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Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro


Rio de Janeiro, Special carnival – From February 22nd to February 23rd, 2009
Circuit Special carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian Carnival

Considered one of the largest popular celebrations on the planet, the Carnival of Brazil is one of the clichés (along with soccer and cafe) through which the world perceives the country.  So numerous are the manifestations of the Brazilian carnivals that it surely would not be wise to imagine these events as a uniform phenomenon.

In Rio de Janeiro, the Carnival - a true Carioca institution, usually takes place inside the Sambodromo, a gigantic concrete structure reaching close to a kilometer in length.  The Carioca conceived the Sambodromo expressly for this annual celebration.  So famous is this building and its celebration that all sorts of anonymous celebrities attend from all over the world.
A synthesis of the Carnival-show styles from all over the country, the Carnival of Rio is a competition showcase for which all the samba schools, city and country wide, train passionately for an entire year.

When the parade starts, the Sambodromo and its concrete expanse transform into a colorful, noisy, shimmering, and undulating mass.  In a downpour of decibels, hundreds of competition participants, in gaudy and vibrant costumes, accompany or ride the floats in total frenzy.  A very formal jury judges and attribute points to the different competing schools for originality, quality, execution, and presentation of theme, costume, dance, and even the gigantic plaster sculptures.  The jury observes every aspect of the celebration to elect the best school of the year.
Day 1 / Feb 19th, 09: DEPARTURE

Airport pick up (time and flight number to be confirmed) and transfer to the hotel. We settle in, and then visit town with our English-speaking guide.
Climb to the Corcovado, universally known symbol of the town of Rio.
By car, we climb to an elevation of 700 meters above sea level. Once on the summit, we take the time to appreciate the unique and enchanting panoramic view of the “cidade maravilhosa” (magnificent city).
Rio spreads under our feet, majestic and languid. This advantageous viewpoint gives us a better understanding of the physical and “social” topography of the town.
We descend via Santa Teresa, which used to be one of the wealthiest residential neighborhoods of Rio, at the time when the town was the capital of Brazil and all the principal powers where located there.
Surrounded by the agglomeration, the neighborhood has lost its exclusive character, and the wealth of the area has moved to the Southwest of Rio, to Barra da Tijuca.
Santa Teresa shelters today an unconventional population, constituting the bohemian quarter of modern Rio.
We stroll through this neighborhood to get a taste of its quaint and dated atmosphere.
Along its narrow and winding streets, we can admire some splendid houses dating from the 19th century and catch a glimpse of the soul of a Rio from another time.
The best way to realize this nostalgic trip is to take the bondinho, a little wooden tramway, and a miraculous vestige from the start of the 20th century, and the most famous symbol of Santa Teresa.
During the descent to Lapa, we visit the colored staircase or "Escadaria do Convento da Santa Teresa", decorated by Jorge Selarón.
This autodidactic Chilean artist is one of the best-known personalities of this neighborhood.
After exhibiting his paintings around the world, he settled in Brazil in 1983 and spontaneously decided to decorate this staircase with a multicolored mosaic in perpetual evolution.
His ambition is to link the neighborhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa, by covering the staircases with thousands of azulejos (ceramic tile work). We might have the opportunity to see him at work …
We, later, reach the cable cart taking us to the summit of the Sugarloaf (el. 400 m.a.s.l.) the symbol of Rio, marking the entrance of the Bay of Guanabara.
Return to our hotel at 17:00.
Entrance fee to Corcovado and Sugarloaf included. Meals not included. Night in hotel.
Option: Helicopter flight of a few minutes from the mirador of Dona Marta.

Recommended for lunch: the restaurant Sobrenatural
Near Largo Dos Guimarães, at the heart of Santa Teresa, Sobrenatural offers a charming and relaxing decor.

