Carnival Season


Although carnival officially starts next saturday, March 1st,  in the last two weekends we are already breathing carnival atmosphere in Rio. This last weekend around 90 “blocos de carnaval” (carnival parades organized by some kind of associations) were in the streets for the pre-carnival parades.

For those who loves carnival and likes to play characters dressing funny costumes for the street carnival,  pre-carnival events is a nice way to warm up for the official carnival days that starts next saturday. But for those who doesn’t like carnival or just don’t want to join the street party, all those “blocos” can be a pain in the neck. You wanna know why? Because it becomes almost impossible to get around in the city by car, bus or taxi. Many main streets are closed to traffic to make all this party possible.

Anyway, I love carnival!! It is a great season not only for all that joke atmosphere but also because carnival music has always been in my life since I was a little kid. My father loved samba and carnival and I remember since very young in my childhood dressing costumes for carnival, going to carnival balls with my sister and parents, listening to the Samba’s Schools soundtracks to learn the lyrics of all the”sambas-enredos”(“sambas-enredo” are the songs performed by the Samba Schools during the Samba Schools Annual Parade).

But since my son was born, me and my husband prefer to stay quiet in Carnival. We usually spend carnival holidays in a relative’s apartment in Barra da Tijuca to stay away from all that street carnival mess in the streets of Rio’s south zone. We usually spend the carnival days going to the beach, and all the carnival we see are the children carnival balls that we go with our son and also the carnival parades that we watch on TV.

This year is not going to be different. We will take the opportunity to rest a little bit from all the craziness that we have been living lately. We are going to move to a new apartment  in the beginning of March and we’ve been very busy getting things arranged for the moving day. (That’s why I’ve been a little away from the blog lately)

But for those interested in jumping into Rio’s carnival, there are three different ways of enjoying carnival in Rio. 1- Going to the Samba Schools Parades in “Sambódromo”, 2-enjoying the street carnival following the many carnival parades and 3-attending carnival balls in clubs .

The cheaper and, in my opinion the one that offers most fun, is the street carnival, but the disadvantage is that most of the “blocos” parades are during the day, in the morning or in the early afternoon, and all that summer heat can be very unpleasant. You will also have a little concern with your belongings as pick pocketing is quite common in the “blocos”, specially the bigger ones that get very crowded.

Going to the carnival balls in clubs can be a good choice, but you have to choose the right one to go that fits your intentions, as there are different balls for different public. There are the traditional and family-friendly balls where you can go with your family and friends and others more restricted to adult public and oriented to specific publics (LGBT, singles, for example).

Watching the Samba Schools Parades in “sambodromo” can be quite a spectacle, but tickets for the best seats can be rather expensive and watching the parade all night long can be quite tiring. I have to confess that I had never watched the parade in “sambodromo” and I really don’t make plans to go for it.

So as you can see, there is a kind of carnival in Rio for every kind of people, you just have to choose the one that better suits you.

Have a great week!!!


  1. I remembered those times when we learnt the lyrics of the samba songs because daddy used to play them all Summer long.Carnival is definitely a fun time! Xoxo

    1. : ) Those were good times!! Now I don’t listen to sambas enredo anymore..those new sambas are not so good as the old ones! But carnival is really fun. I love to watch people dressing costumes in the streets!! Xoxo

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