A picture of a female dancer with a toy gun at the rio carnival.

One of the biggest parties in the world, the Rio Carnival fills the streets of the seaside city with colour, vibrancy and excitement from 21-26 February 2020.

At the centre of all the attention is the incredible and newly renovated Sambadrome in the Marques de Sapucai Street. This 70,000-capacity stadium plays host to captivating parades by Rio’s samba schools.

These represent the country’s finest talents, who practice all year to wow the crowds with their original dance and musical performances.

What to expect at the Rio Carnival 2020

A male dancer dressed in green enjoys the Rio Carnival in 2019.

Once the mayor has handed the keys of the city to King Momo, the king will make a speech to announce the start of the celebrations and ushers in the city-wide party spirit.

The samba schools then compete to earn points from a team of 40 judges and take home the highly coveted championship title.

Each school brings with them flocks of enthusiastic crowds, including everyone from those in the local community to international celebrities.

Coupled with the flamboyant costumes, eye-catching floats and traditional samba rhythms, this spectacle is a treat for all the senses.

The champion schools are then invited to the Winner’s Parade, where they put on celebratory performances complete with all the music, costumes and floats.

This special event has all the showmanship of the carnival’s parades but with a much more relaxed atmosphere. It’s also significantly more affordable than the main carnival, making it a great alternative for tourists.

Away from the Sambadrome, there are extravagant carnival balls at a range of different venues, including Copacabana Palace and Scala Rio Nightclub.

Alternatively, you make your way to one of the many free street parties, where drinking, dancing and discovering the vibrant local culture is the order of the evening.

How to watch the Rio Carnival 2020

A female dancer enjoying the Rio Carnival of 2019.

If you want to get a slice of the action and see the samba schools perform for yourself, then you’ll need to get your hands on tickets to the Sambadrome.

These vary in price, with the Grandstand tickets being the most affordable in the uncovered grandstands. The tourist section in Sector 9 offers allocated seating, although it is on bare concrete.

If you want a step up, then you can opt for the Back Stalls seating towards the back of these uncovered grandstands.

Although not available in the tourist sector, you will be able to enjoy plastic seats rather than concrete flooring.

For more privacy, you can choose the Frisas instead. These comfortable boxes let you get closer to the heart of the samba action.

Alternatively, if you really want to splash out, you can get tickets for a Camarotes, which are private covered boxes which can accommodate up to 30 people.

Getting to the Rio Carnival 2020

Our special Rio Carnival packages let you enjoy six amazing nights Rio, including all tickets, transfers and accommodation in the Copacabana’s Royal Rio Palace hotel.

On top of that, you can also discover iconic local landmarks, with tours of Mount Sugarloaf and the Christ statue. For just $1350 per person, you’ll get an unrivalled experience of the city at its very best.

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