What can you say about the Rio de Janeiro Carnival that hasn’t already been said other than if you haven’t been lucky enough to experience it, it is highly advisable that you mark it down on your ‘to do’ list.
The Rio carnival takes place 40 days before Easter every year and as the date of Easter varies, so does the date of the carnival. It lasts for four days, from the Saturday to what is known as Fat Tuesday but what an experience it is. The whole point of the carnival is that it is said to be a farewell to the good things in life, especially the pleasures of the flesh, for the period of lent and it must be said, what a farewell these samba dancers give it!
The climax of the parade is where thirteen samba schools from the region complete against each other in Rio’s Samadrome with the aim of being declared the winner. You will no doubt have seen the TV footage of gyrating women dressed in all sorts of flamboyant costumes but it would be fair to say that the TV pictures don’t even come close to giving the viewers at home an idea what attending the Rio de Janeiro carnival is really like, because the atmosphere that surrounds it all really does take an awful lot of beating.
If you are thinking of attending the Rio Carnival it would be advisable to book at least a couple of months in advance, leave it any later than that and the hotel rooms are in shorter supply and are more expensive. Whilst the carnival is obviously extremely popular with the locals, there is no getting away from the fact that it is aimed at the tourists so there are a few things to be aware of.
To start with, beware of the pickpockets, it is easy to become a little relaxed after a few beers and leave your handbag open or have a wallet clearly visible from the back pocket, Basic stuff really but there are pickpockets, especially children who will take advantage if they see an opportunity of some easy money.
Whilst there has been some bad press over the years with regards to how dangerous the streets of Rio can be, carnival time usually offers a safe environment just as long as you don’t wonder off into the night, stay on the main drag and there won’t be any problems, it is also reassuring to know that there is always a large police presence throughout the carnival.
It is not unusual over the four days for the carnival to end up on the beach where the party continues through the early hours of the morning, impromptu beer and food stalls are set up and a great time is had by all. The Rio Carnival really is a fabulous even to experience, there is lots to enjoy for families with young children as well as singles and couples who will find all of their partying requirements are met.