Visit Rio during Carnaval and have the time of your life!

Fancy dancing samba in the street from dusk 'til dawn? There's no greater party on earth than this iconic festival of Rio de Janeiro, so focus on perfecting those saucy samba steps. Join the conga line, move and shake in the drum-fuelled street parties, witness the festivities reach their dizzying climax and get swept up in this magic celebration of life. This is the ideal extension to any South American trip or a great adventure in its own right. Sign up for the party of a lifetime and join the spectacle of Rio Carnaval.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Festivals and Events
Physical rating
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 22

Why you'll love this trip

  • Witness the kaleidoscopic colours of the Sambadrome

  • Experience the pulsating energy of Rio

  • Soak up spectacular views from Corcovado Mountain

  • Marvel at the legendary Christ the Redeemer monument

  • Ride a cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain

  • Cruise the waters of Guanabara Bay

  • Dance up a storm in Rio, the world's samba capital


Bem-vindo to Rio!

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.

Optional activity: Join your group and your guide for a welcome meal in Rio de Janeiro. Approximate cost: BRL50
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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. Rio Scenarium is a night club, a restaurant and an antiques warehouse all rolled into one and covers three amazing floors in a superb colonial mansion. During Carnival time there are usually live bands, Samba forro and gafiera music. It’s a great way to experience Carioca life!

It’s a huge building crammed with works of art, antiques, mannequins and all sorts of interesting bits and pieces. But the real reason to visit is for a night of dancing, enjoying the music and having a few drinks with your fellow Carnival goers.

The price includes your advance ticket booking with table seating, one way transport and the services of a Guide to accompany you there, please note you’ll be able to make your own way home when you decide to leave – we suggest sharing a taxi.

Included activity: Take an introductory walking tour to get to know the local area and then join a street parade with your guide to experience how the Cariocas (people of Rio) celebrate carnival.

Optional activity: Rio Scenarium. Entrance ticket 65BRL, drinks, food and transport home are at your own expense. Pay locally.

Samba Class & Rio Scenarium. What better way to kick off your Carnival week than with a night of Samba with a professional dance instructor? Learn a little more of this rhythm in a lively classroom that will teach you the basic steps of the Samba and prepare you for an unforgettable evening in a traditional samba club, in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. Rio is the cultural capital of Brazil, and Samba it’s official rhythm. USD90

Half day cooking class. Learn a selection of Brazil´s favourite recipes in one fun cooking class. Please note we have a maximum of 14 places available for this class.USD70
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.

Included: Party all night to the fantastic sounds and sights of the Samba schools parade on Sector 13

Optional: Half day guided tour of Corcovado mountain and the world famous Christ the Redeemer. Approximate cost: USD90

Optional activity: Get closer to the incredible action in Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome with a ticket to Sector 11 - recommended to get some fantastic close up photos of the Samba parade! Approximate cost: USD 185

These optional activities must be pre-booked by 1st December 2018
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.

During Rio Carnival the top 12 Samba schools parade in the Sambadrome; 6 parade on the Sunday night and 6 on the Monday night.

This is your chance to return on the Monday night, but this time to Sector 5. This is nearer the start of the Parade and close to the judges. You’ll be right in the middle of the action and ready to party the night away all over again. There are some unique benefits to sitting in sectors located toward the beginning of the parade route. You will experience less lag time between the conclusion of one samba school’s procession and the beginning of the next school’s performance, and more importantly, you will have the full excitement and exhilaration of watching the opening performance of a school’s parade. The crowd goes wild, and the locals normally find the beginning moments of the parade to be the most exciting as a whole year has passed since the school’s last performance.

Optional activity: Second visit to the Sambadrome in Sector 5. Approximate cost: USD 270. This includes a ticket for sector 5, Metro tickets and a guide to accompany you to and from the Sambadrome.

Optional activity: Half day guided tour of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). Approximate cost: USD 97

Optional activity: Join in and be part of the Sambadrome Parade, an experience of a lifetime! Approximate cost: USD 820
All these optional activities must be booked before 1st December 2018

Some important notes:

You need to be physically fit to partake in the parade - it can be very hot and
physically demanding.

A ticket to enter the Sambadrome as a spectator is not included. If you wish to see the remainder of the parade you will need to buy an entry ticket separately in advance (see Return to the Sambadrome).

You must give us your shoe and clothing size at the time of booking. Please refer to for the appropriate costume sizing. It is advisable to order one shoe size larger than usual
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.

Optional Activity:

Jungle Tour. After a week of partying, escape the city and head into the Tijuca National Park, one of the biggest urban rainforests in the world, located in the heart of Rio. USD105

  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.

Optional activity: Visit the iconic Escadaria Selaron, a colourful tiled staircase lovingly created by local resident Jorge Selaron. Free

Optional activity: Explore the stunning natural Atlanic rainforest of Tijuca, the largest urban forest in the world. Free

Optional activity: Explore the magnificent Botanical Gardens of Rio de Janeiro, with over 54 hectares and 6500 species of plants and flowers. Approximate cost: BRL 8

Optional activity: Relax and explore the world famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro, including Ipanema, Arpoador, and of course Copacabana. Free

Optional activity: Visit the Museu da República, and learn all about the turbulent recent history of Brazil and the story of the creation of the republic in 1889. Approximate cost: BRL 6

Optional activity: Visit Rio de Janeiro's Modern Art Museum, showcasing some incredible local and international art exhibitions, and an incredible building in its own right. Approximate cost: BRL 12

Optional activity: Find out all about Brazil's fascinating history by visiting the National Historical Museum in the centre of Rio de Janeiro. Approximate cost: BRL 6
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.


No meals are included on this tour


Private bus, metro


Hotel (5 nights)

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Important notes

1. You may be joined by up to 140 fellow travellers on this trip however will be split into smaller groups of up to 24 for included activities.
2. There are several optional activities available with this itinerary, and which must be booked by 1st January. These are listed under each day in the trip notes. Please see Trip Notes (Optional Activities) for booking instructions.

Essential trip information

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