"When, where and what happens" Top 5 Page for this destination Carnaval Tip by Willettsworld
Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro: 58 reviews and 88 photos
When: The Carnaval lasts for four days from the Saturday to the Tuesday immediately preceeding Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. Carnival Sunday is seven weeks before Easter Sunday. This means that the dates of each Carnaval each year change so here's the Carnaval dates for the next few years:
2006: February 25,26,27,28
2007: February 17,18,19,20
2008: February 2,3,4,5
2009: February 21,22,23,24
2010: February 13,14,15,16
Where: The main Samba Parade takes place at the Sambodromo (Sambadrome) which can be reached by taking the Metro to either Central or Praca Onze. The metro runs around the clock during Carnaval so you don't have to worry about leaving early. It's quite fun going on the Metro as you see the paraders commuting in their costumes which is quite funny to see as they struggle to get through the doors as their costumes are so big!
What happens: The Samba Parade takes place on the Sunday and Monday (the middle two days of Carnaval) from 9pm till sunlight the following day, around 6-7am. It's a long show if you want to stay for the whole show. I only managed to stay till about 2.30am before I had enough. You get what I call Carnaval overload after a while as the parade gets a little samey. The locals love it, of course, and they must have great stamina to stay for the whole parade. Make sure you get there about an hour or so before the start. There should be seats available. There are about 7 samba schools in each nights parade. Each school takes about 60-75 minutes to make their way down the street. Then there's a 15 minute gap before the next school enters. During this time there's a fleet of cleaners and dust carts that clean the street (it's like their own mini-parade and is quite funny to watch!).
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