So you’ve got tickets to a samba school parade in the famous Sambadrome, and you’re ready for the biggest party in the world. To prepare you for your evening in Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival centrepiece, we’ve compiled some helpful tips with everything you need to know, so that on the night, you can simply get swept up by the excitement.
1. Sitting in the grandstand? Take a pillow or cushion with you. The concrete steps may be uncomfortable after a couple of hours. You may even see some people kitted out to have a short nap. That being said, it’s so exciting at the samba school parades that you might be on you feet for much of the evening.
2. Unless you’re in a luxury suite, the seats are out in the open and you’re at the mercy of the weather. Take a rain jacket or poncho in case the summer rains descend. While umbrellas are technically permitted, they are discouraged since they block the view of the people behind you.
3. Once you enter the Sambadrome, you are free to move around within. However, you cannot re-enter the arena itself once you’ve left.
4. You’re allowed to bring in 2 x 500ml plastic drink containers and 2 x food items. There are also stands serving fast food all around the Sambadrome, so you won’t go hungry or thirsty.
5. Take some toilet paper to be safe. With over 70,000 spectators, and 9 hours of entertainment, restrooms have been known to run out.
6. Photography, flash, and video are all allowed (for personal use), so be sure to go picture happy and capture the majesty of this wonderful spectacle.
7. Children under the age of 5 can enter for free.
8. There is special seating for people with disabilities in sector 13. There are 270 seats available, with an additional 240 for those attending them. These tickets are available at the Association for Physically Handicapped People at City Hall.
9. The following items are not permitted inside: polystyrene, glass bottles, firecrackers, personal cooler boxes, or weapons.
10. The doors to the Sambadrome open at 5pm. If you have a ticket with no assigned seating (all grandstands, except sector 9), try to get to there 7pm at the latest, 2 hours before the show starts.
11. The Sambadrome is considered to be very safe. Due to the number of high profile guests that attend, there is ample security inside. Once you leave the stadium, keep an eye on your belongings, particularly your camera.
12. Taking public transport to get there? Check whether you are sitting in an even or odd numbered section. For tickets with an even number, get off at station Praça Onze, on Line 1, and those with an odd number should get out at Central station, on either Lines 1 or 2. The subway runs 24 hours a day during Carnival. From the station, it is a 20-minute walk to the Sambadrome. Alternatively, take a taxi and give the driver the number of your sector. Two companies are allowed into the Sambadrome area: Coopatur and Coopertramo.
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By Nicole Eberhard