Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro


Although Carnaval is celebrated in towns and villages throughout Brazil and other Catholic countries, Rio de Janeiro has long been regarded as the Carnival Capital of the World. The Rio Carnaval is not only the biggest Carnival, it as also a benchmark against which every other carnival is compared and one of the most interesting artistic events on the Globe. Almost everyone has heard of the Rio Carnaval. Foreign visitors to it alone number around 500,000 every year.

Rio Carnaval is a wild 4 day celebration, 40 days before Easter. It officially starts on Saturday and finishes on Fat Tuesday with the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday after which one is supposed to abstain from all bodily pleasures. Carnaval with all its excesses, celebrated as a profane event, can be considered an act of farewell to the pleasures of the flesh. It usually happens in February, the hottest month in the Southern Hemisphere, when the Rio summer is at its peak.

There are carnival celebrations in virtually every corner of Brazil, the best-known ones taking place in Recife together with the neighboring Olinda (in the North of Brazil) and Salvador. But the biggest and most famous carnival is undoubtedly the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

Even those who have never seen it are in no doubt; the parade of the Samba Schools - the centerpiece of the Rio Carnival- is the greatest show on earth. Thousands of people performing a fantastic street opera, with themes, scenery, leading figures and personalities, music, orchestra, soloists, choruses and costumes. So many costumes. Fancy dress taken to the limit.

From Saturday to Tuesday, open-air dances take place throughout the city. The emphasis is on joy and spontaneity. part from organized street dances, people also simply gather outside little corner bars, booze away and have fun in the street.

Package prices vary. Please contact our office for more details. We recommend booking this tour 2 to 3 months in advance. Prices available upon request. Carnaval's tour packages are non refundable. We also provide tickets to the parade with round trip transfers from most hotels in Rio.

[ Back ]