Sunday, 27 April 2014

Brazil: Carnival - Rio De Janeiro 2012

In the beginning of 2012 I ticked off a major item on my bucket list - I went to the Carnival in Rio De Janeiro. Ever since watching Rio in 2011 (yes I know, I find travel inspiration in children's movies), the Carnival was on my radar and when some of our friends, who Hamish had known since before moving to London, suggested a two week holiday back to their home country of Brazil, I was in!

We spent four days smack bang in the middle of the Carnival and Rio was literally alive and buzzing with tourists and locals alike. We stayed in Ipanema, which is right next to Copacabana and  I would definitely recommend this location. The beaches were in easy walking distance and the area was full of bars and shops and restaurants.  During the day, the beaches were so busy you could hardly see the sand and at night all those bronzed and sweaty bodies seemed to migrate to the streets of Rio, still dressed in their swim wear, for the street parades of the Carnival. The entire party takes place in the streets - the restaurants and bars are mostly shut and street vendors sell everything from Havaianas to vodka beverages and different street foods.  We could view the parades from the balcony of our apartment and there were certainly some views I won't be forgetting any time soon.

Sorry about the terrible photo quality - these were pre my decent camera days. 
Left to right: Group shot, Ipanema banner, drinks in Brazil - coffee comes in a glass??, dogs like to dress up for Carnival too.
We were lucky enough to be travelling with Brazilian locals and they were our personal (amazing) tour guides and Carnival experts and  even managed to organise some tickets to the Samba Parade in the Sambodromo which is where the "official" Carnival parade that is shown on television takes place. These tickets are apparently hard to come by and you need to get in super early if you want to enjoy that amazing experience.  The parades take place over a few different nights and are a massive Samba Competition between all the different Samba Groups, many of which come from the local favelas. The Samba Parade starts after sunset and goes on throughout the night, ending just before sunrise, so be sure to make sure you are well rested. Having it during the night hours means that the lights and colours are all the more spectacular.

Aside from all the festival shenanigans we also managed to squeeze in some of the famous tourist attractions such as an amazing walk along the beach from Copacabana to Ipanema, getting the train up to the Corcovado (Christ the redeemer statue) and visiting the cafe where the famous song "Girl from Ipanema" was written.  Overall I loved our four days in Rio and would love to return again when the Carnival is not taking place, as I imagine the city will be a completely different (and less exhausting) experience when it isn't one big massive party.

A pint of beer in Brazil costs approximately GBP 1.50 *

* Correct at time of publishing


  1. This looks amazing. There's so much going on in Rio over the next few years with the World Cup and then the Olympics, I bet it'll be an exciting place to be.

  2. Wow Lou - it looks phenomenal! Definitely putting Rio on my 'to do' list for sure! :)

  3. So colourful!