Carnival :: Rio de Janeiro
Carnival, Rio de Janeiro's annual celebration of pageantry (and party!) is fast approaching, with tickets for some sections already sold-out. Act fast, however, and you could still have the chance to plan a fabulous trip- and especially appealing idea to our northern readers likely in the middle of a storm!
The energy in Rio this year will be incredible; with the announcement of the Olympics coming in 2016, the city is well on its way to regaining the vibrancy it was once known for.
There's so much to do in Rio, and since most people usually stay for only the few days of Carnival, it means packing in a lot in a short amount of time. To make the most of your vacation, start here, where you'll find background information for the first time visitor, along with great tips and a page to buy tickets.
A parade like no other
The main event - the huge parade - takes place in the Sambadrome, a giant structure that was actually built to accommodate Carnival. It’s located just off the Metro, and easy to access. The parade, which lasts many hours, features different teams that dance and sing in beautiful, intricate costumes. Brazilians take the parade very seriously, and practice all year long to prepare for the main event of Carnival.
But where to stay, and what to do? Rio has many beautiful areas for tourists to visit- if you can, stay a few days beyond Carnival. While Copacabana has its appeal, Ipanema is more upscale, with much more of a nightlife scene. Farme de Amoedo, a street in Ipanema, is known by the locals for having a large LGBTQ community. Additionally, the beach area off of this street (pictured below) is also a popular LGBT hangout.
The spirit of Rio
Farme de Amoedo has many tasteful, delicious restaurants to sample, everything from adorable bakeries to decadent sushi. Of course, if you make it to Rio, trying the picanha at a Churrascaria is essential... unless you’re a vegetarian.
At Churrascarias, once seated, waiters come around with every type of meat you can imagine, and serve you until you’re full. This traditional Brazilian meal is accompanied by rice, beans, even sushi and other sides.
If you’re interested in seeing Rio in a way that not many people are privy to, consider staying at Pirates of Ipanema. A very inexpensive hostel in Ipanema, Pirates offers amazing tours of the city, surfing lessons, hang gliding, and classes on how to make the national Brazilian drink, the caipirinha. The Pirates are off the beaten path, but can show you a side of Rio you would not see otherwise.
Rio :: city of pleasure
There is so much to do in Rio, between climbing Sugar Loaf, walking the beaches in the sunset, listening to the street musicians, or dancing the night away. Aside from Carnival, one other "can’t miss" item is Bip Bip, a tiny Samba bar, in Copacabana. (Rua Almirante Gonçalves 50) This small bar is on an honor system-customers pay for their drinks themselves, and every evening, a different group of locals join together to play and sing the night away. If you stay long enough, you too may be ready to sing the beautiful love songs of Rio!
One tip that you’ll thank us for: remember to pack your sunscreen- it’s more than double the price in Rio than the U.S.!