Tickets

1) Unlike most Rio Carnival ticket vendors, we do not have a handling fee. 2) We are an ARC/IATA licensed agency. 3) We provide you with the best customer service, offering assistance over the phone, email, or by skype. You can talk directly with our seasoned Rio Carnival experts. 4) For your convenience, we offer a Carnival Help Desk during Rio Carnival. 5) We are here to provide you with all the most up-to-date, relevant information and services necessary to Book your Rio Carnival Package!
The Sambadrome was designed by Oscar Neimeyer with the spectator in mind. Because of this almost every ticket in the house is pretty good, However, if you are truly looking for the best tickets for the parade we recommend the Front Box Tickets, also known as Frisas Tickets. Located on the same level as the parade runway, these tickets are so close you can actually feel the body heat emanating from the members of the Samba Schools parading directly before you. This unique experience makes Carnival Frisas Tickets the best tickets in the house.
Carnival tickets are available for pickup from our Carnival Help Desk located in the Hotel Atlantico Copacabana. Tickets and Shuttle Bus Transfers will be at will call under your name, and can either be be picked up with your tickets or can be Delivered to your hotel. Our delivery fee is a flat rate of $30 USD.
This depends on your budget and what you want to take out of your Rio Carnival experience. Before making your ticket purchase we strongly urge you to acquaint yourself with the layout of the Sambadrome, the various types of Rio Carnival Parade tickets offered, in addition to the evolution of the Sambadrome Parade. This means you should consider which day of parade you want to attend, the sector you would like to sit in, and the type of ticket (whether you want to sit in the grandstand bleachers, a front box, a luxury suit or in the allocated chairs).
Sure. The Sambadrome is split into various sectors, or sections. Each of these individual sectors is located directly across the parade runway from another sector, making the venue symmetrical: even numbered sectors are on one side of the runway, and odd numbered sectors are located on the other side. Each sector is numbered, and the numbers increase as you move along the half-mile stretch of the samba runway.
The Samba Schools begin their parade processions starting from the lower-numbered sectors, and slowly make their way down the Marquês de Sapucaí towards the higher-numbered sectors, ending at the Apotheosis Square.
This is a great question. As with any decision, you must weigh out the pros and cons of each section -- and there are many. However, for a quick and easy answer, most people would probably recommend sitting toward the middle of the parade route. This offers you the best views of the parade as a whole, and you can avoid some of the pitfalls related to sitting toward the beginning or the end of the runway. Most of the judges are seated toward the middle of the route, so there has to be some method to that madness. That being said, there are perks to sitting in sectors located both toward the beginning of the runway and toward the end.
First and foremost there is less of a lag time between the performances of the Samba Schools. People seated next to the Apotheosis Square can wait quite some time before the next school's procession reaches them. Second, many find the beginning of the parade to be the most exhilarating, as it is the most anxiously awaited moment of the entire parade. There has been a year since the school's last performance, and this is when the Samba School introduces its theme. The crowd goes wild, so being able to see exactly what everybody is screaming about is a clear benefit.
Just as the beginning of the parade is exciting, the end of the parade is equally exhilarating. By the time the members of the parading Samba Schools reach the end of the parade route, they are fully warmed up and offer some of the best performances of the entire parade. With the Apotheosis Square in their sight, the parading members realize that this year's Sambadrome Parade is nearing its end, so the energy picks up as they try and make the most of their remaining moments in the spotlight. There is one additional perk for those seated in Sectors 12 and 13. Located in an open air theater around the Apotheosis Square, this is where the Samba Schools gather after the parade. Many take their costumes off and leave them in the Square as they head to any one of the many parties going on throughout Rio, so sitting in these Sectors, while they are not as good for viewing the opening performances, can provide spectators with the opportunity to score a free Samba costume that you can wear to the Carnival Balls!
Yes! The Sambadrome was renovated in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games and the seating capacity was raised from 70,000 to 90,000. Also, the long Sector 2 was replaced by Sectors 2, 4, 6, and 8, and are located directly across the parading runway from Sectors 3, 5, 7, and 9. This had the effect of enhancing the acoustics within the Sambadrome, and it also enhanced the visibility of many sectors.
While the draws deciding which schools will march on which nights have not yet been decided, we can tell you that there will be four major nights for parades in the Sambadrome (Check back in December for the complete schedule). 1. Saturday, February 9th, 2013 -- 8:00 PM Ten Schools that make up Access Group A will compete in the hopes of being bumped up to the Special Group for next years Carnival. 2. Sunday, February 10th, 2013 -- 9:00 PM In this Sambadrome Parade, six out of the twelve Samba Schools that make up the Special Group will parade through the Sambadrome. The first parade of Rio Carnival 2013, this is an event not to be missed! This is sure to be one of the most exciting events of Carnival. 3. Monday, February 11th, 2013 -- 9:00 PM This Sambadrome Parade is when the remaining six Samba Schools that make up the Special Group will display their hard work. The crowds will be enormous and the processions promise to be some of the best of Carnival 2013. 4. Saturday, February 16th, 2013 -- 8:00 PM The Champion's Parade: after a winner has been announced, the Champion's Parade, in which the top six Samba Schools of the Special Group perform their prizewinning routines, promises to be an unforgettable close to Carnival 2013.
