Rio Carnival: the lowdown

"Лишь несчастному нужна его правота, счастливый хвататься за неё не будет." Андрей Курпатов ©
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Scroll down for images to get you in a Carnival state of mind…

When is Rio Carnival in 2019 and 2020?

The carnival takes place from Friday 1 to Saturday 9 March 2019. Next year, it will be on from Friday 21 to Wednesday 26 February 2020.

How much are tickets?

Most of the Carnival is one big street party that you don’t need tickets for. The main event, though, is the parade at the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí, for which tickets range from R$400 (about £80) to R$4,000 (about £800), depending on which grandstand, box or private room you select – but the cheapest are the seats in sectors 12 and 13.

How many people attend?

More than two million travellers and Brazilians attend yearly – it’s the world’s largest carnival.

Who are the Rio Carnival dancers?

The performers are made up of escolas de samba, or samba schools – groups of dancers from particular neighbourhoods who come together to take part in the parades every year.

Is there a theme to Rio Carnival?

Not exactly – each escola plans their parade around a theme, and often their costumes and dance moves form a narrative.

What are the top three things to do during the festival?

  1. Get tickets to the Sambadrome, the enormous space purpose-built for the yearly parade in Rio. Groups of dancers go all out with bedazzling costumes and choreography, and it’s impossible not to leave on a mega high.
  2. Find a smaller bloco – or street party – in one of the city’s neighbourhoods. There will be home-cooked food, less chaos and a lower chance of losing your friends.
  3. Learn to samba! There are several variations to the dance and you’re likely to get whisked up in one or another, so ask to be taught some steps while you’re there.

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