Rio and Other Brazil Carnivals


2016 Free Carnival Guide
2016 Rio Carnival Sambodromo Tickets
2016 Rio Carnival Balls Tickets
2016 Rio Carnival Accommodations

Carnival is Brazil's Most Popular Festival for a Reason.
Rio Carnival is the Mother of All Brazil Carnival Parties.

Carnaval in Brazil is an all around unforgettable experience, celebrated all over the country, but it's no surprise that Rio de Janeiro Carnival is the funniest and the most spectacular. Recife/Olinda and Salvador have their own unique carnival celebrations.

When is Carnival in Brazil?

Carnival falls on a different date every year, about 40 days before Easter. From Friday to Ash Wednesday - March 04th - Fevareiro 16th in 2017 - Brazilians close their offices and shops, and throw themselves into the world's most famous manifestation of freedom and happiness, day and night, on and off the hot crowded beaches, at the peak of summer.

Experience Rio Carnival Festivities at Rio Samba Parades

Rio Carnival

Probably the biggest and the best in the world, Carnival is virtually synonymous with Rio de Janeiro. One cannot think of Carnival without thinking of the Cidade Maravilhosa, the city's nickname that translate to "marvelous city".

Recently voted the happiest city in the world, by a survey conducted by Forbes Magazine (September 2009), it's by Carnaval time that Rio de Janeiro reaches its splendor, attracting thousands of people from all over the world.

Rio Carnival Festival – An Overview

The beautiful land of Brazil plays host to the most celebrated event on the planet, the Rio Carnival, a weeklong celebration leading up to Lent in the Christian calendar. Known as the Greatest Show on Earth, thousands of visitors from all over the world flock to Rio to experience sensational parades with the mesmerizing beats of the samba drums, and most importantly, costumed samba dancers in attire ranging from the intricately designed to the outrageous. While carnival parties are held throughout the city, the main action takes place at the Sambadrome where twelve Samba schools strut their stuff at the Samba Parade. Each school consists of samba dancers and musicians that proudly show off their talent after a year's hard work of creating a theme, a samba song, and plenty of handmade costumes.

Rio Samba Schools

At the very heart of a samba school is its people from all lifestyles that represent a neighborhood in Rio. Every member works hard to create costumes for the sensuous samba dancers and build amazingly technical and colorful floats in the quest for the top spot at the Samba Parade. These schools are what make the parade so special. It isn't hard to feel the spirit of camaraderie and experience the depth and vibrancy of Brazilian culture expressed through music and dance at the Rio Carnival.

The samba schools spend almost a year choreographing and composing their samba song while some dedicate themselves to producing the most dazzling costumes to attract the judges' attention at the Sambadrome.

The Sambadrome is an avenue with concrete structures on each side that seat thousands of visitors on all days of the Samba Parade. Each sector has specific types of seating arrangements where the most expensive are the 'camarotes' or private boxes to the grandstands with open seating arrangements.

The Carnival Balls

Apart from the Sambadrome, the party spills over onto every street in Rio, known to host some of the most glamorous Carnival balls held at various well known venues. One of the biggest extravaganzas is the Magic Ball at the Copacabana Beach Hotel with local and international celebrities joining in the celebrations. Scala, Rio's most famous night club hosts the Red and Black Ball, and the Gay Ball, one of the most sought after events during Carnival week. Many parades and street parties are hosted by the locals where everyone is free to join.

The Carnival Balls

Experience Rio Carnival Festivities at Rio Samba Parades

Earlier, the streets of Rio played host to the Rio Carnival until the Sambadrome, designed by the famous Carioca architect Oscar Niemeyer, came into existence in 1984 due to the increase in the number of participants. The Sambadrome is a well designed stadium that can accommodate 90,000 spectators and over 30,000 participants displaying their talents down the runway. It consists of several independent structures, known as sectors, on both sides of Marquês de Sapucaí Avenue.

The Sambadrome reverberates to the sounds of the samba drums and chanting from thousands of spectators that flock to the stadium to join in the Samba Parade. Spread over 5 days leading up to Lent in the Christian Calendar, the Rio Carnival portrays Brazilian culture at its best. All eyes are on the twelve samba schools that put up an incredible show complete with dazzling and sensuous costumes, music that captivates the soul, and incredible props and floats. Samba Parades are held on four days where the top performances are by six samba schools on Sunday and the other six on Monday, each vying for the coveted champion's title.

The Samba Parade at the Sambadrome is a well orchestrated event, with contributions from thousands of people that ensure the event is a resounding success every year. A panel of around 40 judges seated at strategic points along the parade route keeps a keen eye on each school's performance, giving points for percussion, costumes, floats, samba song, flag bearer, theme of the year, and more. As the parade moves down the strip, the crowds go wild in the stands, singing and dancing in unison with the participants. The electrifying atmosphere is contagious where the entire stadium is transformed into one big giant party. The winner is announced on Ash Wednesday, the day after the Carnival.

