The Rio Carnival is the greatest party on earth - an amazing spectacle of colour and costumes set to the sultry sounds of samba music. It's a once in a lifetime experience, joining thousands of Cariocas in a six-day frenzy of dancing and celebration! Our Independent Carnival Package allows for you to experience Rio Carnival with the greatest level of independence - you pick and choose which activities you want to do in Rio de Janeiro from our 3-star hotel in the lively Flamengo district. The Independent Carnival Package includes much sought-after tickets to the Sambadrome, home of the world-famous and mind-blowing parades, and we can also help with a large range of optional activities such as going to the Gay Ball, visiting a favela community project, taking a half-day guided tour of Corcovado and another to Sugar Loaf Mountain, and even joining the Sambadrome parade itself! These optional activities must be requested before carnival starts, so please get in touch with the Dragoman Sales Team if you'd like to book these fantastic highlights!
Border information: if you are joining in Rio de Janeiro, you will most likely enter Brazil at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport.
The first day of Rio Carnival is free time as everyone will be arriving at various times throughout the day to start the package. Our hotel check-in is from midday, and Dragoman staff will be on hand to give you assistance.
There will be a joining meeting in the late afternoon - please check the notice board in the lobby/reception area for the exact times for your meeting.
After the meeting we have a table booked at a nearby buffet restaurant if you would like to join your leader and group for a meal.
In Rio de Janeiro we will stay in a great hotel in the Flamengo district, accommodation is in shared rooms in twins, triples and quadruple rooms. Our hotel is close to the beach and the metro station.
This morning we will go for an orientation walk with our local guide to get to know the local area and orientate ourselves. Afterwards you will have free time, perhaps head to one of the local 'bloccos' or street parties. If you do go to a blocco, just remember that they are hot and crowded so be prepared for a squeeze! the locals cariocas will be all dressed up, so don't forget to dress to impress!
In the evening there is an option to join us for a night of dancing and live music at the Rio Scenarium, one of the best nightspots in Rio - it's like an antiques warehouse, music venue, bar and restaurant all housed in one amazing colonial mansion. Often it's best to eat beforehand, as during carnival the food service can be slow! It's 65BRL entrance, plus your food and drinks.
Today is a free day for you to explore Rio until this evening, when we will head to the Sambadrome!
Early this morning, we will be running an optional guided tour to Corcovado - please pre-book with your agent if you'd like to join us. We will head to Corcovado and its world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer for a half-day guided tour. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is one of the most iconic sights of Rio de Janeiro, and if the weather is clear there is also a fantastic view over the rest of the city including Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). If you have opted for this tour you will be picked up at the hotel by an English speaking guide and travel in an air conditioned bus. We normally charter a private tram to the top of Corcovado mountain which means that we are the first ones to arrive and have the statue to ourselves for a short time - a fantastic privilege at any time of year but particularly during the busy carnival time. We will aim for the same arrangements this year but please note that there is no guarantee that we will be able to secure a private tram.
In the evening it's time for the main event of the week - the parade in the Sambadrome. The top samba schools parade their fantastic floats and costumes and the party goes on well into the early hours of Monday morning. You'll be situated in sector 13, the most lively of the sectors where local Cariocas are supporting their favourite Samba schools by singing and dancing. The sector is at the very end of the runway and you have the chance of collecting parts of the costumes as some dancers will throw them up in to the stand. You will travel between the hotel and the Sambadrome by Metro (tickets included), accompanied by English speaking guides who will also be with you inside the Sambadrome. As people wish to leave at different times, there will be pre-determined times when you will be able to go back to the hotel with a guide.
Please note that sector 13 is set back a bit from the actual runway so does not offer the best close up views of the parade - if you should wish, there is the option to upgrade to sector 11 for a much closer view of the parade, which is highly recommended if you're interested in photography and would like the best pictures of the costumes and floats. The same guide and travel arrangements as for sector 13 will apply. Please book with your agent if you'd like to upgrade.
This morning is free for you to recover from last night in the Sambadrome! It's a great chance to hit the beach, explore the city or simply have a lie in.
In the afternoon we have the chance to go on an optional guided visit to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), rising almost 400 metres above the harbour. If you have opted for this tour you will be picked up at the hotel by an English speaking guide and travel in an air conditioned bus. We will take the cable car up to the top, from where there's a chance of seeing the wonderful vistas over the city and Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. If the weather is clear you will also be able to see Christ the Redeemer looking down at the city from the top of Corcovado mountain.
In the evening we have the chance to re-visit the Sambadrome to see the last 6 of the elite Samba schools parading. The seats tonight are in Sector 5, situated at the start of the runway and offering close up views of the parade. You will travel between the hotel and the Sambadrome by Metro (tickets included) with an English speaking guide.
There is also the option to don a costume and take part in the parade itself, dancing your way down the Sambadrome runway - a once in a lifetime experience! You will travel between the hotel and the Sambadrome by Metro (tickets included) with an English speaking guide who will also accompany you during the parade.
Please note you will need to pre-book these activities in advance with your agent or direct with Dragoman
Today is free day for you to explore the city and an opportunity to have a walk along the beaches, maybe a swim or maybe just a long lie in! The famous sweep of Copacabana Beach is probably the most talked about length of sand on the planet. It is a fantastic location with Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) at one end whilst far in the distance you see further peaks covered in Atlantic rainforest. There are plenty of small cafes serving drinks and snacks along the beachside pavement, when you are ready for a break from the sand. In this stunning location even the pavements are beautiful, with white and black tiles forming waves and patterns. Late evening there's the option to attend the famous gay ball!
We have one final optional activity, a visit to a Community project within one of the Favellas, which usually takes places on a Tuesday afternoon, though the day is yet to be confirmed for 2018. Morrinho is the name used by the youth of the Pereira da Silva favela for their scale model of a favela made basically with bricks. The Morrinho began in 1998, when Nelcirlan (14 years old at that time) starting building the Morrinho, together with his brother Maycon. Today, the Morrinho model occupies an area of 300 square metres in the community Pereira da Silva and has a wealth of details such as funk clubs, police, drugs sales points, alleys, staircases, small bars etc. The model is now being used to generate money by the NGO Morrinho, a charity that provides professional qualifications to the residents of the Pereirão Community through workshops including audiovisual production, art-education, Brazilian culture, and youth and citizenship. The charity is also involved in utilising the project as a film set, which has raised awareness of how harsh life is for shanty town dwellers. The trip includes a donation of 50 BRL to the charity.
In the evening we have the chance to put on our most outrageous outfits and head to the Gay Ball! The balls at Carnival are part of the whole experience and this has been the most popular ball from previous years. If you are going to visit just one ball then this is the one we recommend! Put aside any inhibitions you may have, get your costume sorted - plenty of glitter absolutely necessary - and get dancing with all the other partygoers. It is a fantastic experience and people are generally very friendly with loads of photo opportunities and some incredible sights! Music is a variety of samba and more modern music so there's something for everyone, and if dancing is really not your thing there is plenty of people watching to do.
The ticket to the Gay Ball includes the entrance and free national drinks. You will need to make your own way to and from the Gay Ball with your fellow travellers, this is an unguided activity.
The Carnival package finishes after breakfast today. Our hotel check-out is at 12 noon, and you can depart at any time or spend the day exploring further or relaxing.
If you are joining one of our Overland Tours, there will be an important Pre-Departure meeting this evening.
Border information: if you are leaving in Rio de Janeiro, you will most likely exit Brazil at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport.
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Trip Name: 2017 Independent Carnival Package
Duration: 6 Days
From Price: 995
Trip Code: 160041
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