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Rio Carnival 2019 Party Guide


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Lurline Furman



Welcome to the vibrant and exhilarating world of the Rio Carnival! As one of the most celebrated events in the world, the Rio Carnival is a grand spectacle that showcases the rich cultural heritage and infectious energy of Brazil. Born out of a fusion of African, European, and Indigenous traditions, the carnival has evolved into a dazzling extravaganza that draws millions of visitors from across the globe.


With its pulsating rhythm, vibrant costumes, and lively street parties, the Rio Carnival is an experience like no other. It is a time of celebration, passion, and unbridled joy, where locals and tourists come together to revel in the spirit of music, dance, and togetherness.


The roots of the Rio Carnival trace back to the 18th century, when Portuguese immigrants brought the entrancing masquerade balls and street parties to Brazil. Over time, the festival evolved to incorporate African rhythms and dances, creating a unique blend of cultural expressions.


Today, the carnival has become synonymous with the city of Rio de Janeiro, captivating the world with its theatrical parades, ornate costumes, and infectious samba beats. It is a time when the streets come alive with enchanting performances, electrifying music, and a sense of unity that transcends differences.


Throughout this article, we will delve into the fascinating history and traditions of the Rio Carnival, provide an overview of the upcoming Rio Carnival 2019, and offer valuable tips on how to make the most of your carnival experience. So, put on your dancing shoes, prepare to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Brazil, and let the carnival spirit carry you away!


History of Rio Carnival

The history of the Rio Carnival dates back over three centuries, with its roots embedded in the cultural tapestry of Brazil. The origins of the carnival can be traced to the Portuguese colonization of Brazil in the 17th century when the Portuguese brought their own traditions of masquerade balls and street celebrations to the country.


With the arrival of African slaves in Brazil, their vibrant music, dance, and rituals added a new dimension to the carnival festivities. The African influence brought a sense of rhythm and movement that would ultimately shape the unique character of the Rio Carnival.


Initially, the carnival was a celebration exclusive to the upper classes, with grand masquerade balls held in elite clubs and theaters. However, with the proclamation of the Republic in 1889, the carnival started to become more democratic, with people from all walks of life participating in the festivities.


The turning point in the history of the Rio Carnival came in the early 20th century when the samba music and dance took center stage. Samba, a genre of music with Afro-Brazilian roots, became the heartbeat of the carnival, captivating the crowds with its infectious rhythm and vibrant energy.


In 1929, the first samba schools were formed, bringing together communities to showcase their musical and artistic talents. These samba schools, known as “escolas de samba,” became the pillars of the carnival, with each school representing a specific neighborhood or community in Rio de Janeiro.


Today, the Rio Carnival is renowned for its elaborate parades, where each samba school competes to win the coveted championship title. Months of preparation go into creating stunning floats, intricate costumes, and meticulously choreographed performances that captivate spectators.


Over the years, the Rio Carnival has grown in scale and popularity, attracting millions of tourists from around the world. It has become not only a celebration of Brazilian culture but also a major economic and cultural event for the city of Rio de Janeiro.


The history of the Rio Carnival is a testament to the resilience and creativity of the Brazilian people. It reflects the country’s diverse cultural heritage and serves as a platform for artistic expression and community engagement. The carnival continues to evolve, embracing new trends while staying true to its roots, ensuring that the spirit of celebration thrives for generations to come.


Overview of Rio Carnival 2019

Get ready for an unforgettable experience at Rio Carnival 2019! The upcoming carnival promises to be bigger, better, and more dazzling than ever before. With its vibrant parades, pulsating music, and incredible energy, Rio Carnival 2019 is set to captivate visitors from around the world.


The official dates for Rio Carnival 2019 are from March 1st to March 9th, kicking off with the highly anticipated opening ceremony and culminating in the spectacular Parade of Champions. During this week-long extravaganza, the entire city of Rio de Janeiro comes alive with vibrant colors, infectious rhythms, and joyous celebrations.


The heart of the Rio Carnival lies in the Sambadrome, a massive stadium specially built for the purpose of hosting the grand parades. The parades feature the competing samba schools, with each school showcasing its artistic prowess and creativity in awe-inspiring performances. From elaborate floats and dazzling costumes to breathtaking choreography, the parades are a visual feast that will leave you mesmerized.


