Rio De Janeiro is the former capital of Brazil and is the most populated city there. It is highly impressive city with huge skyscrapers, fantastic beaches and a great party atmosphere at night. It does obviously have a well documented ‘dark side’ to it. From the favelas in the shanty towns around the edge of the city to the street crime many people are put off from travelling to Rio but really there is nothing to worry about at all. If you are in London, New York or Milan you have as much chance of being victim of a crime as in Rio. Rio just gets a lot of bad press coverage when something does happen there. As long as you stick to the main part of the city and the touristy areas you will not have a problem, it is only when you go to the outskirts of the city that it is possible to run into trouble. One of the other main things to look out for when traveling there is fake taxis, always make sure they have the correct certifications on them before getting in one and try and not go alone. This is how many tourists get mugged and kid napped.
Aside from the beaches, the clubs, the bars, the food and the weather Rio is also excellent for one other thing and that is the carnival, when people think of Rio they generally think of the carnival, there is no other party like it on the face of the earth. The modern Brazilian carnival originated in Rio and started in 1641. ‘Blocos’ are a group of people who dress in costumes and play percussion or in a music group and represent a certain neighborhood and nowadays have become a big feature of the Rio carnival. There are now over 100 groups of ‘Blocos’ and the number is increasing every year, they often will stay in certain neighborhoods or outside a bar to attract customers.
The Rio carnival is held four days before Ash Wednesday and is believed to have been created as a farewell to sex before lent starts and in turn the season of religious discipline. There is a samba competition and the winner gets the ‘sambodromo’ (open stage), the competition lasts about 4 days and is the main focal point of the carnival, the samba schools organize a parade and vie for this throughout the carnival. This is why you see people large dance groups with fantastic costumes going down the middle of the streets when you see the Rio carnival on TV.
Apart from all the history of the Rio carnival and what the Brazilians do to celebrate it there is also what you do and the answer to that it, whatever you want! The Rio carnival is just literally one big party that lasts 4 days, if you want to dance you dance, if you want to drink you drink, if you want to eat you eat, it’s as simple as that. It will be the kind of experience you will never forget and will show you why the Brazilians are so well know for their samba dancing. If you have the opportunity to be there when the Rio carnival is on then you should take it.
It isn’t just in Rio where the carnivals are however, they are all over Brazil whether you are in Sao Paulo, Salvador, Porto Seguro or Recife, they all have their own take on a carnival and they are all great spectacles. The Rio carnival is something else though, it takes it to a whole new level of celebration.