This past March, I visited Rio for the biggest carnival in the world. I traveled with G Adventures and it was a week of partying that I won’t soon forget.
I stayed at the Royalty Rio Hotel; a four star hotel with a great location, complimentary breakfast, WiFi and friendly staff.
Notice I said “complimentary” breakfast it was not tasty, but still edible 🙂
I traveled to Brazil a day early so that I could rest up and do some exploring at my leisure, but it didn’t take long for me to have a Caipirinha– Brazil’s national cocktail. I thought it was refreshing but STRONG!
While walking around, I noticed lots of little stands with colorful outfits and tutus for purchase and discovered you are encouraged to have fun with your clothing choice during Carnival. I will share pictures of the outfit I decided on for the main event, but I believe it cost me around $8 USD!
Our G Adventures package afforded us the opportunity to explore Rio with a City Tour and despite the weather, this one of my favorite parts of the trip.
First we visited the Christ the Redeemer atop the Corcovado Mountain (a few days after Ciara and Russell which was pretty cool!) and it was a surreal experience. It’s one of the world’s greatest attractions and a beautiful sight-view, but crowded! This could have been due to Carnival but the fogginess and rain made me take my obligatory selfie and head back to the van.
Quick background. The Christ the Redeemer is a statue of Jesus in Rio de Janeiro and is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The statue was created between 1922 and 1931 and is made of concrete and soapstone. Weighing in at 635 metric tons, the statue overlooks the city of Rio.
Next we saw the colorful Lapa Steps and learned the history of it’s creator; a Chilean artist, Jorge Selaron. Again, a beautiful sight, but crowded!
We got our selfies and danced with the crowd, enjoyed street food and caipirinhas, of course!
This evening G Adventures sponsored a Purple Beach Party…so much fun! We had a few drink tickets and partied on the beach, it was epic. The tour guides had just as much fun as we did and danced with us as we took pictures in the sand and drank! I could’ve done without Drake “In My Feelings” being played fifteen times, though *smile*.
G Adventures introduced us to street parties or “blocos” on Day 3. Blocos are said to be the soul of Rio’s carnival and the music is loud and consistent and the streets are filled. Bring your samba moves, stay hydrated and have fun with it! Wear bright makeup, colorful clothing and most importantly, comfortable shoes.
This is one time where I wished I spoke a bit more Portuguese and knew some of the songs they were singing and where I favored Caribbean carnivals over Rio. Still a blast, nonetheless.
As you all know, I am not much of a partier. I prefer day time fun and the blocos was more than enough for me. However, some of the folks in my group partied in Lapa and I hear it is great for nightlife!
We were advised to take it slow this day, in preparation for the main attraction and I am glad that I did! The parade at the Sambadrome lasts all night!
The samba schools choose different themes and the colors, floats, costumes and performances were all breathtaking. It is estimated that roughly 30,000 people participate and 90,000 tickets are sold to watch the events. The events are judged and the parades can last until 6 AM! I was long gone before the end but I did have a great time.
There are plenty of vendors available for food and souvenirs and it was indeed a magical evening.
There was nothing on the itinerary for this day, we were expected to only relax and recover. We went to the beach, Copacabana and ate and drank.
We had lunch and here is a quick tip…We chose the restaurant we did because of the food specials, not the music, yet we noticed a fee on our bill when we closed our tabs for the live performances! Just ask the staff prior if there is a fee for the live music and check your bill carefully.
We did go to another bloco that evening and here is another tip…be cautious of street food at the blocos. That evening and early the next morning about half of us fell ill with food poisoning symptoms after having street food as our last meal. It reminded me that I need to update my list of things I travel with to carry stomach medicine with me on every trip. It was awful, and a horrible ending to an otherwise epic trip!
Obrigado! (Thank You)
Thank you so much for reading my journey to Brazil. Brazil was the trip where I saw the most melanin ever, abroad and where I partied the hardest. Carnival in Brazil was a travel bucket list item for me, and I’m glad I went! I’m not in a rush to return to Brazil (I have way more world to see in the meantime) but I encourage you to get that passport stamp, especially since the Visa Requirement has been lifted!
Know Before You Go:
- Brazil is very affordable! 1 Brazil Real is $0.25 USD. I was able to eat and drink for very cheap and had planned to use my leftover cash to shop for family and friends on my last day but had to use that cash for late check out thanks to the Brazil Bug 🙁
- Be smart, be safe. I had heard many people say “be careful, Brazil is dangerous” and I did note that there were large crowds and it was easy to get lost or have items stolen, but I think it’s important to just be mindful of your surroundings. Someone in our group unfortunately had her phone snatched, but I remembered a waiter pointing to my purse the first evening, letting me know to get it away from the street side and was super aware of my surroundings moving forward.
- Uber. Uber is a fast, cheap option in Brazil and I regularly took advantage of it. My Uber from the airport to the hotel cost me $9.45!
- “Meat” Your Heart Out. Brazilians. The beef in Brazil is of high quality and it’s essential that you visit a churrasqueira for all you can eat barbequed meat. I’ll admit, when I came home from Brazil I bought a big bag of tilapia and didn’t eat meat for over a month, LOL! My favorite meal was Prime Rib!