But it’s not just the Sambadrome where the carnival magic happens. Throughout the city, there are numerous street parties known as “blocos” that take place during the carnival period. These blocos are lively gatherings where people dance, sing, and celebrate together in the streets. It’s a chance to experience the infectious energy of the carnival up close and personal, surrounded by locals and tourists alike.


One of the highlights of Rio Carnival 2019 is the electrifying “Baile do Copa,” held at the legendary Copacabana Palace Hotel. This glamorous event attracts celebrities, socialites, and party-goers who come together for a night of elegance and revelry. With live performances from top Brazilian artists and a truly luxurious atmosphere, the Baile do Copa is an experience like no other.


In addition to the parades and street parties, Rio Carnival 2019 offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the diverse cultural heritage of Brazil. From visiting iconic landmarks like Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain to immersing yourself in the vibrant neighborhoods of Rio, there is no shortage of things to see and do during your stay.


Whether you’re a seasoned carnival-goer or a first-time visitor, Rio Carnival 2019 promises an unforgettable experience filled with joy, music, and celebration. So, get ready to join the festivities, dance to the infectious samba beats, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of Brazil.


Dates and Location

Mark your calendars because Rio Carnival 2019 is just around the corner! The carnival festivities will take place from March 1st to March 9th, with various events and parades happening throughout the week. Whether you’re a local resident or a traveler from afar, this is the perfect time to experience the magic and excitement of the world’s most famous carnival.


The main venue for Rio Carnival is the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí, a purpose-built stadium located in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. This iconic venue, situated in the downtown area of the city, serves as the stage for the grand parades where the samba schools compete to win the championship title. With its impressive architecture and capacity to accommodate thousands of spectators, the Sambadrome provides an incredible setting for witnessing the spectacle of the carnival.


During the carnival week, the Sambadrome hosts parades on specific days and times, with each day dedicated to different samba schools. It’s important to check the official schedule to ensure you don’t miss your favorite performances. The parades start in the evening and continue into the early hours of the morning, creating a vibrant and electrifying atmosphere that will leave you in awe.


In addition to the Sambadrome, the streets of Rio de Janeiro come alive with colorful blocos, or street parties, during the carnival period. These blocos are scattered across the city and offer a more spontaneous and interactive experience. Here, you can join the locals as they dance, sing, and celebrate in true carnival spirit. The street parties are free to attend and are a great way to immerse yourself in the infectious energy of the carnival.


While the Sambadrome and street parties are the focal points of Rio Carnival, it’s essential to remember that the festivities extend beyond these venues. The entire city of Rio de Janeiro buzzes with excitement during this time, with hotels, restaurants, and bars hosting their own carnival-themed events. From glamorous balls in luxurious venues to smaller neighborhood parties, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.


Whether you choose to witness the grand parades at the Sambadrome, dance through the streets with the blocos, or explore the various carnival-themed events across the city, Rio Carnival offers an experience like no other. So, pack your bags, prepare your dancing shoes, and get ready to embrace the joy and magic of Rio Carnival 2019!


Samba Schools and Parades

At the heart of the Rio Carnival are the samba schools and their mesmerizing parades. These schools, known as “escolas de samba,” are more than just educational institutions – they are vibrant cultural hubs that bring communities together through music, dance, and art.


Each year, the samba schools compete in the grand parades at the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí, showcasing their creativity, passion, and sheer talent. The parades are a spectacle of color, rhythm, and energy, with each samba school aiming to outshine the others with their extravagant floats, elaborate costumes, and powerful performances.


The competition is fierce, and the preparation for the parades begins months in advance. Each samba school selects a theme, which serves as the inspiration for their parade. The themes can range from historical events and mythical tales to social issues and cultural celebrations.


Creating the parade floats is a labor of love and craftsmanship. Talented artisans and designers work tirelessly to bring these imaginative structures to life, incorporating intricate details and breathtaking visuals. The floats are often adorned with feathers, sequins, and vibrant colors, reflecting the exuberance of the carnival spirit.


Equally important are the costumes worn by the participants of the samba schools. These costumes are carefully crafted to reflect the theme of the parade while allowing the dancers to move with grace and ease. The costumes are often elaborate, showcasing the creativity and artistry of the designers.


As the samba schools parade through the Sambadrome, spectators are treated to a feast for the senses. The pulsating rhythms of the samba music fill the air, while the dancers, known as “passistas,” showcase their skill and passion with breathtaking choreography. The energy is infectious, and it’s hard not to be swept away by the electrifying atmosphere.