When you pick up your Sambadrome Parade ticket/s, they will come in a plastic bag as one (1) ticket attached to a lanyard, with a small segment that will be collected at the gate. If the second part of your ticket gets detached and lost, you will not gain entry into the Sambadrome. Therefore, we suggest leaving your ticket in the plastic bag until you arrive at the gate to avoid any complications. Once you pass the gates, the lanyard must be worn at all times in order to gain entry into your sector (section). You are allowed to move in and out of your sector freely, but re-entry is not permitted once you leave the gates of the Sambadrome.
Tips and Recommendations: 1. Buy your tickets through a reliable source (RioCarnival.net, licensed travel agents and reputable hotels). 2. Never purchase tickets from scalpers outside the gates or from peddlers on any street corners or beaches. 3. Don't plan on discounted prices or free admission after the parade has started. 3. Never purchase used tickets in the hopes that they will get you past the guards. They won't.
Please note that for security purposes, each transaction must be completed through separate checkouts. Checkouts can be done in groups, but each group must be purchased separately. . For example, you can buy more than one ticket to a single parade or a single ball in one checkout, but tickets to two different parades, two different balls, a parade and a ball, or a parade and a transfer must be done through separate transactions.
No . We issue you a receipt that is exchanged in rio de janeiro for the actual tickets. We can deliver them fro a US$30 delivery fee or you can pick the up at our hospitality desk in Copacabana

Transportation

You have three basic options: you can take the subway, a private taxi cab, or you can book a round trip shuttle service through our website.
You really should avoid taking busses. They will not be able to drive within walking distance of the Sambadrome.
Sure. The government has authorized two private taxi companies for transportation services to and from the Sambadrome. These companies have been granted permission to enter the area surrounding the Sambadrome, each providing services to a specific side of the Sambadrome. The Coopertramo taxi company services odd numbered sectors and can be reached at +55 21 2560-2022 OR 2560-1474. The Coopatur taxi company serves the even numbered sectors and can be reached at +55 21 3885-1000. The fare should be around US$40 for a one-way trip.
Yes, but during Rio Carnival you won't be the only one trying. The streets flood with people and vehicles, so timing the traffic can be a nightmare. If you do, it's useful to know that the fare should be approximately US40 for a one-way trip from your hotel to the Sambadrome. . Make sure you tell the driver which sector your seats are in, and establish the price before hopping in. During Rio Carnival price gauging is not uncommon. If you are not using one of the government-authorized companies, the driver can still get you within reasonable walking distance from the Sambadrome.
Taxi cabs will be parked outside Sector 9 and Sector 11. These taxis will be from one of the two government-authorized companies: Coopertramo and Coopatur. These companies will have help desks set up at the Sambadrome and uniformed agents outside the gate to assist you. Let the driver know where you want to go and establish a price before getting into the car.
Why yes you can. The subway is a convenient way to get to the Sambadrome and runs 24 hours during Rio Carnival. Trains will depart every ten minutes and will be packed with both tourists and Cariocas all throughout the night. A popular mode of transportation amongst the parade members, you'll see lot of colorful costumes. One regular days, the subway will take you within a ten minute walk to the Sambadrome, but with the crowds the walk can take up to a half hour. Where you get off the subway depends on which side of the Sambadrome your tickets are located (even or odd sectors).
For even-numbered sectors you'll want to get off at the "Praça Onze" subway station. When you exit the station turn right twice (right and then right again). For sector 2 you'll walk straight ahead until you reach the Sambadrome. For sector 11 and sector 12 you'll want to take Rua Carmo Neto road and walk down Av. Salvador de Sá until you see the Sambadrome.
For odd-numbered sectors you should exit at the "Central" subway station (Estação Central do Brasil). You can follow the crowd until you reach the Sambodromo. You'll know you're heading in the right direction if you pass Samba Land and the floats of the Samba Schools.
There are three subway stations in Copacabana: 1) Estação Cantagalo on Praça Eugenio Jardim 2) Estaçao Siqueira Campos on Rua Siqueira Campos 3) Estaçao Cardeal Arcoverde on Rua Barata Ribeiro
The subway station you'll want to take in Ipanema is called Estacao General Osorio and is located on Praça General Osório.
Yes. Security is very tight all around Rio during Carnival. That said, take this with a grain of salt. The subways will be packed, so while there will be Police everywhere, it's always advisable to exercise caution. Come prepared and keep your valuables out of sight.
A station is called an "Estação", and the subway in general is referred to as "Rio Metro".
Metro Rio tickets come in two forms: Pré-Pago and Unitário. Pré-Pago is a prepaid metro card, with a minimum initial charge of R$ 10, and a minimum refill of R$ 5. These cards are available for purchase at all stations and ATM machines. Unitário metro cards are single ride fares and cost R$ 3.20. These cards are valid for up to two days after you purchase them.
You can try. The driver probably not turn on the meter and will charge you a flat rate. If you are not fluent in Portuguese and Brazilian negotiation etiquette, with crowds of people waiting for cabs, you may not be so successful. But hey, by all means, give it a shot! Even if you're not successful it can be a unique cultural experience. Either way, make sure you establish the price before you start driving.
On Samba Parade nights, virtually all roads in Rio lead to the Sambodromo. The driver knows the way, but for your awareness, the best route from the South Zone is through Santa Bárbara tunnel. Coming from Rio's North Zone the best route is through Rua Itapiru. In both cases, you must drive over São Sebastião Viaduct, which runs parallel to the Sambodromo. Right away you'll see signs to the entrances for the various sectors.
