Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Dazzling, beautiful, exciting and sexy - this is Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Read more...

Held before Lent every year, Rio Carnival is world renowned for its bright colours, vibrant nightlife and an exhilarating atmosphere. Although celebrated in every Brazilian city, Rio de Janeiro's festival is the largest in the world with about two million people out on the street every day plus the biggest and flashiest samba parades performances.

The beauty of Rio from above

Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful city, surrounded by a mountainous landscape nestled along the coast. Boasting beautiful sandy beaches and some of the friendliest people, Cariocas (as locals are called), Rio also holds one of the seven modern wonders of the world - the Christ the Redeemer Statue. Built over nine years in the 1920s, the statue alone is thirty metres tall, plus an eight metre pedestal, with an arm span of twenty-eight metres and is located on the 700 metre peak of Corcovado Mountain overlooking the sparkling Rio de Janeiro.

Rio never sparkles quite as bright as it does during Carnival (Carnaval in Portguese), the biggest event of the year with the whole city celebrating for four days of unhinged revellry. Not for the faint-hearted, Carnival is frenetic, exciting and the experience of a lifetime.

Samba - music, dance, story and rhythm

Samba, the Brazilian dance with African influences, takes centrestage as the city searches to crown the best samba school.  Batucada style of samba is specific to Rio, with an emphasis on strong beats and percussion. In the week following Ash Wednesday, Samba schools represent neighbourhoods or regional areas and are divided into three divisions to compete. Division one are the best of the best and perform at the purpose-built Sambadrome in a ten hour show over the Sunday and Monday night. Outside, the street festivities go on, with divisions two and three, plus many local informal parades or blocos, from the Friday until the following Thursday.

Each samba school presents a mix of song, story, dress, dance and rhythm that spans for at least 85 minutes. The schools are judged on a number of criteria including the quality of the dance, the spontaneity of the choreography, the crowd response, the originality of the costumes, the  carros alegóricos (the floats) and the harmony between the dancers and the music, particularly the percussion. The show begins at 7pm at night and spans all the way until 9am the next morning, and tickets are hard to secure.

Rio Carnival Extravaganza

The best way to guarantee yourself a prime spot to watch all the action in comfort is to join our Rio Carnival Extravanganza tour. This tour gets you right amongst the rhythm and sweeps you into the excitement with coveted seats in the comfortable Section 9 of Sambadrome. This tour  spans three or four nights (at your discretion) and also allows you to take in the best of Rio, including the Christ Statue, the beautiful beaches and the festive atmosphere that you can't help but be swept up in.

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Carnival is from February 11 in 2018 - call us today to organise your adventure as you ignite all of your senses!