Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a wonderful festive occasion that is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime. Located in beautiful Brazil, this yearly celebration takes place before Lent each year, and is filled with dancing, music, food, and fun for the whole family.
Samba Parade and Samba Competition
The parade takes place at a location called the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí, which is located in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Every year, many different Samba schools take part in the parade, and show off their skills. Amazing and intricate costumes adorn the dancers, and the floats are truly a sight to be seen, as each of the schools competes to be the star of that year’s parade. In 2011, approximately 4.9 million people came to Carnival to take part in the fun. Why not join them?
I recommend timing your trip so you can see the performances of the Samba schools in the Sambadrome, where they compete for top honors in a competition with seven divisions. The Samba schools really outdo themselves year after year and they receive some pretty hefty funding from local businesses who stand behind the schools they sponsor.
Many different neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro have Blocos parades. (Blocos translates to ‘Block’ in English). During these parades, street carnival bands play music and revelers dance behind them. The Blocos begin in January, and continue to take place in the weeks up until Carnival, and some are even held on the Sunday after Carnival. The best Blocos are Banda de Ipanema, Cordão da Bola Preta and Suvaco do Cristo at the Botanical gardens.
Where to Stay While You Are in Rio de Janeiro
You will be glad to know that there are lodging options for all price ranges. Here are my recommendations for the best luxury, mid-range, and budget accommodations in Rio de Janeiro.
If you would prefer to stay at a 5 star luxury hotel in Rio de Janeiro, I recommend that you check out The Copacabana Palace. While there, you can choose between rooms with city views or beach views, or you can select a suite with a view of the pool and ocean, or a suite with a view of the city skyline. While you are at the Copacabana Palace, I recommend checking out the spa, which is regarded as one of the best spas in all of the Rio de Janeiro area.
The Windsor Martinique Hotel is a great mid-range option for lodging in Rio de Janeiro. This hotel is quite luxurious, despite the cheaper price point. All rooms are air conditioned, and have the usual amenities like cable TV, broadband internet, and in-room televisions. I recommend taking advantage of the electronic safes to safeguard your valuables while you are out at the Samba parade or taking part in other Carnival festivities.
If you are seeking a budget option, consider Augusto’s Rio Copa Hotel (Best Western). This is a hotel in the well-known Best Western chain. Best Western is known for offering affordable lodging in beautiful locations, and this hotel is no exception. If you choose this hotel, you can save your money for other fun things like eating local cuisine, and taking advantage of the nightlife that Rio de Janeiro has to offer.