In terms of both cost, convenience and safety, your best bet is our roundtrip shuttle service. For less than the price of a taxi, the shuttle bus will pick you up from your hotel and take drop you off within two blocks of the entrance to your sector of the Sambadrome. When you're ready to leave, the shuttle will take you back to your hotel, with drop off points located all along the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. The shuttle buses will depart from the Sambadrome every 80 minutes after midnight, which corresponds to the end of each Samba School procession. You really can't beat it!
Again, the safest way to get to the Sambadrome is through a private shuttle transfer. The Sambadrome is located in a very poor neighborhood, so pick pockets and petty criminals lurk around as do the thousands of people who weren't able to score tickets to the event. In general, Cariocas (Rio natives) are friendly and safe people to be around, but you never know who's driving your taxi cab. Price gauging is common during Carnival, and this is a form of robbery in and of itself. And with over 90,000 people heading to the venue, the subway has its risks, too. Our roundtrip shuttle service is a worry-free way to get to the parade, picking you up outside your hotel and taking you as close as you can get to the Sambadrome. Play it safe: head straight to the Sambadrome where security is airtight. After all, the Sambodromo is considered the safest place in South America during Rio Carnival.
Our shuttle transfers are available on Samba Parade days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Champion's Saturday. So this includes the two competitive parades of the Special Group; the competition of the Access Group; and the final procession of the top six ranking schools of the Special Group in the Champion's Parade.
You should identify whether the taxi you are getting into is registered. This can be done by checking the following characteristics of the vehicle: red license plates, lighted sign on the top of the vehicle, the outside of the vehicle must be painted yellow with a dark blue stripe on each side, and the taximeter must bear a seal by Ipem - RJ (the Institute of Weights and Measurements). If any of these items or characteristics is missing, the vehicle is not accredited to render transportation services. Communication can sometimes be a problem, as most taxi drivers will only speak Portuguese. This problem is easily solved by simply writing down the address of your destination on a piece of paper and handing it to the driver. The driver will know where you want to go. The taxi drivers won't be running their meters during Rio Carnival, so be sure to establish price before you go anywhere.
Passengers are encouraged to file a formal complaint at either a Police station, or by calling the City Hall’s Central de Teleatendimento (telephone hotline), by dialing 1746.
Sure. All public transportation is pretty safe in Rio, buses included. Rio de Janeiro has many different bus lines and options. For example, between Centro and Copacabana there are more than 30 bus lines. However, figuring out which bus to take is not a problem. There are only three main roads crossing through Copacabana and Ipanema, and the buses stick to the main streets. The route number and the destination will be displayed in large letters on the front of the bus, and then the intermediary stops will be displayed on a smaller sign in the window below and to the left of the driver. There are generally three different levels of buses and the fare is different, reflecting different levels of quality. The more expensive buses, at approximately $R6.50 are air-conditioned and have nicer seats. The standard bus lines are approximately $R2 and $2.60 respectively. The fare is one way and does not include transfers. Buses will stop at bus stops every 15 minutes, but only if someone is waiting to board. An insider tip: wave your hand to the driver if you want him or her to stop for you. Shared vans are also available and they are equally as safe.

Nightlife

Pretty much everything and anything under the sun. Rio de Janeiro is considered by many as the nightlife capital of the world and that's not during Rio Carnival! Rio Carnival takes Rio De Janeiro to a whole new level. It offers something for everyone -- the young, the old, the single, the married, gay, lesbian or straight. Whatever you want, you can find it in Rio De Janeiro. Over the course of the Rio Carnival festivities there will be parties in every corner of the city -- from the streets, to the nightclubs and bars. You might consider starting the evening with a casual dinner, taking the party to a bar, hitting up a samba hall, a nightclub, a street party, or attending one of the infamous Rio Carnival Ball.
With a unique take on life, Cariocas are known to be a festive people; they literally could be doing something different every night of the week. They might start the evening at a casual restaurant, then catch a movie, mingle with friends at a cafe, enjoying themselves at one of the city's many bars, have a drink at one of Rio's baixos (popular streets concentrated with a multitude of venues) then hit up a favorite samba hall (gafieira) or nightclub and dance until the sun comes up. It's also not uncommon to find a Carioca winding down by returning to a bar or cafe after a long night on the town. Cariocas love to meet in the neighborhood of Cinelândia for a brew after work at both Café Amarelinho and Verdinho located right next door.
Cariocas (Rio natives) really love to dance, and music and the beats runs through their veins; so if your nights aren't booked up with the parades and the balls, it goes without saying that the dance clubs are something that must be experienced! Rio is a contemporary city and a truly cosmopolitan melting pot, so at a dance club you can expect to find the latest hits, ranging from house music to techno, trance, electronic -- whatever is popular for that crowd. Whatever you're looking for, you can find it in Rio and you are sure to have the time of your life!