The parades are not only a showcase of talent but also a true reflection of the cultural diversity of Brazil. The samba schools represent different neighborhoods or communities, each bringing their unique traditions and heritage to the carnival. This diversity is one of the reasons why the Rio Carnival is such a rich and inclusive event.


Whether you choose to join the crowds at the Sambadrome or watch the parades from the comfort of your home, experiencing the samba schools in action is an unforgettable experience. It’s a celebration of culture, unity, and the indomitable spirit of the Brazilian people. So, get ready to be swept away by the magic of the samba schools and their spectacular parades at Rio Carnival!


Carnival Street Parties and Blocos

While the grand parades at the Sambadrome are the highlight of the Rio Carnival, the streets of Rio de Janeiro come alive with the vibrant energy of the carnival through street parties known as “blocos.” These blocos are spontaneous gatherings of revelers who come together to dance, sing, and celebrate in the true spirit of the carnival.


During the carnival period, the streets of Rio are filled with countless blocos, each with its own unique theme, music, and atmosphere. Some blocos are small and intimate, while others attract thousands of people, creating a lively and festive ambience.


One of the defining features of the blocos is the music. Samba, as well as other genres of Brazilian music, including axé, pagode, and funk, fill the air as musicians and bands take to the streets to entertain the revelers. The pulsating rhythms and infectious beats create an irresistible urge to dance and immerse yourself in the festivities.


The blocos are open to anyone and everyone who wants to join in the fun. Locals and tourists alike mingle together, creating a sense of unity and camaraderie. It’s a chance to interact with the friendly locals, learn new dance moves, and soak up the joyful atmosphere of the carnival.


One of the most popular blocos is “Cordão do Bola Preta,” which attracts a massive crowd of participants dressed in traditional black and white attire. This bloco has been a part of Rio Carnival for over a century and is a testament to the enduring spirit of the carnival traditions.


Another famous bloco is “Monobloco,” which brings together a large percussion band and encourages everyone to sing and dance to the infectious music. The sheer energy and enthusiasm generated by Monobloco make it a must-attend event for those seeking an unforgettable carnival experience.


It’s important to note that the blocos can get crowded, so it’s advisable to plan your itinerary and arrive early to secure a good spot. Also, remember to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, as you’ll likely be dancing and moving around for hours.


Attending the blocos is not only a way to celebrate the spirit of the carnival but also an opportunity to explore different neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro. Each bloco has its own route, often passing through iconic streets and landmarks, allowing you to discover hidden gems and experience the local culture.


So, whether you join a bloco with thousands of other revelers or stumble upon a small, spontaneous gathering, the carnival street parties and blocos offer an immersive and unforgettable experience. Embrace the joyous energy, let the music move your feet, and immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of the Rio Carnival.


Costume and Makeup Tips

When it comes to the Rio Carnival, one of the most exciting aspects is the opportunity to dress up in vibrant costumes and express your creativity. Whether you’re planning to attend the grand parades or join the street parties, here are some costume and makeup tips to help you make the most of your carnival experience:

  • Choose a Theme: Consider selecting a theme or concept for your costume to make it more cohesive and visually striking. Whether it’s a mythical creature, a historical figure, or a colorful carnival character, let your imagination run wild.
  • Bright and Bold Colors: Embrace the spirit of the carnival by opting for costumes in vibrant and eye-catching colors. Rio Carnival is all about making a statement, so go for bold hues like reds, blues, yellows, oranges, and pinks.
  • Feathers and Sequins: Incorporate feathers and sequins into your costume for an extra touch of glamour. Feathers add movement and texture, while sequins catch the light and create a stunning visual impact.
  • Comfort is Key: Keep in mind that carnival festivities can be long, so prioritize comfort when selecting your costume. Choose lightweight and breathable fabrics that allow you to move and dance freely.
  • Waterproof Makeup: With the heat and excitement of the carnival, you’ll want your makeup to last all day. Opt for waterproof and sweat-resistant products to ensure that your look stays put throughout the festivities.
  • Face and Body Paint: Consider adding face and body paint to enhance your carnival look. Experiment with vibrant colors and intricate designs inspired by Brazilian culture or let your artistic side shine through with unique patterns and motifs.
  • Glitter and Gems: Sparkle and shine with the addition of glitter and gems to your makeup. Apply them strategically on your face, body, or hair to create a mesmerizing and dazzling effect.
  • Sun Protection: Don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun’s rays during the daytime events. Apply a sunscreen with a high SPF and consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat or a colorful parasol for added sun protection.
  • Comfortable Footwear: As you’ll be on your feet for extended periods, make sure to wear comfortable and sturdy shoes that can withstand the dancing and walking. Avoid heels or narrow shoes that may cause discomfort.
  • Accessorize: Complete your carnival look with accessories such as colorful headpieces, masks, statement jewelry, and props that complement your costume. These finishing touches can elevate your ensemble and add that extra wow factor.

