Your Ultimate Rio Carnival 2020 Travel Guide

Planning a trip to Brazil? Well, if you haven’t picked your travel dates, then may we suggest going in February next year during the third week. Why? Well, that’s when the historical, enticing, and enthralling Rio Carnival will take place. The Brazilians love to party and you can get a glimpse during the carnival the world looks up to. Celebrated annually, with lots of enthusiasm, both visitors and locals look forward to the six-day-long festival. One of the most exciting festivals in the world, the Rio de Janeiro carnival, is the largest public party you could go to. We at Kesari Tours thought of making your trip during the Rio Carnival a breeze. So, we put together a rio carnival 2020 guide just for you. Read on to know

Rio Carnival 2020

Rio Carnival–though there are other carnivals happening around the world, with a million visitors every year the Rio Carnival i.e. Carioca Carnival is the most well-known among them. With two Guinness World Records for the largest carnivals in the world, it is the place to be if you love dancing and music. Usually held in the middle of summer, the festival takes place in the streets and various venues. This carnival dates to the Romans and Greeks who had a typical spring celebration.

History of the Carnival: The carnival was a food festival originally and was rooted in European pagan traditions. It was the time to eat as much as people wanted before Lent a time for fasting and thriftiness which began on Ash Wednesday. Lore says, the word Carnaval is from the Latin word ‘carne vale’, which means farewell to meat. The Portuguese and African locals were at crossroads on how to celebrate the festival. Eventually, they had a street festival once a year to party together. This tradition became the basis for the invention of the samba in 1917. They set the first samba schools in the 1920s and the samba parade competitions began in 1933.

What happens at the Rio Carnival?

The carnival is not just a party at the Sambódromo. There are bloco’s happening all over the city during the day. Bloco means block, i.e. there are several block or street parties happening during the day that you can be a part of. Enjoy the parades and festivals that take place for days before the Sambódromo. With no set time for the festivities, you can always follow the music or check online for more info. There are over 300 street parties in Rio today, a number that keeps increasing every day. Such block parties also have parades that begin in January lasting until the end of the Carnival.

The samba parade competition is the main attraction at this festival. From floats, parades, and dances you can enjoy it all. The samba schools across Rio take part in these competitions. At the parade, 40 judges award points based on the samba song, story, presentation, beats, dance, music, and float. the samba group can take only 65-82 minutes from start to finish, or the judges penalize the group. This year Estação Primeira de Mangueira, one of Rio’s oldest and most established samba schools, won 2019’s samba parade competition. The school’s floats told a story of Brazil’s popular, unsung heroes.

When does Rio Carnival start?

The carnival starts a week before Ash Wednesday and ends on Sunday after Ash Wednesday.

Who celebrates Rio Carnival?

Anyone and everyone in Rio celebrates at the Rio Carnival. Thousands flock to Rio during the festival. The carnival is a time when people let go of their worries and mingle together. The rich, poor, and visitors come together to party.

What date is Carnival 2020?

The Rio Carnival will be from 21st February to 25th February 2020

Rio carnival 2020: Things to do

Enjoy the experimental music festival: This festival takes place around the Arcos da Lapa, the city’s cultural center. It’s where youngsters meet on weekend nights throughout the year. Lapa in Rio is one of the most diverse neighborhoods where you can enjoy an experimentative music festival. You can look forward to new tempos and techniques in music with plenty of sambas thrown in. This event is a clever way to have fun and relax. Try local food at tents serving snacks and small meals at affordable prices. So, to have a fabulous time without spending too much head over to Lapa.

Samba – Terreirão do Samba: Just like the Sambodromo parades, this outdoor space revives the atmosphere of Praça Onze. Historians believe the Terreirão do Samba, is the foundation of samba in Rio. Tia Ciata a well-known personality with friends, followers, and religious partners started Terreirão do Samba.

This samba festival happened even before the official Rio Carnival began. The festival has a large and extensive line-up of attractions every night. Head over to the food court where you can choose from 50 stalls if you’re hungry.

Balls at the Rio Carnival: Balls? Do we mean dressing up, wearing masks, and generally having an enjoyable time? Yes, we absolutely do. Rio is home to several carnival balls that take place before and during the carnival. Each carnival is different and has reasonably priced tickets you can buy. The Magic Ball at Copacabana Palace Hotel, however, is a black-tie affair.

Other dances take place in Scala close to Cinelândia subway station. The Clube dos Caiçaras and the Hard Rock Café da Folia are the best places to go to if you have children with you. Costumes aren’t mandatory, so wear whatever you’d like and are comfortable in. Pick from the Black Beads Ball, Mangueira Carnival Ball, Wonderful City Ball, Beer Ball, and the Gay Ball.

Parties at Praça Floriano: Do you need a reason to party on your vacation? Not really, isn’t it? Well, even before the Carnival there are several parties happening around the city. But from Saturday to Tuesday once the carnival begins you can enjoy outdoor parties throughout Rio. Some are spontaneous parties, but the one at Plaza de Cinelândia is the biggest organized party during the festival where you can meet at bars and sidewalks to relax and have an enjoyable time. You can also visit the outdoor areas on the fringes of the Sambodromo when the Parades take place and see the samba schools preparing for the parade.

Samba Parades: The samba parades take place in the Sambódromo, when the nights come alive with thousands of visitors. You will also see members of samba schools all decked up at the parade spending time with friends or waiting for their parade performance. You can choose from the Main Schools’ Parade, Champions’ Parade or Children’s School Parade to attend.

How to take part in Rio carnival: Buy your costume for Samba Schools Parade 2020, choose a Samba school and you are good to go. Make it a point to visit during the rehearsals so you know what to do during the parade.

What to wear?

Since the carnival takes place in February, it is still summer in Rio. Pack appropriately. There is no dress code for the Carnival, however, wear comfortable clothes. Wear cotton, viscose, or linen as they work the best to beat the heat. Don’t forget to pack a skirt, tees, a pair of sunglasses, sunscreen, and your flip flops or good walking shoes. You may end up walking a lot at block parties, so wear comfy flat shoes or tennis shoes.

Remember, wear clothes you aren’t afraid to get wet in, in case of sudden showers. Dress up and paint your face like others if you plan on attending blocos. Consider a small cross-body purse to take with you.

Is the Rio Carnival safe? Considering the crowds that gather for the carnival, it is relatively safe. However, like all crowded places, you must take a few precautions. They are

  • Don’t carry things you don’t need
  • Behave and talk like the locals do
  • Wear comfortable clothes like the locals, often shorts, a pair of flip flops and a t-shirt.
  • Carry a small cross-body purse
  • Beware of pickpockets and taxis
  • Don’t wander off to the favelas, unless you are with a guide.
  • Don’t carry a camera around, that tells others you are a tourist.

Would you like to be a part of this amazing festival? Well, check the South American package Kesari Tours offers. If you have more questions mail us at or call our travel hosts at 1800 22 1100

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