If you were invited to the biggest party on the planet, would you go? The festivities of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro outpace most other celebrations. People from across the globe travel to Rio to have the time of their lives. The music, dancing, colors, food and drinks make Carnival the place to be from Feb. 24 to March 1.
There's still plenty of time to plan your trip to Rio, but the earlier you do so, the better deals you'll get on flights and hotel accommodations. Then, you just have to plan exactly how you want to spend your Carnival. Keep reading to get inspired and learn more about the festival:
The best time to buy
If you're set on going to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival, December is the ideal time to grab your cheap airline tickets. Likewise, you should book your hotel now as rooms are likely to fill up quickly. Where you want to stay will depend on how you want to spend your Carnival. If you're interested in attending the Samba parades, then you should consider staying near the Sambadrome. If you'd rather spend your time hanging out at the beach, a beachside resort may be just the thing for you.
As you're planning your trip, you'll also want to purchase event tickets well in advance. According to Rio-Carnival, there are four major samba parades, each requiring a ticket to attend. There are also masquerade balls and dances throughout the city that may require advanced tickets. Do your research now, so you don't miss out on the fun in February!
A brief history of Carnival in Rio
Carnival is a celebration of food, drink and revelry before the 40 days of Lent - a Catholic tradition that includes fasting, abstinence and self-improvement. The word Carnival comes from the Latin for "to remove meat" or "farewell to meat." Because meat is often forbidden during Lent, Carnival acts as one final feast before the days leading to Easter. According to USA Today, the tradition actually extends all the way back to the times of the ancient Greeks, when they would celebrate Dionysus, the god of wine.
In Rio de Janeiro, Portuguese settlers brought the tradition to the New World in 1723 where it eventually evolved into a celebration where people donned masks - obscuring their social class - and danced in the streets to lively music. Eventually, traditional music evolved into Samba, a truly Brazilian genre of music with influences from Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. Now, when people think of the Carnival in Rio, they picture intricate costumes, parades and dances in the streets.
The best things to do during Carnival
There's so much going on during the festival that it would be impossible to see and do everything, which is why it's important to plan your trip ahead of time. Of course, you'll still want to leave some free time so you can follow the spirit of the festival wherever it takes you. Here are some things to consider doing while you're in Rio for Carnival:
- Watch a samba parade: Nowhere else on Earth has samba parades like in they have in Rio. Grab some tickets to a parade and be prepared to be amazed by the costumes, dancing and music. There are four major parades in Rio, each featuring performers from the best samba schools in the country.
- Try some street food: Carnival is, after all, a celebration of food, so it would be remiss to skip the delicious dishes that can be found throughout the city. According to The Independent, one of the best dishes is picanha, barbecued sirloin steak that is cooked and seasoned to perfection. For dessert, be sure to try brigadieros da escocia, decadent chocolate truffles made from condensed milk and cocoa powder.
- Attend a masquerade: Nightclubs and other venues throughout Rio host masquerade balls throughout the festival. Dress up in your flashiest clothes, don a mask and dance to live music until the sun comes up!
You'll never forget the experiences you'll have celebrating Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Book your flight today and start planning for one of the best parties in the world.