Are you ready to attend perhaps the most outrageous party of a lifetime? If so, you must be planning a trip to Rio Carnival 2014…or thinking about it. The only reason that it might not be THE “party of a lifetime” is because it happens annually. Even so, the southern hemisphere knows how to do it up right and it is an event to remember!
I have heard it described as “outrageous”, “crazy”, and “contagious”…but, all in a good way, of course. There are amazing parades, dancing everywhere, art, theater, and thousands of people in ornate costumes all celebrating with diverse ethnicity for 4-5 days each year starting the end of February. In 2014, it runs from February 28 through March 5. So, mark it on your calendar.
What You can Expect at Carnival
Let’s start with a little history. Rio de Janeiro hosted their first Carnival in the 1880’s to celebrate the Lent season, which is the 40 day period leading up to Easter. In more modern times…and through today, Carnival takes over many parts of the city and the surrounding area with people flooding the streets with nearly 2 million people over the course of 4 days.
At the heart of this celebration is dance…especially the Samba. This type of dance stems from Afro-Brazilian influence. During the Carnival, native Brazilians gladly show the world their best samba steps, brilliant costumes, and musical gifts.
However, with the Samba dance, Brazil has taken Carnival to the next level when it comes to dance and partying. The best of the best from Rio’s samba schools not only participate in the parades, but also compete during the festival. Practicing for months before anyone ever arrives, they put on a fantastic show of talent and beauty during the main parade in the Sambadrome.
You will also want to check out the many balls going on during Carnival, where the crowds don beautiful costumes and dance until dawn…and then some. While you have a few to choose from, the most popular and glamorous ball is held at the Copacabana Palace, which is a 5-star plush hotel.
While the balls might put a dent in your travel budget, there are many free opportunities to take in the Brazilian party atmosphere with hundreds of street parties and bands. It will be very difficult to miss them, actually. They are found in parks, street corners, or parading down the streets looking for more people to join in. However, if you want the biggest and the best, look to Cinelandia Square.
5 Important tips to Better Enjoy Brazil’s Carnival
Here are some quick tips to consider for your trip to Rio and while you attend all the festivities:
- Plan Ahead –
Due to the popularity of the festivities, do not procrastinate! Plan ahead, so you will be able to stay where you want and attend what you hope to see. It would be disappointing to go there and hope to get in on the most popular activities and not be able to get in.
- Travel Light and Bare –
NO, not literally naked. Dress in a manner that you will be comfortable for hours. Unless you are participating in the parades, the dress code is quite casual.
- Keep an Eye Open –
Crime exists everywhere, even amongst the fun and lighthearted days of Carnival. With the enormous amount of people surrounding you, take precautions in protecting your valuables. Don’t walk around with all your cash, and lock it up back at the hotel. Keep purses and cameras carefully tucked out of harm’s way. It’s not just a matter of theft, but also getting bumped.
- Indulge in the Edibles –
Latin America is the originator of some of the most wonderful culinary dishes and treats in the world. Take advantage of being in the area to sample authentic foods that will please the most critical palate.
- Party like there IS a Tomorrow –
Rio’s Carnival is one of the most popular and famous parties in the world, with people planning it for months ahead of time. Soak up every minute of it, but keep yourself safe, as well as well-rested, fed, and hydrated. While enjoying the spirits of the land, don’t go overboard. After all, you want to remember the biggest and best party you have ever attended, right?
You can find more tips online that will be directed more to your specific and individual trip. Good information is abundant on the Rio Carnival…and ask others who have already attended. You can’t replace the valuable information you can get from someone who has actually been there, right?
The best thing you can do for your Rio Carnival trip is to research and plan. I don’t think I can emphasize that enough…but don’t just take one person or website’s word on it. Some websites might have a motive for pushing one particular event or hotel.
Working from home, Mark Harris is a successful freelance writer who often is inspired for topics through sites that he visits on the Internet. For example, while reading through http://www.celebratebrazil.com the information he read compelled him to write a series on Brazil. When Mark is not writing or surfing the web, he can be found outdoors where he enjoys kayaking, hiking, and walking the beaches in his area. He resides in White Rock, BC with his wife.