With troops of bejeweled dancers gyrating on stage, glittering floats parading through the Sambadrome exhibition hall and costumes so dazzling you’ll need your sunglasses on even at night, Rio de Janeiro’s annual carnival is without question, the biggest and boldest in the world. Up to 2 million revelers from around the world descend on the city in the week preceding Lent, as the city’s legendary Samba Schools pull out all the stops for the vibrant showcase of Rio’s Portuguese, African and Brazilian heritage.
Carnival time sees the city explode with color, as riotous parties take over the beachfront and blocos (street bands) take to the streets to perform. The atmosphere is electric but the enormous crowds can be overwhelming to first-timers so pre-booking carnival tickets and guided city tours is a good idea. A 6-Night Carnival Package in Rio de Janeiro includes visits to all the city’s major attractions, as well as the chance to view carnival preparations at the Sambadrome pre-party and get involved in the carnival fun by taking part in one of the fantastical Samba parades. You can even attend one of the lavish Carnival balls, take part in judging the Samba School Parade, or get fitted for your own glitzy carnival costume.
Even if you can’t make it for the carnival season, Rio’s rich samba culture is kept alive all year round and you can still experience the city’s spectacular dance troops by attending a Plataforma Samba Show, or joining the locals as they move to the beat in Lapa’s many samba nightclubs. You could even opt to help out with the pre-carnival rehearsals and costume preparations, which start as early mid-September in the famous Samba Schools.