See the Sambodromo transformation from June 2011 to Feb 2012.

Rio Carnival Costumes

Undoubtedly, what captures the eyes of millions of viewers from around the world are the dazzling and glittering costumes painstakingly designed by members of the samba schools. From the incredibly sexy to the flamboyant and outlandish, each costume has a story to tell. The creativity of the talented designers is boundless when it comes to the Rio Carnival. Most importantly, everyone is invited to join in the Carnival celebrations in a costume. While costumes can be ordered along with tickets to the Sambadrome, those wishing to join in the street parties ought to consider wearing a costume to experience the true spirit of the Carnival. An official costume competition is held at Hotel Gloria every year, which is the best place to view some of the most creative costumes at the Carnival.

Samba Schools – The heart of the Rio Carnival

The Rio Carnival wouldn't exist without the contribution of samba schools formed by groups of people from various communities in the city. Men, women, and children from each neighborhood come together irrespective of their social status to design and construct everything required for the Samba Parade, including composition of their individual samba theme song. Each school has its own set of dancers, musicians, and a team of choreographers who along with the costume designers and float builders create a unique performance for the Samba Parade. While the competitive spirit of each school remains strong, it does not lessen the camaraderie as each school vies for the championship title at the Sambadrome. Their enthusiasm at the Carnival is unmatched and rarely experienced at any other event on the planet.

Carnival Tickets Sell Out Soon

Carnival Tickets Sell Out Soon

Rio Carnival tickets are always in great demand since many people desire to experience the magic of the extravaganza in its entirety. While everyone in Rio wants to be a part of the celebrations, people from all over the world are equally anxious about reserving a seat at the Sambadrome. With only 90,000 seats available at the stadium, you need to book your Brazil Carnival tickets well in advance. The price for tickets varies according to the type of seating and the schools parading on a particular night. Tickets in the grandstand sectors are cheaper than the other seating options. In addition to the Samba Parade at the Sambadrome, tickets are also available for the equally glamorous Brazil Carnival balls like the Magic Ball at the Copacabana Beach Hotel, and the other popular events including the Gay Ball at Scala, the most famous nightclub in Leblon. Tickets to some balls are hard to get while others are readily available on the day of the event. Samba schools invite you to join in the parade at the Sambadrome by purcahing a Rio ticket along with a costume for the event. You will need to wear the costume of the samba school that sponsor's you.

Rio's Glamorous Carnival Balls

The partying never stops during the Rio Carnival. The festivities continue for four nights, with each night presenting a different experience as several Brazil-style carnival balls are held throughout the city. The affluent compete for a prime spot at the prestigious and glamorous Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace, one of the most expensive balls held during the Brazil Carnival. The Scala, a nightclub at Leblon in downtown Rio hosts a number of balls culminating with the Gay Costume Ball, the most popular event during the festivities outside the Sambadrome.

Street Parties During Rio Carnival– The Life of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Revelers are always welcome to join the street parties that take place at every corner in the city. No matter where you go you will find hundreds of people with their hips gyrating to the mesmerizing beats of the samba. Most street parties begin at a street corner or a bar and march through the city, gathering a frenzied group of revelers along the way. At the center of every street party are bands that lead the parades. Among the most popular street parties is the Banda de Ipanema, which attracts a large gay crowd. The Simpatia é Quase Amor street party is more of a family oriented event ideal for the kids to join in. These bands compose their own samba songs with the samba drummers providing the foot stomping beats to keep the thousands of revelers dancing to their rhythms.

Street parties begin as early as January and continue until the end of the Brazil Carnival. Leblon, the upscale area of Rio is known for its beaches and vibrant nightlife where Carnival parties are never in short supply. One of the most scintillating street parties is the "Estica do Flamengo" at Flamengo, one of Rio's popular neighborhoods. To literally soak in the revelry you can follow the Barbas block party where a water truck sprays the crowd as the party heats up through the night. Lapa has an incredible amount of youngsters that host street parties. The neighborhood is also the best place to sample traditional Brazilian cuisine and other mouthwatering delicacies.

Experience the Sights and Sounds of Rio on a Tour to Sugar Loaf or Christ the Redeemer

Experience the Sights and Sounds of Rio on a Tour to Sugar Loaf or Christ the Redeemer

The magnificent city of Rio de Janeiro has plenty to offer the discerning traveler. From the imposing Christ the Redeemer Statute to Sugar Loaf Mountain and pristine beaches, Rio has many places worth visiting. A tour of the city will allow you to soak in the sights and sounds of Brazil and carioca culture at its best.