Varied menu to satisfy all tastes, we particularly recommend the fish and seafood plates, to be sampled with a cold beer.
Day 3 / Feb 21st, 09: RIO / THE FAVELAS & THE CENTER

Departure from the hotel at 09:00 by minibus (group service, 4 to 9 person max). A specialized guide takes us on an "off-the-beaten-path" visit: the favelas. These incursions of a few hours in a different reality of Rio, gives us a complete and realistic vision of life in Carioca, far from the images of violence or of poverty that are the only ones transmitted by a media lacking originality.
At the heart of these popular and "lawless" neighborhoods (the favelas are originally illegal land occupations), Brazilians organize themselves and live in a dignified and solitary manner.
In the afternoon, visit of Rio’s city center, where in a few minutes we pass from a colossal avenue framed by imposing glass buildings to quaint, small streets and their little affordable shops. Many styles, one frame of mind, this is the best definition to describe the architectural cocktail of the center, where past and modernism coexist in harmony.
Among the possible visits (to be coordinated with the guide depending on opening times, of your centers of interest, of eventual manifestations organized that day): Imperial Municipal (replicate of the Opera Garnier in France), foundation Banco do Brasil, casa da França (old custom house), national History museum, largo da Carioca, convento Santo Antônio, metropolitan cathedral, plaza Tiradentes ...
And if you feel like it, go for a cold beer at Luis’ bar where the decor seems to not have changed since its construction… at the beginning of the 19th century.
Return to the hotel at 17:00.
Entrance to museums and monuments included. Meals not included. Night in hotel.
Note 1: an association founded by people originally from the favelas organizes the visits to the favelas.
This association donates a significant part of their income to the inhabitants of the neighborhood by financing development or social projects.
In 2007, their contribution reached close to $ 22,000 US.
Note 2: For the visit of the center, avoid Sundays and holidays.

Recommended for lunch: the Confeitaria Colombo / except on Sundays

This place is the living portrait of the Carioca epoch, and the gastronomical reference of the city. Its famous Belgium mirrors, its showcases in jacaranda wood, its balconies of Italian marble and its light fixtures, all stayed intact, contributed to write the country’s history.

In the middle of the day, our English-speaking guide meets us at the hotel and takes us to the discovery of a different aspect of Rio’s carnival: its street carnival.
From Copacabana to Ipanema via Flamengo and Santa Teresa, we explore town in search of spontaneous neighborhood parades, totally unbridled and 100 % popular.
The itinerary will be defined in accordance with the guide, in function of the “official” program.
It can be modified at any time depending on unforeseeable circumstances, unannounced events, spontaneous inspiration, or invitations that we may receive during the day. An opportunity to let ourselves be carried away by the sweet madness of the carnival…
Return to the hotel at the end of the day.

Meals open. Night in hotel.
Day 5 / Feb 23rd, 09: RIO / CARNAVAL AT SAMBODROMO

Day open to witness the Carnival in the streets.
The parade leaves from the Sambodromo starting at 21:00, and goes on until 05:00 …
It is possible to reserve seats in various areas of the Sambodromo, but prices and quality differ.
- Sector 9: the most expensive, but with numbered seats allowing you to arrive whenever is convenient and still get a good seat. Traditionally it is the area selected by the foreign spectators.
- Other sectors: more economical.
Note: rates will be variable, depending on the availability of seats within the different viewing areas at the Sambodromo.

Entrance to the Sambodromo included. Meals open. Night in hotel.
Option: be accompanied to the Sambodromo by an English-speaking guide.

Note: possibility of switching day 1 and 2 of the Carnival (Sambodromo the 22nd Feb and street carnival the 23rd Feb).

Sambodromo parades’ program

To be published

Day 6 / Feb 24th, 09: RIO DE JANEIRO

Day open.
Meals not included. Night in a hotel.

Day 7 / Feb 25th, 09: RIO DE JANEIRO / DEPARTURE

Departure from the hotel for a private transfer to the airport 3 hours before take off. International flight (not included / time and flight number to be confirmed)

Option to continue your stay in Brazil on the Costa Verde, in Iguaçu Falls, Salvador or other places in Brazil (contact us).


During the Carnival period, all the hotels use a “pacote” system, which is a package offering a pre-defined number of nights. Most of them are 5-nights packages.
Some of them are “adjustable”, meaning that it is possible to postpone your stay for two days. It is mandatory to adjust your travel dates to those packages.
It will always be possible to stay only one night in a hotel, but you will have to pay anyway the full package (which is not negotiable).


Guides at every stop when mentioned, private transportations except when specified, hotels in double rooms with breakfasts except when specified (we can not guarantee breakfasts for any departure before 6 am.), lunches and diners when mentioned “included”, sites entrances except when specified “not included”, visits and excursions mentioned.

Not included

International return flights, domestic flights (see Brazil Air Pass, to be purchased out of Brazil), airports fees (domestic and international), options, individual equipment, individual insurance, lunches and diners when mentioned “not included” (about 3 to 15 euros / per. / meal), visits when not mentioned.


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