Rio Carnival – Biggest Carnival in the World, 2 Million People, Mix of History, Pagan Ritual, Tribal Beats, Indigenous Dress, a Pre-Lenten Celebration & More!
When it comes to Carnival, Brazil goes all out- Rio Carnival is one of the best and biggest festivals around the world one can find!
Welcome to Rio!
Grab your mask and your best costume, it’s carnival time. Each year, Rio Carnival features men and women dressed in beautiful, glittering costumes with feathered masks and baring a lot of skin! Rio Carnival is all about showing off and having an amazing time, so come ready for a good time!
The great thing about attending Rio Carnival is that you’re very much a part of a culture and tradition that is not showcased and celebrated to the extent it is in Brazil, anywhere else. Rio Carnival is literally the biggest carnival in ANY part of the world.
History of Rio Carnival
Rio Carnival began as a religious holiday. Tradition has it that before the Christian and Catholic holiday of Lent, people partake in the last of their pleasures before they must fast. Fast forward a few several hundred years and Rio Carnival has taken a rather unholy turn for the carnal, more hedonistic pleasures of life.
Rio Carnival still serves as an experience people all over the world share before Easter, and before lent. This festival allows its attendees to let loose. The masks serve to transform the appearance as well as the identity of its wearer. These costumes and masks allow everyone to have wild fun and not fear the consequences if people were to identify them.
One of the most unique things about Rio Carnival is that it is an incredible mix of different cultures. From African drum beats, the sensual dances of Samba and the beautiful costumes and giant floats, this celebration is really a picture of cross-cultural perfection.
The Masquerades and Events at Rio Carnival
With ten full days of non stop partying, events, and costumed fun, Rio Carnival will no doubt be one of the best times of your life. Many festival goers take the Carnival quite seriously, so only go to the balls that you know you will give your all to.
The first event that you should attend is the opening held at St. Mark’s Square. Harkening back to the origins of this festival, the opening event features acrobats, dancers, and Vivaldi in “The Flight of the Angel”. If you don’t have the money to attend multiple balls, check out the Gran Teatro for more than 12 hours of theatre a day as many people swear by theatre and drama shows when it comes to Rio Carnival.
On Tuesday, there is an iconic candlelight water parade that almost everyone attends. Festival goers mount gondolas and boats to take to the water and illuminate the night.Later that night, Fat Tuesday is celebrated as locals and attendees alike partake in a long night of parties, dancing, and drinking. The last event and finale of Rio Carnival ends with a huge celebration and firworks show.
Festival Pricing and Costs
Rio Carnival is free to watch if you just want to see the parade.That being said, the festival is can get incredibly expensive fairly quickly. Each year Carnival promotes opulent and elegant parties even more, sometimes charging over 2000 euros per event.
However, the average ball at Rio Carnival does run about 300 euros. Pick and choose wisely which balls you would like to attend so you don’t end up breaking the bank. In addition to costumes and tickets, you will mostly be spending a lot of money on airfare, accommodations, dining, and travel as you make your way through Rio.
Dressing for Carnival
The best carnival celebration does indeed take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio Carnival goes all out for its annual celebration, and you should too. The first step is to take a look at photos of past carnivals to get a feel for what everyone else will be wearing.
Feel free to go all out when dressing for Rio Carnival. Wear costumes in honor of the festival, the parades, and the rich Venetian culture everyone is celebrating. Whether you decide to try for a more traditional look or not, use your creativity! Many people will be dressed to the nines, and will put great care into their outfits. You should do the same.
Keep in mind as you trek to and through Rio, you need to have a variety of outfits. It’s a good idea to bring different costumes for different parts of the day. When it comes to shoes, you will want to be comfortable as you will be doing a lot of walking. However, if they are visible under your costume, take care to make sure they are presentable and that they go with your outfit. Bring outfits that aren’t costumes as well, in case you want to go out later in the evenings.
First Timers at the Rio Carnival
So it’s your first visit to Brazil for the timelessly classic Rio Carnival? You’re in store for a great time learning about art, history and Venetian traditions.
Before arriving into South America, you’re going to want to prepare a little for your trip. Have the areas you want to visit already planned out so you can have a general schedule to follow throughout your trip. A lot of people like to participate in the parade and dress up in their own costumes. If you would like to, do a little research and find or develop an outfit to wear.
When you arrive in Rio, give yourself some time to rest before heading out for Rio Carnival festivities! When heading out on the town, try to find a group to stay with in case you get lost or just want to make some new friends.
Getting to the Rio Carnival
Depending on where you’re coming from, there are several places to find cheaper flights to Rio. As soon as you decide that you’d like to head to Rio to celebrate carnival, grab your plane tickets as early as possible!
Grabbing a flight into Rio de Janeiro isn’t really that difficult. Next, when booking accommodations in the city, check out local hotels, boats, and houses that are up for rent. Whatever you do, book in advance! If you’re staying all ten days, you’ll find it easiest to grab a nearby hotel. Staying at a place that is in walking distance of all the main celebrations is a great idea.
You’ll be traveling through the festivities on foot a lot, so if you are staying in the middle of it all, you’ll be in the best position for traveling. Search online for the cheapest rates and try to find rooms that have traditional architecture so you can learn even more during your stay.
If you plan to stay at Carnevale di Venezia for just one or a few days, maybe consider booking a hotel in on of the major areas near Venice so you can prepare to see other areas in the surrounding cities before you have to leave the country.
Tips for Carnival
When you’re heading to Rio Carnival be prepared. If you don’t buy your tickets and book your hotels soon enough, you will end up spending A LOT of money. Additionally, you will want to be sure that your passport is renewed several months in advance as the process is time consuming.
Stay a few extra days to get the full Brazil experience. After the festival, head into Rio for some of Brazil’s best sites and sounds. Take a trip into the Sugarloaf Mountain Range for a meditative climb and calming experience. Visit the Copacabana beaches of Rio for an iconic look into the mesmerizing city. Ipanema is another beach that is not to be missed as you will be kicking yourself if you leave he country without stopping by. If you haven’t had your fill of rain forests yet, be sure to visit the Tijuaca Forest for waterfalls, hiking and much more.
Along with preparing your documents for travel you’ll need your money changed. Try to convert some of your currency beforehand o you will be prepared incase you need it. The most important thing you can bring along with you is an open mind that is ready for new experiences!
Places to Visit While You’re at the Carnival
While you’re visiting Rio de Janeiro, do take time to see the rest of Brazil. Try to book at least an extra weekend to have a chance to take all the sites in. Rio is incredibly beautiful for tourists, however you should do your best to get a trip out to see the rainforests with a guided tour.
In addition to touring the city, be sure to eat at all the best restaurants in town. Take a tour of all the delectable food and traditional dishes that Brazil has to offer as it is world famous for its amazing food.
So whether you have been to Brazil before or not, Rio Carnival is a festival you’re going to want to check out soon!
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