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Rio Carnival 2019 in Brazil is the world’s largest party and it only happens once a year. As with all large festivals, there is a range of things to take into account so that you can enjoy the party from beginning to end.

Rio Carnival 2017

When & where

Friday, March 1st – Saturday, March 9th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazi

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What to do

With so much hype and the abundance of festivities surrounding Carnival, it might be hard to figure out exactly which events to attend in order to maximize your time. We’ve compiled this list of main activities and things to take into consideration when choosing the right ones for you.

Rio Carnival 2017
Photo by Visit.Rio

Rio Samba Parade

This Rio Carnival parade is an impeccably organized and highly orchestrated show. Cariocas, or the people of Rio people, dress in elaborate, colorful costumes and dance in groups with their samba schools. Each school boasts a unique presentation filled with exuberant dancers, detailed floats and an abundance of glitter, body paint, and smiles.

Where is the parade?

The Samba Parade is held in the Sambodrome, a venue created specifically for this event, which holds up to 72,000 attendees.

When is the parade?

Preliminary Parades – Friday, 3/1 & Saturday, 3/2

The Main Parades – Sunday, 3/3 & Monday, 3/4

Champions’ Parade – Saturday, 3/9

Tickets to the Samba Parade

Ticket prices range from $60-$1,000 to attend the parade. Once you select the day you’d like to attend and ticket type, you can buy your ticket here.

Rio Carnival 2017
Photo by Patrick Bakker

How to get to the Samba Parade

Luckily, there are a few ways to get to the Sambodrome, where the Samba Parade is held. So choose the transportation that works best for you.

Sambodromo Roundtrip Shuttle Service

This service is the priciest, but also easiest, safest and most convenient option, as transportation brings you straight from your door to the entrance. This service is offered by a couple of booking agencies that offer package deals with carnival tickets and shuttle-only passes. Choose the best option for you here.


There are several taxi companies that provide a fixed rate for rides to and from the Sambodrome, right up to the appropriate entrance according to your sector number.


For those on a budget, taking the metro is a good option. Those going to even-numbered sectors will get off at “Praça Onze” station and those with odd-numbered sectors at “Central”. A perk of choosing this option is that the subway runs 24/7 during carnival.

Read More: Get lost in South America: Off-the-beaten-path South America travel locations

Rio Carnival 2017
Photo by Praia Ipanema Hotel


Blocos are street parties that are organized by local communities or the carnival association. Each Bloco consists of large crowds of carnival-goers walking behind a float with music. The best part is that the parties are completely free.

The best Blocos with the largest number of attendees are Cordao do Bola Preta and Banda de Ipanema but don’t worry if you miss these because the final four days of Carnival consists of several Blocos 24/7.

When & Where are the Blocos

Every year Blocos begin on the 11th of November through the 28th of February, the end of Carnival. Blocos take place throughout all parts of the city. Check the official schedule closer to the event to pick one closest to you.

Bloco Pro Tips

– Get creative with a mask, hat or some funny costume detail

– Gather at the pre-arranged meeting point

– Only buy drinks and food from street vendors with visible municipality-granted permits

– Stay away from the home-distilled liquor

– When one Bloco finishes, another one begins. Just follow the crowds to the next party!

– Every Bloco experience should be concluded on the beach with a Caipirinha in hand

Rio Carnival 2017
Photo by Carnaval Bahia

Where to Stay for Carnival

The best place to stay during Brazil Carnival is in Southern Rio. It is the most beautiful and safest part of the city with the best infrastructure. Plus, it makes getting to the carnival so much easier.

Rio de Janeiro Neighborhoods

For the best location on a bigger budget, search for housing options in: Copacabana, Ipanema , and Leblon.

For more economical options that are just a 15-20 minute subway ride from Copacabana and Ipanema, check out: Botafogo, Lapa, and Flamengo

Pro-tip: Keep in mind that the hardcore party animals tend to stay in Ipanema and Copacabana

Rio Carnival 2017
Photo by Mario Howat

What to bring to Carnival

– Light, casual clothes ideal for the hot weather

– Sunscreen and sunhat

– Lightweight poncho (umbrellas are discouraged because they obstruct the view)

– Comfortable pair of sneakers

– Costume or mask for festivities

– Bikinis and bbeachwear

– Food and snacks during the parades

– Water, water and more water

– Camera with a memory stick to back up your photos

Be sure to leave your expensive jewelry at home to avoid becoming a victim of a mugging, and keep in mind that there are certain things you can not bring into the Sambodrome.

Rio Carnival 2017
Photo by Patrick Bakker

Pro-tip: A steadfast Carnival rule is that peeing in the streets is not allowed under any circumstances. Save yourself the embarrassment and the hefty fine by using the designated restrooms.

Rio Carnival 2019 is the largest party in the world, and you’ll want to maximize your time. Make sure to follow this guide and pro-tips to ensure that your Carnival experience is tudo bem.

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