Remember that the Rio Carnival is all about self-expression and having fun. Embrace your individuality, be creative with your costume and makeup, and let your personality shine through. Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant world of the carnival and create memories that will last a lifetime!


Accommodation and Transportation

Attending the Rio Carnival is an exciting adventure, and proper planning for accommodation and transportation can help enhance your overall experience. Here are some tips to consider:



  • Book Early: Rio Carnival attracts a massive influx of tourists, so it’s essential to book your accommodation well in advance. This ensures availability and offers you a better chance of securing a place that suits your preferences and budget.
  • Stay Near the Action: Consider booking accommodation near the Sambadrome or in neighborhoods known for their vibrant carnival atmosphere, such as Copacabana, Ipanema, or Lapa. This will allow you easier access to the parades and street parties.
  • Choose a Safe Area: Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful city, but like any major urban area, it’s important to prioritize safety. Research and select accommodations in areas known for their safety and consider opting for reputable hotels or guesthouses.
  • Consider Shared Accommodation: If you’re on a budget, consider staying in hostels or sharing accommodations with fellow travelers. This not only helps save money but also offers an opportunity to meet like-minded people from around the world.


  • Plan Your Routes ahead of Time: Familiarize yourself with the carnival venues and plan your transportation routes accordingly. Take note of road closures and changes in public transportation schedules during the carnival period.
  • Use Public Transportation: Rio de Janeiro has an extensive public transportation network, including buses and the metro, which can be an efficient and cost-effective way to get around the city. Be prepared for larger crowds and consider using prepaid cards for easy fare payment.
  • Consider Ride-Sharing Apps: Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are popular in Rio de Janeiro and can provide a convenient and reliable way to travel to and from carnival events. Just be aware of potential surge pricing during peak times.
  • Stay Alert and Secure: While using public transportation or taxis, it’s important to remain vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings. Avoid displaying valuable items and be cautious of pickpockets in crowded areas.
  • Walk Safely: If your accommodation is within a reasonable distance from the carnival venues, consider walking to save money and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere. However, exercise caution, especially at night, and stick to well-lit and crowded areas.

By planning your accommodation and transportation in advance, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience during the Rio Carnival. Remember to be flexible, allow for extra time in your schedule, and embrace the vibrant energy of the city as you make your way to the various carnival events.


Safety Tips for Rio Carnival

While the Rio Carnival is a celebration of joy and togetherness, it’s important to prioritize safety to ensure a memorable and incident-free experience. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind during the carnival:

  • Stay Alert and Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Like any major event, Rio Carnival can attract a large crowd, which may attract pickpockets and opportunistic thieves. Stay vigilant, keep an eye on your belongings, and avoid displaying valuable items unnecessarily.
  • Use Reliable Transportation: When traveling around the city, opt for reputable transportation options such as licensed taxis or ride-sharing apps. Avoid unmarked taxis or accepting rides from unfamiliar individuals.
  • Stick to Well-Lit and Crowded Areas: Stick to well-populated areas, especially when attending street parties or exploring the city at night. Avoid poorly lit or secluded locations which may pose safety risks.
  • Travel in Groups: It’s always safer to travel in groups, particularly during the carnival festivities. Stick with your friends, watch out for each other, and avoid walking alone late at night.
  • Keep Important Documents Secure: Carry only essential documents such as a copy of your passport or an identification card. Leave your original passport and other valuables securely locked in your accommodation.
  • Stay Hydrated and Protect Your Skin: The Brazilian sun can be intense, especially during the carnival. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and wear sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburn.
  • Follow Official Guidelines and Instructions: Stay updated with the official guidelines and instructions provided by authorities or event organizers. Pay attention to any safety announcements or emergency protocols that may be in place.
  • Drink Responsibly: While it’s common to enjoy drinks during the carnival, always drink responsibly and be mindful of your alcohol consumption. Pace yourself and be aware of your limits to avoid any health or safety risks.
  • Respect Local Customs: Embrace the local customs and traditions, and show respect for the cultural diversity of Rio Carnival. Be mindful of your behavior and avoid engaging in any disrespectful or offensive actions.
  • Use Reliable ATMs and Exchange Currency Safely: When withdrawing cash or exchanging currency, use ATMs located in reputable banks or secure locations. Be cautious when handling large sums of money and avoid displaying it in public.

