15 Things To Know About Rio De Janeiro Carnival

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rio de janeiro carnival
Source: nateClicks

The Rio de Janeiro Carnival is one of the biggest events that most tourists usually want to experience when visiting Brazil. In this Carnival, you can enjoy various parades and parties. This usually happens 40 days before Easter Sunday and lasts for four days. The Carnival is also an important part of the culture of Brazil. Here are 15 things that you need to know about the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

1. The Sambadrome Marques de Sapucai

The Sambadrome Marques de Sapucia is an area where the competitive parades happen. This is located in the downtown Rio de Janeiro. There are permanent bleachers on each side which make the whole area look like a big grandstand. Oscar Niemeyer designed the place and was completed in 1984. Before the Rio de Janeiro Carnival starts, the bleachers are painted in grey color.


  • Total Capacity : 70,000 individuals
  • The Apotheosis Square is located at the end of the complex where concerts are held.
  • Phone Number : +55 212 976 7310
  • Address : R. Marques de Sapucai – Santo Cristo, Rio de Janeiro, 20220 – 007, Brazil
  • Website : www.sambadrome.com

2. Parade Participants

King Momo is considered to be the King of the Carnival. He will be the one to formally open the parades. Samba schools are typically the ones that participate in the parades during the Carnival. Each of these schools typically choose a certain theme. The Carnival designer or the Carnavalesco will be the one to design, produce, and direct such theme. There will also be floats and performers on the streets.

3. During the Parade


A parade takes place every day for four days, which is the duration of the Carnival. The participants, which are the samba schools will go in a specific order during the parade. During the parade, the performers will do their best to perform their pieces and compete with the other schools. The top twelve samba schools will usually start the parade on the first day of the Carnival.


  • Start Time : 9pm
  • Time it takes for schools to finish the route : 70 up to 80 minutes
  • Location : Samba halls (for non-First League schools) and Samba City (for First League schools)

4. Tickets

You will need to book a ticket in order to watch the official Samba competition that is usually held at the Sambodrome. The prices of the tickets may vary. Other than that, all other parties are free. You will not have to spend money on tickets for the parties. Instead, you will just need to have money for the drinks or foods that you will order while you are partying.


5. Rio Carnival Balls

Another popular attractions during the Carnival are the balls. This is where you can dance and fill your nights with music as well as see lots of colorful and beautiful Carnival costumes. Numerous places all over the city typically host these balls. The Copacabana Palace Hotel holds the annual Magic Ball which is famous due to a number of VIPs attending it. Such ball is very expensive.


  • Other balls : Gay Costume Ball, Red and Black Ball, and Ball of the Beer
  • Most famous ball : The Rio Scala Nightclub
  • Address : Avenida Treze de Maio 23, Centro, Rio de Janeiro

6. Street Bands

During the late afternoons, you will definitely to hear music from different street bands. More than a hundred street bands perform their pieces in the downtown area. The most popular street to go for street band music is the Avenida Rio Bronco. While these street bands play their music and even walk in procession, you will also notice many individuals who are drinking and dancing to the beat.

7. Blocos

You might hear the word or term “blocos” every now and then. Bloco or plural blocos is actually a term that refers to a group of individuals who are participating in the festivities. You may see them forming groups and dancing and partying with each other. You might even become a part of a bloco once you just join them while dancing or drinking.

8. Nudity is not allowed

It is part of the celebration for the individuals, most especially the participants, to wear costumes. As the years go by, the costumers are becoming smaller and skimpier. However, the big no-no in this festivities is being fully nude. Nudity is definitely not allowed in the Rio de Janeiro Carnival. The violators will incur penalties and will be penalized by the appropriate authorities.

9. Peeing in the streets is not allowed

Even if you can dance and eat and drink all you want on the streets, peeing on the corners of such streets is legally prohibited. If you do and a policeman catches you, you will have to pay a certain fine, which will definitely lessen the amount of pocket money that you can spend for the festivities. There are chemical toilets available or you can pay a few Brazilian reals to use a restaurant bathroom.

10. Happenings in Lapa

Rio de Janeiro is famous for its good number of neighborhoods. One of the most popular is Lapa. You will definitely find plenty of fun things to do in the Arcos de Lapa or also known as the Arches of Lapa. You will be hearing lots of Brazilian music during the festivities. You will also be able to get your hands on food and drinks, especially barbecues while you are in Lapa.


  • Start Time : 8pm
  • Attractions : Arcos de Lapa, Sala Cecília Meireles, and  Passeio Público
  • Major pathways : Mem de Sá, Rua do Riachuelo Street, and Lavradio

11. Samba Land

If you happen to be in the Praca Onze area of Rio de Janeiro, then, you will surely be able to experience an open-air celebration which is known as the Samba Land or Terreirao do Samba. In this place, there is a big stage where performers will play live music or even dance to the beat. Aside from that, there are also food stalls and drink stalls where you can purchase food and drinks.


  • Admission Fee : about 15 Brazilian real
  • Start Time : 7pm
  • End Time : around 6am the next morning

12. Currencies

You might think that it will be convenient for you to just bring your own national currency to Brazil. Actually, it is since most of the street vendors and the shops will accept such foreign currencies. However, these establishments will typically charge you more if you will pay them with other currencies other than Brazilian real. For this matter, you should always have your own currency exchanged before you decide to party.

13. Things To Bring

During the festivities, there are times when city tanks will direct water hoses to the crowds and spray water on them to minimize the heat. For that matter, you should make sure to wrap your phones or gadgets in plastic so that they will not get wet. However, do not bring those big ones as they can easily catch the eye of pickpockets in the place. You might also want to bring your own food and drinks to save money on purchases.

14. What Not To Bring

If possible, you should leave your umbrellas at home since it can spoil anyone’s view. Just in case it will rain or slightly drizzle during the festivities, you can bring a rain poncho. There are also street vendors who typically sell umbrellas and ponchos in case you need it. You should also not bring firecrackers, glass, or polystyrene during the Carnival or parades.

15. Safety

All in all, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival is safe for tourists. You just need to be extra careful when pulling out your phones to take a selfie or groufie. You also have to take note that you will most likely drunk individuals on the streets or other people will be stepping on your toes during the parades. These situations are actually common since you are in a festival, so just loosen up yet be cautious.

Rio de Janeiro Carnival is a big event. Many tourists from around the world participate in this one of a kind festivities. You should also not miss the chance to become a part of it.

Have a good trip and travel!