Carnivál rivals Mardi Gras for the much-coveted top spot as the number one must-visit destination for party-worshipping BUCKiTDREAMERS. The technicolor, cacophonous, never-ending stream of parades and parties of Carnivál are held 40 days before Easter each year (usually at the end of February or the start of March).
Carnivál is the most important social event of the Brazilian calendar. The streets are filled with happy-go-lucky revelers, all dressed to impress and dancing their hearts out to the melodies pumped out by awesome live musicians.
Do you think you have what it takes to survive the biggest – and best – party to ever grace southern shores? If so, throw on your most decadent outfit and put this non-stop celebration into your BUCKiTDREAM planner. We hope you’re well rested BUCKiTDREAMER – you’re going to need all of your energy for this!
Arrive Early and Explore Before the Madness Descends Rio de Janeiro is so much more than just Carnivál, so make sure you after a few days – or a few weeks – before the festival to make the most of it. The reason for this is because most of Rio’s tourist attractions and best stores are firmly closed during the festivities so that everyone – employees included – can be a part of the fun. Not only will arriving a few days early give you a chance to tick some sights off the old Brazilian BUCKiTDREAM planner, but it will also give you time to acclimatize to your new surroundings.
As beautiful as Rio is, it can get really hot for a city, so for those BUCKiTDREAMERS among us who might not be used to this heat, you’ll need a day or two to get used to it before the party-goers descend.
Keep Things (Relatively) Cheap by Staying in the Che Lagarto Hostel Ipanema We’re not going to lie to you – stay in Rio during the Carnival can cost a pretty penny, regardless of where you choose to stay. Try to minimize costs – while maximizing on location – by staying at the Che Lagarto Hostel Ipanema. The hostel is situated at the heart of the Carnivál action, just one block away from the famous, beautiful Ipanema beach. As you’ll be visiting the city at the height of the summer, you’ll be glad to know that every room in this party lovers’ hostel is fully air-conditioned.
Address: R. Paul Redfern, 48 – Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22410-080, Brazil
Get the Best Vantage Point on Avenida Rio Branco in Centro Avenida Rio Branco in Centro is in the painfully cool downtown district of Rio de Janeiro, and it’s one of the very best places to check out the parade processions as they stream through the technicolor streets. Hit up the area in the late afternoon to catch the best bands perform, flanked on either side by rowdy – but pleasant – revelers out looking for a good time (and definitely finding it).
Sniff Out the Best Parties by Befriending the Locals Brazilians – like the Irish – are a wonderfully friendly bunch, so don’t be surprised if you wind up leaving Rio with about 50 new best friends. Strike up a conversation with a local in a bar, on the beach or even parade side to get their insights into where the best party will be that night. Even without chatting up a local, you won’t find it hard to seek out some amazing parties – they’re literally found at every street corner.
Though there are some festival organized parties, you’ll get a much more authentic Carnivál experience by sticking to grassroots shindigs. Explore the streets and try a few different parties. Don’t worry about not wanting to leave one particularly exciting blow-out; parties here will last all through the night and into the next morning so you won’t miss anything by sneaking off for an hour or two. Finish off your night with a mouth-watering X-Tudo burger from any of the food stands around the city.
Try to Snag a Ticket to a Glamorous Carnivál Ball Carnivál balls are the stuff of legend. These bright, colorful events are massive celebrations of Brazilian dance, music, and culture, and they shouldn’t be missed. Your average Rio ball costs in or around R$140, with some of the more luxurious ones demanding a higher price tag (like the infamous Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace Hotel). If you’re looking for some of that Rio glamour, without the extortionate price tag, head to the ever-popular Rio Scala nightclub on Avenia Afranio for one of their more wallet-friendly events.
Stay Hydrated at All Times Though most of us may not associate February with being the warmest month, this is the height of Brazil’s tropical summer SO you can expect the mercury to rise to over 90 degrees most days. For this reason, it is absolutely imperative you stay hydrated at all times. Convenience stores selling water and juice can be found all across the city to satiate your thirst. If you bring the party to the beach, you’ll find beachside vendors selling fresh coconut juice, straight from the coconut – just add a straw!
Now that you have the chance to catch your breath and regain your hearing after four non-stop days of heart-pumping excitement, don’t forget to fill your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feed with all your enviable #BUCKiTDREAM shots!