The Sambadrome, or Sambódromo as it is known locally, is the setting for the main Carnival action. The venue, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, incorporates a series of modern concrete seating structures that line the legendary parade runway.
With a capacity of over 72,000, it can be overwhelming to try and choose your sector when booking tickets if you’re not familiar with the Sambadrome seating arrangement. While you will enjoy the incredible atmosphere from anywhere inside the stadium, each sector offers a different experience (and comes with a different price tag).
Sambadrome Seating Plan
Types of Seating:
There are four main types of seating in the Sambadrome.
1. The Grandstands – These concrete bleachers are located at the top of each sector and they offer the best views over the whole runway. Many people bring along a pillow or something comfortable to sit on since its a long night to be on concrete. There are no numbered seats, which means if you get up, you may lose your spot. This is the green section on the seating plan diagram.
2. Allocated Chairs – Only available in sectors 12 and 13, these affordable seats are simply rows of chairs at ground level, located at the end of the runway. This is the blue section of the seating plan diagram.
3. Frisas or Front Boxes – Located at runway level, these boxes are largely considered the best tickets as you’re right next to the parade action. Each box seats 6 people. This is the yellow section of the seating plan diagram.
4. Camarotes or Luxury Suites – These private, covered suites are in boxes along the parade route from sector 2 to 11. Elevated, they offer a great view, and come with a waiter service, buffet and open bar. Unsurprisingly, they are both highly sought after and very expensive.
Choosing Your Sector:
The different sectors offer different experiences.
Sector 1: Not shown. This is a grandstand area at the starting area of the parade. These tickets are not for sale as they are only for members of the samba schools.
Sectors 2, 3, 4 & 5: The advantage of sitting in these sectors at the beginning of the parade is that both the samba schools and the crowd are full of excitement at the start of each performance. You get the first glimpse of a much anticipated moment. The other benefit is that you have to wait less time between the individual schools.
Sector 6 & 7: These are the most sought-after sectors because the judges area is directly in front of sector 7. The schools put everything into their performance here. Tickets in sector 7 are, for this reason, the most expensive.
Sector 9: Known as the tourist sector, this area has allocated, numbered seating. These tickets are predominantly bought by foreigners and tend not to have quite the same atmosphere as the stands that attract locals.
Sectors 8, 9, 10 & 11: These sectors are popular because this is where the drummers retreat. At this point in the parade, the band stops at the side and performs, letting the rest of the wings go in front. The drummer’s niche (or Recuo da Bateria) is the best place to really hear the music and it always has an incredible vibe.
Sectors 12 & 13: The popular section has the cheapest tickets. There is a large section of allocated seating and the bleachers are set further back. The allocated seating in this sector may not have the greatest views but it is a great place to be for 2 reasons: the parade participants realise they’re coming to the end and usually have a last burst of enthusiasm, and secondly, many of them discard their costumes here on their way out which lucky spectators can grab as a souvenir.
Once your tickets are booked, check your sector number. When you get to the Sambadrome, your sector determines what entrance you need to go to. If you take the metro, you need to get out at Praça Onze station if your sector is an even number, and Central station if your sector is an odd number. If you book your tickets with us, there is an optional transfer service to take away the stress of getting to and from the Carnival parade.
Also, remember that the setting is out in the open (except for the luxury seats). So, be prepared for the weather, in case it rains. But most importantly bring your camera and your party spirit and get ready for a spectacular night that you won’t forget anytime soon!
Come and join the biggest party in the world.
By Nicole Eberhard