You won't have to look far to find a party in Rio, and with people flooding the city from all over the world, Rio Carnival makes it that much easier. What you are looking for is probably close to your hotel. Humaitá, Flamengo, Botafogo and the Centro have unbeatable popular spots for nightlife. Centro is a popular spot for raves and has a lot of really great night clubs like the Rio Scenarium. Lapa was once the center of bohemian life in Rio but has recently undergone a huge transformation; so the area around Lapa has become a very hot spot at night. The Friday night street party is a great party (word of caution: do not bring any valuables here) there are bars and clubs packed with people by the Arches. While in Lapa try Sacrilegio (Sacrilege), where not dancing the samba is the biggest sin you could possibly commit! Or check out Clube Dos Democraticos.The most popular sport in Rio is people-watching, and if you are broke you can do it sipping a caipirinha/Caipivodka or a beer on the street. Drinking on the street is perfectly legal here. Gavea is a great spot to check out. While you're in Gavea try club 00 (Zero Zero). If you are staying near Ipanema, hit up Nuth, Shenanigan’s or Empório . If you are in Leblon, Melt is a great club. Caroline Cafe, Saturnino, Nuth Lounge and Jota Bar are known to attract a beautiful crowd, and the petiscos (snacks) are scrumptious. Devassa is a popular bar and brewery. The piers, an old train station, warehouses, and an old movie theater from the turn of the 20th century have been known to throw unforgettable parties. Fundição Progresso is a spot where mega-parties typically happen, attracting crowds of more than 5,000 -- and that's not taking Carnival into account! If you are staying near Barra, check out Av. Armando Lombardi, which is known as Baixo Barra because of its high concentration of night clubs -- the club at the Hard Rock Cafe, Nuth the Lounge, Bombar and Guapo Loco, or various circuit parties right outside of Barra such as Vargem Grande.
Everywhere. In addition to having great bars, clubs, cafes and dance halls, many of the best party scenes will be happening in the streets. Lapa hosts the Friday night street party, but there are also great street parties near any of the world-famous beaches (like Copacabana or Ipanema). During Rio Carnival you are more than likely to stumble upon samba blocos or bandas rehearsing for a performance. You can take a stroll around Praca da Nossa Senhora da Paz and Rua Farme de Amoedo at Ipanema Beach and have a blast or even enjoy a free live concert at General Osório dancing to Banda de Ipanema. Or go to Leblon and walk down Av. Ataulfo de Paiva. Whether it be a samba rehearsal or a formal concert, live music really adds to the euphoria that is the Rio Carnival experience!
Everywhere. Whether you're strolling around the streets of Ipanema by Rua Farme de Amoedo or hitting up one of Rio de Janeiro's many nightclubs, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or anything in between at Rio Carnival is bound to be one of the best experiences of your life! If you couldn't score tickets to the Gay Scala Ball, the gay and lesbian scene in Rio is among the best in the world. Boys, you have to check out "Le Boy" while you're in Rio. Located at Rua Raul Pompéia, 102, Copacabana (just a few blocks away from the beach), "Le Boy" plays great music, has strippers on some nights, but always attracts the hottest guys around. You can check out the schedule on the club's website at: http://www.leboy.com.br. The hottest lesbian club in Rio is a trendy nightclub appropriately named "Le Girl". Located right next to Le Boy at Rua Raul Pompéia, 102, Copacabana, "Le Girl" consistently brings in an attractive crowd. You can check out their schedule of events at: http://www.lagirl.com.br Another Gay club in Rio that you don't want to miss if you have the time is "The Week". With two dance floors, a VIP area, a lounge, and an outdoor area with pool, "The Week" is one of the largest nightclubs in the city (with a maximum capacity somewhere in the thousands). "The Week" Rio is located in the historical center of the city in a renovated palace built in the beginning of 19th century. With a lineup featuring national and international DJs playing the hottest electronic music, this fabulous club is located at Rua Sacadura Cabral 154, Saude, and its website is: http://www.theweek.com.br
That depends on you. The cariocas are the friendliest people on the planet and are not looking for a fight. If you know you are an angry drunk, to truly experience the best of Rio's nightlife, you may need to make a slight adjustment to your cultural parameters -- which is easy to do in a place like Rio. The carioca attitude will rub off on you and you should have no problems. Keeping this in mind, while out on the town you won't find any fights or drunken brawls – Rio’s nightlife is really more about chatting with people, dancing, and having a good time. That said, it's wise to be careful no matter where you are and don't carry much money or jewelry.
Its advisable to book your trip approximately 6 months in advance. As the date get closer many properties sell out and it can get very difficult to get decent places. You should apply for your visa as soon as you have you travel arrangements.
As with any major city in the world Rio does have strip clubs. These clubs are known to be expensive.

Food

Considered by many to be the national dish of Brazil, feijoada is a stew of beans (usually black beans, but also white beans, red beans and pinto beans) and a meat, typically beef or pork. The dish is best when cooked over a low flame in a thick clay pot. The final meal is served with the beans and meat pieces covered with a dark purplish-brown broth. It tastes strong and moderately salty, but this is not a spicy dish. Often served with white rice, the flavor is dominated by the taste of the beans and the meat stew. Feijoadas are very popular in Rio, especially as a Wednesday or Saturday lunch, and is often accompanied by chopped fried collard greens (couve mineira), roasted cassava flour (farofa), orange slices, and is traditionally served with a pot of hot sauce on the side. A great place to get feijoada in Ipanema is Casa da Feijoada, located at R. Prudente de Moraes 10, Ipanema. Its telephone number is 2523-4994. Also in Ipanema, a restaurant called Galani at the Caesar Park Hotel Ipanema serves a great feijoada. There is another place with excellent feijoadas in the Centro called Confeitaria Colombo. Cariocas also eat a dish called picadinho, which literally means minced meat, and/or rice and beans. Additionally, seafood dishes are very popular in Brazil. Vatapá is a scrumtious shrimp dish topped with a rich cashew peanut sauce. Moqueca de peixe is a coconut fish stew. Cururu de camarao is a gumbo made of shrimp and okra, which is often made with frozen shrimp as a quick week night dinner. Brazilians eat a lot of meat. In general, Brazilians pride themselves on the quality of their meat, most of which is raised "free range" and is hormone free!
