There is nothing that can discourage participation in one of the most colorful and exhilarating events in the world: The Rio de Janeiro Carnival. Young people are drawn to incredible crowds, gorgeous dancers, and rivers of booze, but Rio's party is so much more!
Picturesque costumes, overwhelming dances on fast-paced rhythms and imposing allegorical floats they make the atmosphere euphoric but at the same time allow a total immersion in the Brazilian tradition.
Here's everything you need to know about the party: the history and origins of samba schools, marching bands, parades and masked parades.
- When does the party start and how long does it last?
- Rio Carnival 2020: the program of the Parades
- Take part in the Rio Carnival: costs, tips and flight + hotel packages
- Rio carnival history
- Fun and transgression: a Carnival without veils
- User questions and comments
When does the party start and how long does it last?
The Rio 2020 Carnival starts on Friday 21 February and ends on Wednesday 26 February.
The Brazilian carnival takes place 40 days before Easter. As per tradition, it is the time of the year when people let off steam and satisfy themselves with the last "pleasures of the flesh" before the Lenten period.
The actual celebrations are concentrated between Saturday and Shrove Tuesday, but already in the weeks immediately preceding the party there is a rather carnival air throughout the city, with the Samba schools busy organizing the last details in view of the great parades.
Rio Carnival 2020: the program of the Parades
Following the program with the indicative times of the fashion shows.
- Friday February 21
13:00 Opening Ceremony: The King of Carnival (Momo) is crowned by the mayor and receives the keys to the city
21:00 Start of the parades of the groups at the Sambodromo
- Saturday February 22
09:30 - Street Band Cordão do Bola Preta (City Center)
16:00 - Banda de Ipanema, General Osório square, Ipanema
20:00 - Street Bands Competition in Av. Rio Branco, Centro
21:00 - Parade of the Samba schools of group A in the Sambodromo
23:00 pm - Baile Màgico at the Copacabana Palace Hotel
- Sunday February 23
21pm Parade of the Samba schools of the special group
- Monday 24 February
21pm Parade of the Samba schools of the special group
- Tuesday February 25
15:00 Banda de Ipanema (last carnival parade)
21:00 Parade of the Samba schools of children
23:00 Baile Gay at the Scala Rio
- Saturday February 29
22:00 - 4:00 prize giving and final celebrations
Take part in the Rio Carnival: costs, tips and flight + hotel packages
- Where stay
In the Lapa area the prices for accommodation are much lower than in Ipanema or Copacabana and you will still be close to the topical spots. The cheapest solution is definitely to choose a hostel.
b & b and hostels in Lapa (Rio de Janeiro) from € 45,00 per night -
- Where to celebrate
If you want to see the Carnival show, you have to go to the Sambodromo; with the right patience and a little luck you can buy a ticket from a scalper for only 15 reias (about € 3,50). If, on the other hand, you want to experience the euphoria firsthand, just wander the streets dragged by the crowd. Copacabana is the "wildest" neighborhood, while Ipanema is very popular with the LGBT community.
- How much
For the occasion, many travel agencies organize ad hoc packages with prices starting from € 2.000.
If you prefer to save a little by opting for a "do it yourself" solution, take a look at our special offers.
Flights, hotels and all-inclusive packages
- starting from € 719,00 -
- b & b and hostels in Lapa (Rio de Janeiro) from € 45,00 per night -
- Return flight + 6 nights / 7 days starting from € 1.653,00 -
Rio carnival history
The first news about the Rio Carnival celebrations dates back to 1723. It was immigrants from Madeira, Cape Verde and the Azorre Islands who introduced this tradition. People practiced jokes in a playful atmosphere, took to the streets with lime trees and buckets of water with the intent of making water balloons, and everyone was a potential victim.
Burghers, nobles and even political officials took part in the fun. Between the end of the 700th and the beginning of the 800th century the first cordões were born, groups of people who parade through the city to the rhythm of music; they were forerunners of modern gangs.
Samba Rio Show: the show of the dancers at the Sambodromo
Ma the greatest tradition is that of Samba, the characteristic Brazilian dance.
It all began at the end of the th century, in what was then known as "Pequena Africa". Women from the state of Bahia were the first to practice this dance. They professed the Candomblé religion, which had a great influence throughout the community.
Over a century later, at the end of the 20s, the first Escola de samba (samba school) was born, a term with which today the great cultural groups involved in the organization of carnival parades are identified.
Today the samba parades represent the culmination of the carnival. Dancers and musicians with their immense enthusiasm hold Rio hostage for two nights, involving tourists in whirlwind dances with a high erotic rate. To see the Rio Samba Show you have to go to the Sambódromo, the track where the traditional parades of the Samba Schools take place, the latter compete up to proclamation of an absolute winner.
Fun and transgression: a Carnival without veils
Don't worry if you're not a skilled dancer; just move your feet in time and keep a smile on your face to let yourself be carried away by Brazilian culture.
Fun and transgression are the two keywords for a really hot "unveiled" carnival. If Rio is one of the most transgressive cities in the world, the merit is also due to the carnival celebrations.
Young girls and poorly dressed boys go wild without inhibitions in a game of kisses, winks and close sensual dances, pouring into the streets of Copacabana until dawn.
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