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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What’s a ‘Bloco’ and what should I expect?

Hooray! Carnaval (that’s the Portuguese spelling) season is well and truly under way! I’ve been posting up a few photos from the bloco I went to last Sunday on the Eat Rio Facebook page, but I think it’s time I said a little more about this quintessentially Brazilian festival.

Timoneiras da Viola - the bloco I visited last Sunday. It was great!


The main days of Carnaval are from Friday to Tuesday – the exact date changes each year. This year it will run from 17th-21st February (check out the dates for future years here). I say “main days” because Carnaval actually kicked off weeks ago!

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