Traditional side dishes include boiled or deep-fried cassava, deep-fried bananas, and pork rinds (torresmo), and rice and beans.
Cariocas love anything and everything sweet. If you order coffee without sugar, you're likely to be treated with weird looks. The desserts are amazing in Rio and are typically very, very sweet. You'll find some desserts that you are familiar with, like ice cream and other treats, but then there are some desserts that are unique to Brazil, like Doce de Leite, which is a lot like caramel but is much sweater, darker and creamier. Doce de Leite is made of sugar and milk and comes in both bar and paste form. Cakes, or bolos, are very popular in Rio and throughout Brazil. Pão de mel is a honey cake that is traditionally topped with melted chocolate. Bolo de rolo is a roll cake, which is a thin cake wrapped in melted guava. In Southern and Southeastern Brazil this dish is traditionally called rocambole. Bolo de cenoura is a Brazilian carrot cake with a chocolate cover made of butter and cocoa. Bolo prestígio is chocolate cake with a coconut and cream filling, covered with brigadeiro. Bolo de fubá is a traditional corn flour cake. Bolo de milho another Brazilian corn cake. Bolo de maracujá is a delicious cake made of passion fruit. Bolo de queijo is literally Portuguese for cheese cake. Bolo de laranja is an orange cake. And Bolo de banana, as its name might suggest, is a banana cake covered with cinnamon. Mousse de maracujá is an amazing mousse made of passion fruit. For dessert, Brazilians also eat figs, papaya, mangos, oranges, pears, peaches, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes (among others fruits and preserves) typically accompanied by fresh cheese and/or doce de leite. Quindim is a popular traditional Brazilian custard that is baked and is primarily made of sugar, egg yolks, and ground coconut that is typically presented as an upside-down cup with a shiny surface and has an intense yellow color. Cajuzinho are peanut and cashew "truffles", and Beijinho are coconut "truffles" with clove. Manjar is a delicious coconut pudding topped with caramel and dried plums; while arroz-doce is a rice pudding. Açaí na tigela is unique to Brazil and is usually made of an açaí berry mixture served with bananas and/or strawberry and cereal, typically granola or muslix.
Due to its proximity to tropical rainforests throughout Brazil, Rio is known for its amazing freshly-squeezed juices: bananas, oranges (laranja), limes (limão), lemons (limão siciliano), pineapples (abacaxi), plums (ameixa), custard apples (fruta de conde -- a unique type of apple that tastes like a custard!), watermelon (melancía), tangerines (tangerina), apples (maçã), pears (pera), passionfruit (maracujá), mangos (manga), coconuts (coco), among many other indigenous Brazilian fruits. The best place to get a fresh juice or smoothie is at a juice bar, called sucos bars. Unlike many other things, when it comes to juice bars, expensive does not necessarily mean better. In fact, some of the least expensive juice bars in Rio have the best juices! Big Nectar is a chain of juice bars that is consistently delicious.
Brazil actually has a national drink, the Caipirinha, which is kind of like a Margarita but much better! You should definitely give it a try while you're in Rio for Carnival! Caipirinha is a cocktail made of Cachaça (a sugar-cane rum native to Brazil), raw sugar, some fresh lime, on the rocks. But there is no shortage of alcohol in Brazil, so you'll also find the same drinks that are available around the world. Beer is a very drink amongst Cariocas. Domestic alcohol is very inexpensive (it can be cheaper than water!), but imported alcohol is typically expensive.
Churrascarias, or Brazilian Barbeques, is the traditional Brazilian way to eat meat. Brazilians will boast about their picanha (cap of the rump). In Churrascarias you'll traditionally pay a fixed price and then eat as much meat as you can stuff your face with. Unlike in America where we top our steaks with sauces and spices of all flavors, traditionally, the only spice used at Churrascarias is salt. Though oftentimes the meat is served with a sauce on the side made of a mixture of onions, tomatoes, parsley, vinegar and oil. But it's not only about the meat: Churrascarias also have fantastic salads, mixed vegetables, sushi, fish and much, much more! Churrascarias are really expensive, so most Cariocas cannot afford them; but they'll barbeque in this traditional manner at home. If this sounds like it's for you, make sure to book a reservation in advance. As you might imagine, during Carnival these restaurants are booked well in advance. Some great Brazilian Barbeques in Rio are: Carretão, which has locations in Ipanema and Copacabana. The one in Ipanema is located at R. Visconde de Pirajá 112, Ipanema and its telephone number is 2267-3965. The Copacabana location is R. Siqueira Campos 23, Copacabana, and the telephone number is 2236-3435. A more expensive but amazing Churrascaria is Porcão which is located at R. Barão da Torre 218 in Ipanema. Its telephone number is 3389-8989. Porcão has another location at Av. Infante Dom Henrique in Parque do Flamengo, and its telephone number is 3389-8989.