Rio Carnival – A Treat for Everyone

The Rio Carnival is not about exposing plenty of flesh and adult partying. The festivities include activities suited for families, couples, group travelers, and members of alternative lifestyles. The Children's Parade at the Sambadrome is one of the events where the future samba professionals display their own talents. Children are always welcome at street parties with plenty of fun and excitement for them. Gay and lesbians have plenty to cheer about when it comes to the Rio Carnival. Apart from joining in the revelry on the streets, the Gay Costume Ball at the Scala is one of the most prestigious events during the Rio Carnival celebrations. Wherever you go, the vibrant colors, the sensuous samba dancers, and the spinning rhythms of the samba drummers are what make the Rio Carnival what it is today.

Exciting tailor-made Rio Carnival packages

The Carnival in Brazil attracts a large number of tourists with hotels and resorts offering excellent deals and a host of packages including carnival tickets. We offer you the best possible service with experts always willing to suggest the best tour package to suit your needs. For enquiries and bookings, our customer service agents are available around the clock to help make your trip to the Rio Carnival the most memorable one. Contact our Carnival Help desk and have your package customized. It's FREE.

Thinking of joining the world's biggest party?
Start planning early, as lodging, airfare and best-priced tickets to the 9-hour world famed samba parade fade out well before the event, which starts on Friday February 8 this coming year. Not sure what ticktes to get?

Contact our Carnival Help desk and get some useful advice on your Rio Carnival Tickets purchase. It's FREE.

Even though much of Carnival de Rio focus is on the colorful famous parades at the Sambodromo, most of the city is contaminated by the carnival stravaganzza There's quite a lot going on everywhere around Rio: the spectacular crowded beaches, street parties whenever a band can strike up a samba, the hedonistic Scala balls, the luxurious Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace and much more. Rio Carnaval's schedule will delight the party lovers.

Curiosity: How to say "Carnival" in other languages

Arabic حفل كبير كرنفالرنفال
Catalan Carnestoltes
Dutch Karneval
French Carnaval
German Karneval
Greek Καρναβάλι
Hebrew קַרנָבָל
Hindi आनंदोत्सव
Italian Carnevale
Japanese 謝肉祭
Korean 사육제सव
Polish Karnawał
Portuguese Carnaval
Spanish Carnaval
Turkish karnaval
Russian карнавал


Be an expert on rio carnival. plan your 2017 carnival experience with our summarized schedule.


Read More about Carnival

When is Carnival in Brazil?

When is Carnival The extravaganza kicks off on Saturday February 14, 2017 and culminates on Fat Tuesday February 16, 2014, a day before the beginning of the Christian season of Lent, Ash Wednesday.  The 40-day period of Lent is a period of abstinence from bodily pleasures that is observed by Christians around the world. Witnessing the celebrations is a unique experience, the memories of which will last a lifetime. The Rio Carnival in its essence showcases the depth and vibrancy of Brazilian culture that is deep-rooted in music and dance.

What’s the Weather like during Carnival in Brazil?

Each year the Rio Carnival is held between mid-February to early March to coincide with the beginning of Lent. So if you are fortunate enough to be in the city around that time, there is no way you can give the event a skip. While Rio experiences the hottest weather at this time, things get even hotter at the Carnival.

Is Carnival only celebrated in Rio de Janeiro?

Apart from Rio, the other well known places to witness the parade is Recife, Olinda in Northeastern Brazil and Salvador, Bahia. The most euphoric event is undoubtedly the Rio Carnival, which is the epitome of Brazilian culture. It takes months of preparation to make the Carnival a grand success, which is why everyone eagerly awaits the start of the Carnival each year. And, of course, on each day of the Carnival, there are plenty of parties that carry on all night and all day long after the Carnival.

The True Spirit of Carnival in Brazil : la Camaraderie

Brazil is a liberal country and the Rio Carnival is not only about sensuous women doing the Samba. The Carnival is open to gays and drag queens who are as involved in the party as anyone else in the city. Being a tolerant country, crossing social boundaries is commonplace especially at the time of the Carnival.

Male for Female, Rich for Poor. Anything Goes during Carnival.

The best thing about the Carnival in Brazil is the organizing of the event which is truly independent of any sponsors or authorities. Everyone is welcome to participate, which symbolizes the warm spirit of the Brazilians. Moreover, the amalgamation of every class of Brazilian society is what is truly commendable. Male and female swap genders for carnival costuming, the poor dress like the rich, the rich dress like the poor, the Carnival is you ought to expect and accept anything as well.

Carnival, Carnevale or Karneval?
It doesn't matter how you say it. Rio Carnival is considered the biggest and the best. By the way, it's Carnaval in Portuguese.

Rio Costumes
Carnival 2018