What would you rather be doing for New Year’s Eve? Chattering your teeth in the sub-zero climate of Times Square in New York City, or lounging on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro with a caipirinha cocktail in hand?
One of the most appealing aspects of New Year’s in Rio de Janeiro is that you can ring in the New Year in a warm, tropical climate. January is the summertime for Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro is known for its outrageous end-of-the-year celebrations.
Also called “Reveillon,” New Year’s in Rio de Janeiro is a spectacular affair, with nearly 2 million attendees crowding the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema each year.
Another draw to the New Year’s in Rio de Janeiro celebration is the elaborate fireworks show. While it last only 20 minutes, the pyrotechnics are incredible. Watch from the horseshoe-shaped beach of Copacabana, where barges set off fireworks in nearly all directions. The choreography is stunning.
You may want to wear white clothing, which is considered a lucky color that will bring you prosperity in the New Year. This is a tradition from the Afro-Brazilian Yoruba religion. During New Year’s Eve, you may see the people of Rio de Janeiro, called cariocas, celebrating the day of Yemanha, the African goddess of the sea, with ritual offerings of white lilies, candles, and trinkets on small floats drifting off to sea.
Throughout the evening, there are laser shows, music bands, and entertainment on stages located along Copacabana Beach. As the clock strikes midnight, toast to the Ano Novo with champagne, which you can purchase by the bottle from street vendors. Then after the fireworks show, the crowd slowly moves to the adjacent Ipanema Beach, where musicians play dance music deep into the night.
One of the other reasons New Year’s in Rio de Janeiro is so popular is that cariocas are the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. By the end of the evening, you are sure to make new friends with the locals. Join in dancing and drinking until the party is long over.
Be aware that many hotels in Rio de Janeiro require a minimum stay of 3 or more nights, and often hotels are booked well in advance during New Year’s. So make sure to arrange your New Year’s in Rio de Janeiro early.
While you’re visiting Rio de Janeiro for New Year’s, you can still take a tour of many of the city highlights, such as the Sugarloaf Mountain and Corcovado Mountain. These sites are open even on New Year’s Day. There are other great Rio de Janeiro tours, such as a Schooner Cruise of the Guanabara Bay, or a 4×4 Jeep Safari through the Tijuca Forest.