All of Brazil is thrilled to welcome the Rio de Janeiro street carnival! Probably the most entertaining travel activity in Rio de Janeiro’s carnival tours is marching with the street carnival bands, or “blocos de rua.” Rio de Janeiro’s street bands started in 1965 with the “Band of Ipanema,” invented by Carioca Albino Pinheiro, who hired a navy marine band to play for a small crowd dressed up in costumes.From that moment on, carnival bands started to spread and become a famous Rio de Janeiro vacation event, known for their irreverent names, songs, or the neighborhoods where they were created. In 2012, Rio’s Mardi Gras will host approximately 470 street bands.

Welcome to the Rio de Janeiro Street Carnival! Welcome to the Rio de Janeiro Street Carnival! / source

Rio de Janeiro’s carnival bands with the greatest traditions are “Cordão do Bola Preta,” “Orquestra Voadora” (flying orchestra), “Bloco das Carmelitas,” “Sovaco do Cristo” (Christ’s armpit), and of course “Band of Ipanema.” We suggest that you go see the start of the march during your travels, just to get into the Rio de Janeiro street carnival spirit. If you are on vacation in Rio and looking to have fun like a Carioca, participate in the Rio de Janeiro street carnival to enjoy the best free music and great energy. You can find more detailed information about other tours and activities in the official Rio de Janeiro street carnival bands schedule.

Rio de Janeiro’s carnival balls are another great travel activity in Rio. They usually take place in city hotels and are entertaining samba shows for tourists. The saloons are decorated with coloured ornaments, live musicians play samba percussion and carnival theme songs, and it’s a good opportunity to mix with the Cariocas. During carnival, wearing costumes helps to lose yourself easily in Rio de Janeiro shows and carnival balls, but normally it’s not mandatory to wear them. You can make your own costume or rent one in a costume shop.

Rio de Janeiro carnival ball Rio de Janeiro carnival ball / source

Tickets for Rio’s carnival balls usually cost between R$100 and R$200, but you can also shell out a little more for the most luxurious carnival balls, like the Copacabana Palace Hotel gala ball (on February 12 this year).

The Scala Rio club is one of the most traditional carnival clubs in Rio de Janeiro, and every year they host many carnival balls: Red and Black ball is on February 17, always one day before the carnival; Mangueira’s Carnival Ball is on the 18th; the Marvelous City Ball on the 19th; Good Beer Ball is on the 20th; and the Gay Gala Ball is on the 21st. Most of the clubs don’t make information available until February, but you can follow the Scala Rio website for info. At Caiçaras Club carnival balls for both children and adults are organized every year. You can find information by calling the club’s telephone number: (21)2529-4800.

So if you wish to have the best time on your travels to Rio de Janeiro, dress up in your costume and enjoy Rio’s Mardi Gras with your friends and family!

Happy Travels!

By: Albano Moura
For: Rdj4u