By following these safety tips and using common sense, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience during the Rio Carnival. Remember that your well-being is paramount, so always prioritize safety while immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the carnival celebration.


Must-See Attractions in Rio de Janeiro

While attending the Rio Carnival is undoubtedly a highlight of your trip, Rio de Janeiro offers a plethora of breathtaking attractions that are worth exploring. Here are some must-see attractions to add to your itinerary:

  • Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor): This iconic statue perched atop Corcovado Mountain is a symbol of Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy panoramic views of the city from its vantage point and marvel at the stunning craftsmanship of this towering structure.
  • Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar): Ride the cable car up to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for mesmerizing views of the city and its surrounding landscapes. Sunset is an especially magical time to visit.
  • Copacabana Beach: Experience the quintessential Rio beach vibes at Copacabana Beach. Relax on its golden sands, take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean, and soak up the energetic atmosphere of this famous beachfront.
  • Ipanema Beach: Known for its beauty and surf, Ipanema Beach is another must-visit spot. Take a stroll along the beach promenade, watch the locals play beach volleyball, and witness stunning sunsets over the ocean.
  • Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí: Even when it’s not carnival season, the Sambadrome is worth a visit. Explore the venue where the grand parades take place and learn more about the history and significance of the Rio Carnival.
  • Jardim Botânico de Rio de Janeiro: Escape the city buzz and explore the tranquility of the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden. Discover a vast collection of native and exotic plants, including the impressive Imperial Palm Trees.
  • Santa Teresa: This bohemian neighborhood is filled with charming cobblestone streets, colorful colonial houses, art galleries, and boisterous nightlife. Enjoy the eclectic atmosphere and visit the iconic Selarón Steps.
  • Lapa Arches (Arcos da Lapa): These impressive arches are a historical landmark and a symbol of Rio de Janeiro’s rich architectural heritage. Lapa is known for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars and clubs lining the streets.
  • Tijuca National Park: Explore the world’s largest urban forest, Tijuca National Park. Hike through lush trails, visit iconic viewpoints like Vista Chinesa and Cascatinha, and marvel at the diverse flora and fauna.
  • Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã): Immerse yourself in thought-provoking exhibits at this futuristic museum. Learn about sustainability, technology, and the challenges facing our planet, while exploring the stunning architectural design.

These are just a few of the many incredible attractions that Rio de Janeiro has to offer. Take the time to explore the city, embrace its vibrant culture, and be captivated by its natural beauty. Whether you’re immersing yourself in the carnival festivities or exploring its renowned landmarks, Rio de Janeiro is a destination that will leave you awe-inspired and wanting to come back for more.



The Rio Carnival is an extraordinary celebration of culture, music, and joy that draws millions of people from around the world to the vibrant streets of Rio de Janeiro. From the grand parades at the Sambadrome to the lively street parties and blocos, the carnival is a spectacle that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime.


The rich history and traditions of the Rio Carnival, rooted in the fusion of African, European, and Indigenous influences, make it a unique celebration that showcases the diversity and resilience of Brazilian culture. The elaborate costumes, mesmerizing samba rhythms, and infectious energy of the carnival create an atmosphere of pure excitement and celebration.


Planning your visit to the Rio Carnival involves careful consideration of accommodation, transportation, and safety. Booking accommodation in advance, staying near the carnival venues, and prioritizing safety precautions will contribute to a smooth and enjoyable experience.


While the carnival is the main event, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the many attractions Rio de Janeiro has to offer. From the iconic landmarks like Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain to the vibrant beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, Rio has something for everyone.


Whether you’re dancing to the infectious samba beats, admiring the elaborate costumes, or immersing yourself in the vibrant street parties, the Rio Carnival promises an unforgettable experience filled with incredible memories to cherish for a lifetime.


So, pack your bags, let your spirit soar, and get ready to be swept away by the magic of the Rio Carnival. Embrace the joy, unity, and cultural richness of this magnificent event – a celebration that truly embodies the spirit of Brazil.