Rio is a cosmopolitan city and it's food is influenced by culinary tastes from around the world. The most popular kinds of restaurants in Rio include Traditional Brazilian food, Modern or Fusion food, Churrascarias (Brazilian Steakhouses), Sushi Restaurants, Por Kilo Restaurants (buffet-style food where you pay by weight), Botequins (taverns with table service), Sucos Bars, Botecas (for snacks and fast food), and Kiosks (outdoor cafes).
Cariocas treat time differently. Knowing this, you would benefit from having a lot of patience when you go out to eat in Rio. Waiters can be very slow, especially when compared to American standards. You may end up with the wrong dish, and you might sense that the waiters seem indifferent towards their jobs in general. Of course you'll find exceptions, but generally, when it comes to service in restaurants, you should expect low standards. Be nice and smile: it can take you a long way in Rio.
Typically you don´t have to tip at restaurants. In stead, it is common to find a 10% service charge added to your check. The service charge goes toward the salaries of the waiting staff. If you have a great meal with excellent service, it is customary to leave a tip. Inversely, If your service was exceptionally bad, you can actually request that the service charge me removed from the bill. But this is only for when your service is bad: if the food is bad, it's not the waiter's fault. In these cases you can ask a manager for a discount. That, however, is up to you and your personality. You might find it better to just pay your bill, never come back, and leave bad reviews! Some restaurants do not add the service charge, and if this is the case, your waiter will let you know.
Food does not have to be expensive in Rio. In fact, price is not a good indicator of quality. Even at the most top-notch restaurants, you can find dishes for around US$15. A bottle of mineral water or soda should cost less than US$1, domestic beer or draft beer is generally less than US$2. At less expensive restaurants and snack bars you can expect to spend between US$5 and US$15. At higher-priced restaurants, meals range from US$20 to US$35 or more. If you order a bottle of imported wine or champagne, multiple appetizers, a salad, a main dish, and a dessert, it can easily cost US$80 per person and up.
Most restaurants do, but some don't. Visa is the most commonly accepted card, followed by Mastercard. It's rare to find a restaurant in Rio that accepts American Express. You should ask before you sit down to avoid any embarrassment.
Don't be afraid to try the street foods! You'll see food vendors set up all of Rio, especially at the beach or the Street party in Lapa. The list is endless and depends on where you are, but some of the foods might encounter at a street vendor include: Pão de Queijo, which are amazing cheese puffs that you have to try when you run into them; Pastel de Carne, which are similar in look and taste to deep fried beef turnovers; Pastel de Queijo or Camarão, which are delicious deep fried turnovers filled with either cheese or shrimp;Empada de Camarão which is a pastry filled with shrimp; Bolinho de Aipim, which is a ground beef surrounded by deep fried cassava dough; Pão de Batata, which is a potato bread filled with either ground beef, chicken or sausage; Esfiha, which is an Arabic-influenced food best described as a folded pizza; Churros, which is a doce de leite filled dough that is fried and covered with cinnamon; and, among many other things, Bolinho de Bacalhau, which is an amazing ball of fried cod fish.

Communication

While Brazil is surrounded by Spanish-speaking countries, the official language is Portuguese, and is pretty much spoken by 100% of the population.
We encourage you to try to learn a little bit of basic Portuguese before your trip. It'll go a long way! By making the effort and showing that you're trying, Brazilians will be more receptive and more open to your new-found friends. At most major tourist attractions there will be English guides, most restaurants will have English menus, and most people who deal directly with tourists will probably understand and speak a little bit of English. Due to the similarities of Portuguese to Spanish and Italian, most Brazilians will understand these languages, but you must speak very slowly!
Carioca is the term used to refer to the native inhabitants of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Cariocas love beach, sun, sea and parties. Carioca women are known for their tanned skin and body shapes. You don't have to be born in Rio to be a Carioca. All you have to do is relax into the city lifestyle, and soon you will become one. Cariocas are known for their warmth and friendliness, and are a happy people and a lot of fun to interact with. Whether you meet them on the beach or at a local bar, the Carioca's love of life can be quite infectious. It doesn't matter if you have lived in the city for a few days or a few years: by simply having the right attitude you will be considered a true Carioca. 
You shouldn't. According to a survey carried out by a U.S. magazine in 2003, Rio is the friendliest city in the world. Cariocas were the most helpful people in everyday situations, like when a stranger asked for information, dropped a pen, or had problems crossing a street.
Most likely. Both Portuguese and English use Latin alphabets, but the pronunciation of certain words will be difficult. The only letter in the Portuguese alphabet you may not be familiar with is the "ç", a consonant that always sounds like an s. The sound of the "r" is also a little tricky. It usually sounds like the h in loch, or the German word Nacht (night). If it is surrounded by vowels, the "r" sounds like the Italian prego, or Corleone. So Rio would sound like HEEoo, and Carioca would be pronounced ca-ree-O-ca. The h is silent, unless combined with a "c", "l" or "n", as in chato (SHA-too), alho (A-lyoo), and punho (POO-nyo). The s may sound like an s in sábado (SA-ba-doo), a z in asa (A-za), or a sh before certain consonants, or at the end of words so it's gatos (GA-toosh), and afasta (a-FASH-ta).
A newspaper in Rio once conducted a study in which they had a reporter impersonate a tourist, and asked random police officers in the street for information in English. The study found that while most police officers in Rio are not bilingual, they went out of their way trying to understand what was being asked, and always ended up finding someone willing to interpret. This only is an example of the friendliness of the Brazilian people, and truly highlights how the Brazilian people play a major role in making Rio the "Wonderful City".
