience.
Nine Days in March
The festival starts on the 1st of March. The carnival always starts four days before the start of Lent. There are two days of Preliminary: Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd of March. Then, the two Main Parades will be on Sunday, March 3rd and Monday, March 4th. Tuesday the 5th of March 2019 is the Children’s Parade. Finally the Champions’ Parade is Saturday 9th of March.
The Samba Parade is organised in the Sambadrome. Every year the schools have organised a massive show.
On Friday and Saturday, Samba school’s parade to gain a place among the 12 best samba schools. These will then parade Sunday and Monday. Each day, 6 schools will put on a show to gain as many points as possible!
Results are announced on Ash Wednesday, the 6th of March, and then the top 6 schools will parade one last time.
Top Tips For Making The Most Of Your Carnival Experience
- Avoid the crazy crowds and arrive at least 2 hours before the parade starts at the Sambadrom. Take the subway there, it’s best to purchase your subway card in advance!
- Try to learn the moves of Samba to experience all Rio Carnival has to offer!
- Consider joining one of the Samba Schools, they are always encouraging visitors to join them at their show and to participate in the parade as a school member. Mangueira, Beija Flor, and Salgueiro are the most well-known, so don’t be shy!
- The Magic Ball takes place at the Copacabana Palace, this is one of the most important parties of Carnival weekend with most of Rio’s affluent, as well as internationally famous celebrities. If you still want to enjoy a great ball by spending less money, check out the Rio Scenarium, which was voted one of the top 10 bars in the world!
- If you want to experience the Carnival atmosphere, take to the streets like Rio Branco, the main street of downtown Rio, as well as Lapa and Santa Teresa where you will see “blocos”. Blocos are groups of people who play Samba in the street.
- Try to dress up in costume and fun face paints, it’s really important in Rio during Carnival.
- Because of the heat, wearing light clothes is a must. Be sure to also drink as much (water) as you can!
Download our ultimate Rio 2020 Carnival Guide
Rio Carnival is a once and a lifetime experience! Check out the bamba Carnival tour packages and Samba your way to Rio de Janeiro!