19 Feb Carnival in Rio: how to enjoy this party?
Brazilian Carnival is recognized worldwide as one of the best and most beautiful festivals in the world and Rio’s Carnival is responsible for much of this reputation. It’s not a coincidence that Rio is one of the main destinations of this season both in Brazil and in the world. But, after all, what is so good about this famous Carnival?
Rio de Janeiro prepares itslef during the whole year for this great party and the whole city is vibrant when the festival comes. There is no lack of activities for those who want to enjoy Carnival in the Marvelous City and, to exemplify one of them, let’s start with the greatest symbol of Rio’s Carnival:
the Parades at Marquês of Sapucaí
Designed by the important Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and opened in 1984, the Sambódromo da Marquês de Sapucaí hosts annually the parades of the samba schools in Rio. It’s a huge festival that happens from Friday to Tuesday in the holidays of Carnival. There, the biggest samba schools compete with each other with the most beautiful costumes and carnival floats, each one with an especific theme that leads the school’s parade.
This grand popular festival involves hundreds and thousands of people, parading and watching the beautiful spectacle that takes place in the downtown area of Rio. It’s one of the best known and also most unforgettable experiences of Rio’s Carnival, so it’s unacceptable for one to come to Rio at Carnival and not watch this wonderful celebration!
Street carnival groups/Blocos de rua
Another major attraction of Carnival are the street carnival groups, in portuguese called blocos de rua. In the blocos, the popular party gets even more popular and takes over almost all the streets of the city with revelry, music, costumes and fun. From the most well-known and tourist districts to the most suburban ones, the whole city comes together in celebration!
In the street partys, both cariocas and tourists follow the electric trios to the sound of traditional marchinhas and other diverse musical rhythms. Commonly, people are all in character, with creative comic and often political costumes. For that reason, it’s not hard to find contests among the revelers for the best costume in the carnival groups.
The best known and, consequently, the most crowded street groups take place in the south and central areas of Rio de Janeiro. Among them are the Cordão do Boitatá, Céu na Terra, Amigos da Onça, Sargento Pimenta, Monobloco and many, many others!
Each carnival street group has its own vibe and style, some of which are more traditional, others more contemporary, transforming current hits into great carnival hits, or even some that transform the Beatles’ classics into samba and maracatu arrangements – such as Sergeant Pimenta. There are groups more focused on familie; others atract younger people; some count on the performance of famous artists, such as Anitta, Claudia Leitte, Alok and other Brazilian artists, while others cherish small bands formed by the revelers themselves.
There are street groups for all tastes!
Best of all, it’s all for free! Unlike the parades at Sambódromo, where one has to buy tickets to watch it, in the street blocks, all you have to do is go to the streets and enjoy it.
However, despite the great fun the carnival groups offer, it’s important to always be careful and cautious. Therefore, in order to enjoy the street blocks without any problems, always leave your cell phone at home and use an older one, do not go out with unnecessary money and credit cards, always use fanny packs or purses attached to the chest, reducing the chances of theft, and above all, drink plenty of water. The street groups reach thousands of people and the February heat is scorching. In addition, it’s common to drink a lot of alcohol in these parties, so it’s more than necessary to stay abundantly hydrated!
Lastly, the carnival block groups are one of the greatest expressions of Carnival in Brazil and they happen not only in the holidays. So, in case you arrived much after or long before the Carnival holidays, rest assured, as these blocos usually occur from the beginning of January until mid-March, guaranteeing plenty of time to enjoy the real party on the streets.
A great option for those who would like to experience a very traditional Carnival street block toasted by a splendid view are the blocks of Paquetá Island.
Located in the Guanabara Bay, Paquetá is a beautiful little island very worth a visit at any time of the year. With a beautiful landscape and an atmosfere almost stuck in time, the island of Paquetá is full of antique buildings and is marked by a strong presence of nature, which has always made the place a source of inspiration for poets, writers and romantics.
Despite the relative isolation, the island is not left out of the great excitement of the Carnival in Rio. Thus, street groups such as “Quem não guenta bebe água” and “Bloco dos Primos” are lovely alternatives for those who’d like to know the city of Rio more deeply and, more than that, immerse themselves in the more traditional popular culture present there.
Running away from the crowd
Finally, if you want to enjoy Rio at Carnival and not Carnival in Rio, one way to escape the crowd is to head to a more distant region as – or even more – paradisiacal as the other parts of Rio.
Grumari, Prainha, Pedra de Guaratiba and Praia do Secreto are beautiful options that don’t attract much attention during the Carnival period, what makes them alternatives for those who want peace, contact with nature and enjoyment of all the landscapes and possibilities that the Marvelous City has to offer.
Global Packing wishes everyone a happy holidays and a nice Carnival and, in case you fall in love with the Marvelous City, count on us for your move!