Brazilians are notoriously tardy. It is socially considered perfectly acceptable to be late for most meetings, so don't be surprised if your new Brazilian best friend is a half hour or so late.
Most cab drivers do not speak too much English, if any at all. If you do not speak Portuguese, communication can be a problem. A tip to easily remedy this issue is to simply write the address of your destination on a piece of paper and hand it to the driver.
There are many internationally respected hospitals, clinics and doctors, but medical treatment can be very expensive. Most major medical insurance is not covered in Brazil. We highly recommend that you check with your insurance company before traveling. Depending upon your specific situation, we also recommend taking out comprehensive international travelers insurance that covers overseas medical costs. As a visitor, you are entitled to treatment for unforeseen medical emergencies at Public Hospitals in Brazil, but Public Hospitals in major cities like Rio can be quite crowded. You will not be admitted into a private hospital without presenting evidence of sufficient funds or insurance. Medical Clinics and Hospitals in Rio de Janeiro: Hospital Ipanema (3111 2300; Rua Antônio Parreiras 67, Ipanema) Hospital Samaritano (Rua Bambina, 98, Botofago, Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Emergency: (21) 2535-4000. Tel: (21) 2537-9722) Cardio Plus (Rua Visconde de Pirajá 330, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, 22410-000. 21/2247-0727.) Hospital Copa D'Or (Rua Figueiredo Magalhães 875, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, 22031-010. 21/2545-3600.) Galdino Campos Cardio Copa Medical Clinic (Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana 492, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, 22020-001. 21/2548-9966.) Medtur (Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana 647, Grupo 815/816, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, 22050-002. 21/2235-3339.)
Ambulance - Public Service 192 Fire Department 193 Civil Defense 199 Civil Police 197 Federal Police 194 Military Police 190 Jacarepaguá Airport 2620-8589 Internacional Airport 2432-7070 Santos Dumont Airport 3398-5050 Health Agency 3398-4527 Water and Sewer 3814-7070 Post Offices 4004-3113 Complaint Hotline 2253-1177 Dial-Aids 0800-570-0100

Rio Beaches

Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen! Rio de Janeiro is known for its its beautiful people, sunny days, white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and expansive beaches. Much of the action in Rio starts on the beach. Beautiful tanned people meet and socialize there first then head to the local restaurants and bars and Rio nightlife and this adds to the fun and excitement of the Rio beaches and meeting people at the Rio Beaches.
Everything you need to enjoy your day you can find on the beach in Rio de Janeiro. So with that said, bring a towel, beachwear, and a little bit of cash for snacks and beverages and anything else you may need as there are many vendors on the beach. Tip:All prices are negotiable. Cariocas love and are extremely passionate about the beach, sports and a good party -- and it's not uncommon to see them combining all three at the same time! A large gathering of Cariocas will hit the beaches with a soccer ball and a bottles of beer. Cariocas are notoriously friendly people, so don't be afraid to join in on the fun: a Cariocas mentality would say, "the more the merrier". Other favorite beach activities are foot volley, beach tennis, surfing and Capeoira.
Brazil has many famous beaches. The beaches of Rio de Janeiro that of you are most likely to explore during your stay are Copacabana Beach, Ipanema Beach , and Leblon Beach which are very popular, especially during Rio Carnival, and are the beaches most frequented by tourists staying in the South Zone. Then there is Pepe Beach in Barra da Tijuca, and Flamingo Beach in Gloria these are quieter beaches that are more common among families, But that's just to name a few: there are many other beaches you might consider, such as Buzios, Illa de Grande, and Florianopolis.
Located in Zona Sul (the south zone) of Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana Beach is perhaps the most famous beach in the world, stretching from Posto 2 (lifeguard watchtower Two) to Posto 6 (lifeguard watchtower Six). There's a lot to do at on this 4 kilometer stretch of white sand. During the day, activities at Copacabana Beach include swimming, surfing, volleyball and football (American soccer), or just laying and soaking up some rays to get that perfect Brazilian bronze tan. There is also a boat load of fun to be had in the neighborhoods surrounding the beach. On a cloudy day, you might head over to Avenida Atlantica for some of the most fashionable of Rio de Janeiro's beachwear boutiques. Or you can go just one street over for more a more diverse selection of affordable stores and shops. If you want to relax, pull up a chair at any of the countless beachside kiosks, grab a chilled coconut or a beer (cerveja), and spend some time appreciating the picturesque view. The new kiosks at Copacabana Beach offer modern, sanitary bathrooms at a cost of R$1). If you are looking for some history and culture, there are also old Portuguese forts at both ends of the beach. When the sun sets on Copacabana Beach, the lights light up as the restaurants, bars and nightclubs are always hopping. A great restaurant with reasonable prices is Restaurant Shirley, located on Rua Gustavo Sampaio. It has great seafood and is a favorite among Cariocas. One of the more upscale bars near Copacabana Beach is the Piano Bar at the Copacabana Palace Hotel. With a cozy, romantic atmosphere, this is the perfect spot to take a date and kick off your romantic evening with the right vibes.
