Rio Carnaval

No words…just go, go go! Take your children with. Best time of the year to visit Rio is during Carnaval time, then police are visible, weather is great and crime is under control. Loads of locals told us to be aware, so go where the tourist flood Rio and you’ll be safe. 

Easiest way and cheapest with two kids is by Metro. Make sure you have enough money loaded at least 3 days before the street parade starts. People will start to queue to load money a day prior to the Carnaval. 

Bookings: at least 2 months in advance. We paid 80$US per ticket where people we met last night paid 200$US. Last minute bookings will be pricey. 

Sector 8 has the best view. You see the acting performances from the front and this is also just prior to the exit of the marching band and vocals. From here onwards things can get in a hurry, as time runs out as each parade needs to be completed in under 82 minutes. 

We left for the Sambadrome at about 16:00, when we arrived the gates were not open and we were in the queue for another hour or so. Use this time to chat to people and get to know the locals…and most of all something about the Carnaval. 

Pick a spot on the pavilion, right behind the rails, or even better go and stand right in front all the time, but have  a seat near the steps for easy access and also easy and quick to grab a bottle of aqua and rest your feet!

No need to pack drinks, aqua, beer or junk food. If you like something to chew on, yes. They only have burgers and other fast foods inside. You will pay more. Fast food stall cheaper than vendors. Vendors, ice cold and really refreshing!

Know your Carnaval rules, this adds to the tension, as you start to watch the clock, closely watch the main dancers’ performance and also read up on the stories presented…all in Portuguese, but who cares, when in Rome… 

Have your camera ready, expect something spectacular, but do not be surprised if you are knocked off your feet with awe…

Most important: Samba. You will have to learn if you can’t. It is required for blood circulation, waking up as well as blending in. The most terrible thing you can imaginably do is to book a seat in Sector 9. It is for 106+ year olds, groups of foreigners who arrive late and go home early. All sit and no Samba makes this sector a dull space. If you are offered tickets in Sector 9….RUN! Sector 8 is crowded, with locals, life and loads of energy! Great spot to be. 

Don’t try and go for great photo’s…the Carnaval is down there, the vibe up here. Just Samba. Your shots will include selfie sticks, local TV, drones as well as loads of people. Just join in the fun. Take a selfie. There is something in the lineup for everyone. 

Last word of advice: Dress-up and go! 

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