We spent a full week in Rio; we biked, walked, got lost, drank Caipirinha’s and partied in the city. The highlight of the week was being part of Carnaval, if you hear the samba drums there is usually a party going on! We were excited to get to Rio after travelling none stop for the last 3 weeks, it was so nice to be in one place for more than a couple of days and we had an apartment booked just 2 blocks from Copacabana beach, yeah.
Rio is a huge city with a spectacular backdrop; it is sandwiched between the coast and the mountains. Rio is well known for some amazing landmarks Christ the Redeemer sitting on top of Corcovado Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain standing at the entrance to the bay and everyone has heard of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. For footie fans the Maracna stadium is the place to go, it was renovated to host the world cup final in 2014 and the Olympic Games later this year. Carnaval was the main draw for us, to see the iconic floats and colours from the samba schools and of course the street celebrations (known as Blocos and Bandas).
The Samba schools parades at the Sambadrome was an amazing evening and one of the highlights of Rio de Janeiro, the Sambadrome is a 700 meter purpose built arena constructed in 1984 either side of an existing road with a capacity of 90,000.
We watched 3 Samba schools compete in the time we were there although there was a total of 6 on the night, each school has about 30,000 people in the parade and they have between 60 and 90 minutes to complete their parade through the Sambadrome, the schools are marked in 10 different categories and the competition is very fierce.
The size of the floats was amazing with some of them having dozens of dancers all shaking everything they had, which was making them bounce up and down, together with the attention to detail and along with the 100’s of brilliant costumes it is such a huge event to put together and to pull of successfully they deserve a lot of praise and credit.