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Rio for Carnival 2006

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Rio for Carnival 2006

Some friends and I (all guys, mid 20's) are trying to escape the cold winters in Canada by travelling to Rio for Carnival 2006 in search of good location, good people, and good times.

We will be in Rio for 6 nights Sat to Thurs and so I was wondering if you had any recommendations for day trips, clubs, bars, accomadations during the carnival period, and most importantly safety? We're thinking about Hotel Miramar at Copacabanna Beach.

In regards to the Carnival event, do you have any recomendations on how we should plan on "doing" it: tickets, where to be during the parade, what are the fun things to do, and where to go afterwards?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thxs!

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1. Re: Rio for Carnival 2006

The Rio that you will experience during carnaval will be atypical. In fact, many Rio natives of means pack up and leave the city during carnaval. That doesn´t mean it isn´t a good time - just be aware that the city will be crammed with tourists from all over the world. Lodging is more expensive and good restaurants are difficult to get into. So plan ahead. I encourage you to make dinner reservations by telephone or fax well in advance. Get confirmations to avoid the normal confusion that can occur during this time.

For day trips, I suggest you avoid all day ventures like Angras dos Reyes - you will spend 6 hours on a bus and an entire day of the 6 you have to see....beaches and the sea. Better to take a local bus ride out to Grumarî or Recreio - those beaches an hour outside of the city are beautiful with good restaurants near-by.

You don´t need a tour to go to Sugarloaf or Corcovado but there are interesting parts of the city that many tourists never get to and you should not rule out a city tour to see these places. Santa Theresa comes to mind as a prime example. If you want to do a tour to learn about the history and culture of the city try riocustomtours or any one of the other tours promoted here - it is a good intro to a city that should have, but doesn´t have, the hop on, hop off bus tour found so commonly in other big cities. You will definitely want to go to the top of Sugarloaf (be prepared for lines or go real early) and Corcovado (with a group of 4 a taxi is cheaper and more convenient than the tram - no waiting).

There are lots of clubs in Ipanema and Leblon, e.g., Barontte, Melt, Sky Lounge, Prelude, and also in Barra De Tijuca (the Long Island of the city),eg., Hard Rock Cafe, and Lapa (see clubs and bars I recommend there by doing a search for my post on the subject).

Have you priced the Miramar? You may be in for an unpleasant surprise if you havent already. Hotel prices increase dramatically during carnaval. Moreover, the Brasilian $R is getting much stronger and that means all things are getting more expensive. Despite this, you will find it hard to get a good hotel unless you book early. My partner has some nice 1 and 2 bedroom apts in Ipanema and Leblon available for rent. If you are interested you can email me for details(darmanad@yahoo.com).

AS far as carnaval events go I would recommend the official Rio carnval costume party held on Sat evening at the venerable Hotel Gloria. It is a semi psychidelic experience attended by few tourists. If you can afford the $300 admission price by all means go to the Copacabana Palace costume ball ( or black tie) on Sat night. Call in advance for those tickets. It tends to sellout even at those prices. The nightclub, Scala,in Leblon has various parties over the 4 day carnaval, the most well attended of which is the gay ball usually on Tuesday. It is crowded and hot, but popular. Help disco also has some reasonably priced costume themed balls (although some might consider every night in Help to be a ball). This is the infamous disc in Copacabana which you should include in your visit to Rio.

To get tickets to the Samba school parades on Sunday and Monday evenngs, I would do a web search now or make arrangements through your hotel. It seems each hotel concierge knows a scalper who can get tickets for these one-in-a-lifetime type events. Prices are high for the good seats and astronomical for the upper private boxes ($1000 per person). A lower box (banquada) may be had for as low as $200 if you are lucky. These are more comfortable seats in a semi private section and if you can get them I think they are best. They have good bathroom and food concession facilities. If not, make sure you see a chart of the sambadromo at the time you purchase your tickets. General seating at the front end and rear sections of the sambadromo are less desirable and should be priced accordingly. The samba school parades last until 7 or 8 am so the place to go afterwards is...bed. Then get up and go to the beach.

A few words of caution. All events start later than scheduled. Don´t go anywhere early. Also, do not buy pot or other drugs from strangers. If you are not ripped off in the transaction, you may shortly thereafter find yourselves confronted by police extorting you to supplement their meagre incomes. Don´t take valubales to the beach. In fact, leave your good watches and jewelry at home. The thieves are hyperactive during carnaval so try to avoid a bad experience - take steps to minimize the chances of being ripped off.

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2. Re: Rio for Carnival 2006

I agree with almost everything the last post says. But I think you must go to Corcovado. It is really a remarkable view from the top of the mountain. Also, in Ipanema people have live music and they dance on the strets (ask at the hotel about the Banda de Ipanema). It is very unique. Avoid walking around with valuables, small stealing often happens during carnival.

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