Want to travel to Brazil for Rio Carnival? Better get those travel plans together, because vacation packages to Rio Carnival are selling fast. Here are some tips for how to plan a last-minute vacation to Rio de Janeiro’s spectacular Carnival Parade.
Read Also: Insider’s Guide to Rio Carnival.
This March 5-8, locals and tourists alike will descend on Rio de Janeiro, the port town on Brazil’s beautiful coastline, to celebrate Carnival, the annual party that leads up to Lent, a traditional time of fasting. The city gets so packed that hotels have to be booked months in advance, and the sidewalks are nearly shoulder-to-shoulder.
Hotels in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival
Rio hotels gear up for Carnival by taking reservations with 3, 4, 5, or more nights as a minimum stay. So it’s nearly impossible to stay only one night in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. Many of the 3-star, 4-star, and 5-star hotels get booked up months in advance, but it is still possible to find Rio Carnival hotel deals last minute. Travel agencies know which hotels have availability, and can expedite the process for checking into availability and confirming bookings.
Not sure where you want to stay while in Rio? Chances are, you will most likely want to sleep within walking distance of the beach. Generally, beachfront hotels are 5-star hotels, the 4-star hotels are within short walking distance, and 3-star hotels are near the beach or are further inland. The two most famous beaches are Ipanema and Copacabana, and each beach is connected to its own distinctive neighborhood. Ipanema is known as the more posh, sophisticated, and urbanite neighborhood, whereas Copacabana keeps up a more party-friendly vibe. Note that most vacation packages to Rio Carnival will usually include a 4* or 5* Rio hotel with a required stay of at least 3 or 4 nights.
Seating in the Sambadromo
Stumped about how to navigate the Sambadrome? The Sambadrome, or Samba Stadium, is the giant stadium in Rio de Janeiro that is dedicated to hosting the annual Carnival contest between competing samba schools. The stadium stretches nearly 2280 feet, and has stadium seating on both sides. Samba schools, or groups of samba dancers and performers, parade through the stadium during Carnival week, showing off their dance moves, musical talent, and lots of skin.
Pricing for seats in the Sambadrome depend on several factors, including the sector of the stadium and the type of seat. Sectors run from 1-11, with Sector 1 being near the entrance of the stadium. Many travel agencies sell tickets to Sector 9 because tickets are sold in advance. The two types of seat include grandstand seats (the cheapest), and box seats (the most expensive). Grandstand seats are bleachers without specific seat numbers (except for Sector 9). If you are in the grandstands, you can move within your sector, so that you can take in the whole view from the top, and then move in closer for more detail.
If you can only make it to one Carnival event, make it the Parade of Champions, which is the culminating event, where the winning samba schools strut their stuff. But each day of the Carnival Parade is a guaranteed winner, as Rio Carnival is always a spectacular explosion of sounds, sights, and dancing.