19 Feb 2019 289
Fernanda Meneguetti Devorável
#carnival #events #tips

Getting into the carnival spirit in Rio 2019

Learn from the Rio locals how to make the most of the city's most famous season

For a good part of the year, the Brazilians just want to escape the stereotype of "Brazil, carnival country". However, when it starts every year, it is all around : many businesses close after Ash Wednesday, the blocos (a wide range of street bands) invade the streets, the feijoadas (parties serving the famous bean and meat stew) with samba become widespread and yes, attending or watching the parades at the Marquês de Sapucaí or on TV is another tradition.

Speaking of which, the first samba school was created in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1920s. It was called Deixa Falar, that went on to become Estácio de Sá. Since then, hundreds of schools have emerged, and the Rio Sambódromo came into existence, giving rise to a ritual: to watch everything from a camarote, or stand.

The most legendary, the Camarote da Brahma, exclusively for a select few invitees, became Camarote No.1, that works only on the Special Group days (Sunday and Monday of Carnival) and the Champions Parade (the following Saturday). These invites cost no less than R$2,200 for women and R$2,600 for men. Expensive ? Yes, but the tickets always sell out. That means if you're interested, now is the time to get yours !!

Photo: RioTur. Elisangela Leite
Luckily, there is less pricey entertainment which is just as lively. On the following Saturday (23 February), for example, the São Conrado seaside area comes to life with the event Grito de Carnaval at the QuiQui kiosk. Between songs, the samba circle will sing the verses "sem fake news, sem blá, blá, blá! Já é carnaval, vamos quiquizar !!" created especially for the season. Entry to the party is free, nevertheless, and whoever buys a themed T-shirt (R$ 50) receives a sample of the delights from the kitchen. There are sausages, feijoada pie, caipirinha . ..
Although locals don't say cheers with just caipirinhas! So much so that mixologist Alex Mesquita concocted festive cocktails (from R$ 30) for the period at Espaço7zero6. With stunning panoramic views of Ipanema, you can toast with Cedilla Sours, Gin with Blueberries and with Dona Flor (with rum), Aperol, Sicilian lemon, vanilla, star fruit and edible flowers. This is a perfect alternative for a post-bloco tipple in the neighbourhood. The most popular bloco around there is the Banda de Ipanema, in which 100,000 people dance from Rua Gomes Carneiro to Praça General Osório.
Naming just one route is an injustice, since Rio plays host to some 500 departures of this type throughout the whole city. Carnival involves an action-packed agenda that still has not been disclosed by Riotur (Empresa de Turismo do Município do Rio de Janeiro S.A.). If you're ready to face this hedonistic (and exhausting !!) experience, make sure you fit in, between one bloco and another, the classic energy refuel : the feijoada.

Among the various options, those held on samba schools must be purchased in advance. And well, apart from indulging in the food, the idea is to samba and support your favourite school. However, be prepared, as trying to get a ticket to the feijuca da Mangueira or Portela can be frustrating . ..

In this case, breathe deeply and remember the tip: away from the circuit in Barra da Tijuca, Pobre Juan serves a full Rio-style feijoada with dried meat, loin, salted rib, three kinds of sausage, accompanied by cassava flour in butter, white rice, cabbage, orange and crackling. A filling meal costing R$ 159.40 for two people. Yet another way to get into the carnival spirit in the Marvellous City.
Without losing the rhythm, don't forget to squeeze in a few dips in the ocean and lots of coconut water - the beaches at this time also shake to the sound of great samba!

Soak up this experience at the PortoBay Rio de Janeiro hotel !!
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