Rio is a cosmopolitan city famed for the Statue of Christ the Redeemer, its fabulous stretches of beaches and Sugar Loaf Mountain. Known by the Brazilians as a 'cidade maravilhosa' - the marvellous city, its setting is stunning with a beautiful huge lagoon, flanked to the east by the Guanabara Bay, to the south by the Atlantic Ocean, and extending between enormous granite peaks and wide sandy beaches.
Rio Carnival is the most magical, whimsical, crazy event where the centrepiece is the nightly carnival parade that passes through the Sambodrome. The ultimate evening, is the Sunday following Ash Wednesday, is when the top six samba schools from the top division get to parade. Welcome to the World's greatest show and party.
And what a spectacle the carnival is! A highly organized riot of colour, dancing, singing, joy and noise that goes on all night long finishing as dawn beckons the start of a new day.
The carnival is a festival held at Lent every year and It all begins on the Friday before Shrove Tuesday when the Mayor of Rio hands over the keys to the City to King Momo, the lord of misrule and distruption, signifying the start of the five day party. Imagination runs riot, all social barriers are broken down and the main avenues are full of people and children, estimated at two million per day, wearing fancy dress. Large areas are turned over for shows, dancing and music whilst Bandas and Blocos (local organized carnival groups) can be seen everywhere dancing, drumming and singing.
- Experience the excitement and colour of the famous Rio Carnival
- Take a seat in the 90,000 seat Sambadrome to enjoy a night of entertainment and party spirit
- Be amazed by at the elaborate costumes and floats of the Samba Schools
- During your leisure time visit Christ the Redeemer and enjoy magnificent 360 degree views of the Rio Peninsular.
- Take some downtime on its famous beaches
- Extend your trip with a visit to the magnificent Iguazu Falls or Buzios Beach
Carnival dates for 2020 are February 21st - 26th, and for 2021 are February 12th - 17th.
Contact us to guide you and help plan your personal Rio Carnival and South America adventure. Enjoy the party of a lifetime with us!
‘At-a-Glance’ Illustrative Itinerary
DAY 1 - FLIGHT TO RIO de JANEIRO
Take an overnight flight to Rio from the UK arriving the following morning and you will be meet by a dedicated guide who will transfer you to your hotel of choice for 6 nights.
DAY 2 - Day at leisure
On arrival at the hotel the guide will assist in the check-in procedures and then offer to take you for an hours walk to introduce you to your surroundings. The walk is intended to help you recover from the long flight and also add your orientation. You will walk along the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon (depending on choice of hotel) and start to introduce you to the way of Rio life during carnival time.
The rest of the day is at leisure for you to rest or continue exploring.
DAY 3 - In depth tour of the city
You will start this full day tour by visiting the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain from where you can admire the magnificent 360 degree view of Rio de Janeiro. Far below you will see the beautiful bay, the lagoon, the famous Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon beaches and the massive granite peaks that dwarf the tall buildings.
Your day will then continue with a drive through the Tijuca Forest and past the Maracana Stadium and onto to the Sambodromo, to visit the museum to learn of the history of the carnival and can try on a costume or two! Before lunch continue to the Bohemian Santa Teresa district for majestic views of Rio.
After lunch, you can enjoy a leisurely walk (2-3hours) through the old historic city centre of Rio de Janeiro, where the Royal Family lived, visit the cathedral, the Imperial Palace, the Church of Sao Jose and cultural centre on Praca XV admiring the unique colonial architecture.
DAY 4 - Rio Carnival Parads at the Sambodrome
Today is the day of main event. As the event does not start until 21:00 (9:00pm) you will be able to spend the day at leisure enjoying some time on the beach or exploring the city for yourself.
In the evening you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the Rio de Janeiro 'Sambodrome' to take your seat alongside around 90,000 other spectators, in excitement and anticipation of seeing what Rio's best Samba schools have to offer. Each school parade will take between an hour and 80 minutes to complete their show along the central runway. During that time thousands of performers will pass by on huge amazing floats in intricate, colourful, ecentric costume designs, moving and dancing to the rhythm of drums and soundtrack of live samba.
The parade continues through the night and finishes when the dawn has cast long shadows over the city. You may choose to partythe whole night with the other hardy Cariocas, or you have the option to head back to your hotel, with transport available every hour from 23.00 onwards.
Wherever you choose to sit, just don't forget your camera!
DAY 5 - Day at Leisure
Today you have a day at leisure to relax, enjoy the city and pursue your own interests, though after a long night you may probably wish to relax on the beach and take things easy. If not there are tour options available for an afternoon tour of the historic palaces, private museums and art galleries or the theatre, all optional but tours that could enhance your trip and give you a greater insight on different aspects of Rio de Janeiro.
DAY 6 - Foz Do Iguazu
You will be collected from your hotel in time for the journey to Rio Galeao International Airport for your flight to Iguazu Falls
The magnificent Iguassu Waterfalls thunder over a wide curve of the Iguazu river positioned on the border between Brazil and Argentina. The spectacle of the Falls is one of South America's most extraordinary and incredible sights. For over a length of 2.5 kilometers thousands of gallons of water flow over a myriad of small and large cascades. It is best to experience the falls on both sides, to see the falls from different vantage points.
Today you will enjoy a guided excursion through the natural beauty and lush forest surroundings on the Brazilian side. A trail runs offering numerous vantage points to stop, admire the waterfalls and take pictures. One of the most exciting vantage points is that for Devil's Throat waterfall to view the deepest. It can get very wet and misty with the water spray!
In addition to the extensive network of walkways there are the Macuco boat trips on the river to watch the waterfalls from below, which get very wet. Alternatively you may wish to take a 15 minute helicopter ride over the whole area for a superb view of the river and the waterfalls.
DAY 7 - Foz de Iguazu
This morning you will cross over the border into Argentina to see the falls from another perspective, where you will have a closer view of the individual falls in their lush tropical setting, abundant in wildlife, especially butterflies.
You can walk right out to the roaring Devil's Throat waterfall along walkways that offer the most breathtaking views. This side of the falls is definitely well worth the visit. We highly recommend wearing good quality comfortable shoes to negotiate the wet pathways that can be very slippery.
DAY 8 - Departure day
Today you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the airport for your international flight home via Rio de Janeiro.
if you have the time we would highly recommend extending your time in Brazil to include a third stop. Please talk to us about your interests so we can identify the best options for you.