How to enjoy Rio carnival

Rio carnival (carnaval in Portuguse) is the biggest of it’s kind in the world – it draws two million people onto the streets daily. But what is it? And how can you get the most out of the experience?

Dating back to 1723, this city-wide, five day party has become synonymous with carefree fun and exuberance – one of the things to do at least once in your lifetime. But like most other things related to this city (and Brazil in general), Rio carnival is not something that can be easily explained in a sentence or two – there are many aspects and intricacies not immediately obvious to the casual observer.

I’m not going to be able to tell you everything about Rio carnival here, but what follows will hopefully help you understand what’s on offer and how you can best enjoy the experience.

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Rio Carnaval 2014 – Off to Paquetá!


Arriving on Paquetá, we were struck by the tranquil atmosphere due to the lack of cars and motorbikes.


Well, I’m officially in a full-on carnival state of mind! Last Saturday, some friends and I went to a bloco called Pérola de Guanabara (Pearl of Guanabara) which was held on the island of Paquetá. Paquetá is a small island in Guanabara Bay that you can visit by taking a 1:15hr ferry ride from Praça 15. It was my first visit to the island so I was already pretty excited, but to combine it with my first bloco of 2014 was an extra bonus. Little did I know that the highlight of this special day would be the ferry ride home!

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