How to samba through Rio Carnaval with style — and sleep
Carnaval is the biggest, sexiest, most exciting party in Rio — even when you compare it to the Games
If you thought you missed the big party in Rio de Janeiro last summer, when the city hosted South America’s first Olympic Games, take heart: you still have a chance to go to Carnaval, which culminates this year on February 27 and 28 after a few weeks of build-up. And for what it’s worth, Carnaval is the biggest, sexiest, most exciting party in Rio — even when you compare it to the Games. That wasn’t always the case. "Outside of a few great parties and the main events at the Sambadrome [or Sambódromo, where the dance competitions take place], Carnaval used to be pretty subdued," said Martin Frankenberg, a Brazil specialist at travel company Matuete. The Carnaval one sees in movies is a recent reinvention. "It’s what Carnaval was originally about — street parties, free love, free everything. We’ve seen a huge resurgence of that. Now the street parties take over the city in a huge way, whereas 10 years ago, it used to be pretty subdued." He calls the current version "food for your soul...