Ipanema Beach is located in Rio de Janeiro's Zona Sul (the south zone) and became famous around the world after Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes released their hit song, "The Girl from Ipanema" ("Garota de Ipanema"). Though adjacent to Copacabana Beach, Ipanema Beach has a character of its own. Known for its elegance and social qualities, the area around the beach is easy to navigate because the streets are organized according to a grid. You can go to Ipanema Beach to enjoy the water, or you can stay away from the crowds by booking a cruise on one of the Jangadas or sailboats, or by trying your hand at para sailing. There are also bicycles for rent and a bike path that runs the length of the beach.
Leblon Beach, located right next to Ipanema Beach, is a favorite of many locals. Leblon beach has a nice shopping area along Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva and Rua Dias Ferreira. You'll find small boutiques perfect for buying souvenirs, a few bookstores and quaint cafes. After some surfing or body boarding on Barra beach grab a great steak at Barra Grill. This classic Churrascaria-rodizio style restaurant is great, and prices range from medium to very expensive. The Barra da Tijuca neighborhood is home to some of Rio's best shopping malls that include New York City Center, BarraShopping and Citta America, which are all located on Americas Avenue.
Keep in mind that the beaches of Rio play a special role in the social lives of many Cariocas; therefore, there is a well defined culture with certain unwritten rules. By all means you are free to do as you please -- it's your vacation -- but remember the phrase, "When in Rome"? Here are a few things you'll want to keep in mind while at the beach: Dress like you're going to the beach. For men that means bathing suites or surf shorts. For the ladies that's typically a two piece Brazilian bikini. Don't worry about your figure: in Brazil, nobody cares. Everybody and their grandmother wears a bikini. Not wearing one is like shouting "I'm a gringo" at the top of your lungs. Women are strictly forbidden from going topless and can get arrested for doing so. Bring a bag or a small backpack to carry your things. Never bring a plastic bag with you as a beach bag: it's frowned upon for many reasons. Women, bring a sarong to sit on -- a chair is acceptable. Men should bring a chair or sit on the sand. If you want to look like a Carioca, don't use a towel. It's considered very uncool in Rio. Buy your food and beverage at the beach. You shouldn't bring them with you. Not only is this considered good etiquette, but you're also supporting the impoverished beach vendors who stroll up and down the beach all day to support their families.
For surfing, head down the beach from Copacabana to Praia do Arpoador. The waves are ideal for surfing, but can be challenging. Most of the people you'll find on the water will be locals (Cariocas) or professional surfers. There's a surf school at Praia do Arpoador that provides lessons to the children of the nearby favelas (shanty-towns). If you're not a surfer, Praia do Arpoador is a great spot to watch the locals hit the waves. Further away from the city is a beach at Barra da Tijuca that is considered the best surfing in Rio. You'll find surfers meeting up at Barraca de Pepê (Pepê's Shack). Even though it's further away from where you're likely to stay, the beach can get pretty crowded.
Ipanema Beach. Walk slightly east of Rua Farme de Amoedo until you see the rainbow flags at a place called Farme Beach, right next to the Ipanema Plaza Hotel. Aside from the bars and nightclubs, this is a great place to meet people and is a favorite among the Carioca locals. With promoters passing out flyers, this is a great spot to make your nightlife plans -- but some of the best gay nightclubs and bars are not located far from Ipanema Beach. On Sundays, Farme Beach at Ipanema is packed with buff gay locals (called Barbies) and pretty vacationers playing games of all-queer volleyball and dodge-ball. The crowd is friendly, but if you're still intimidated by the sea of six packs at Farme Beach, head over to Copacabana beach. The bear and drag queen crowds prefer the gay beach right outside of the Copacabana Palace hotel in an area called the Bolsa (near Lido). While men dominate Rio de Janeiro's gay scene, there is a very strong lesbian presence as well. The scene is very mixed, so you shouldn't feel like you have to find an all female crowd; in Rio the focus is more on enjoying the night -- gender is less important.
You can rent a chair and umbrella through braccas. These are the tents you will find located all over the beach. After you find the right spot and secure your chair, the people who work at the braccas will come around and serve you drinks and food (for a price, of course).

Carnival Prices

Tickets to the Rio Carnival in the Sambadrome are priced according to the location on the samba runway. Tickets being the most center ones, do command the highest premiums. Prices are determined according to the type of seat you are looking to purchase. No prices are guaranteed until paid for in full. General admissions or Grandstand seats (Arquibancadas in Portuguese ) are by far the least expensive tickets to obtain. Prices get more expensive for the reserved seating tickets because they offer the security and the comfort of having a predetermined assigned seat and they are not first come first served. The only sector in the grandstand that has reserved seating in Sector 9. Front boxes (sometimes called open boxes or frisas in Portuguese ) will put you right up and as close as you can get to the parade runway... They are all with 20 feet of the runway and offer the privacy of your own box with a table to put your food and beverages on. Luxury suites ( or Camarotes in Portuguese ) are indoors Suites offer special VIP services and ammenities including sofas, TV's and catered food -- so they are the most expensive and prestigious tickets in the house and are the place that most celebrities are at. Prices generally get more expensive as the carnival dates get closer so we advise you to order you Rio Carnival Tickets as early as possible.
Tickets for the Sambadrome Parades typically range from around US$150 to US$1200 or more, depending on the sector you choose and the type of ticket you purchase. Please review our selection of Rio Carnival Tickets today!!
Not Really but, children under 5 years of age get admission into the Sambadrome FREE!!
That depends on the Carnival ball you are planning to attend and the type of ticket you plan on purchasing. Most General admissions tickets are going to be cheaper than VIP type of tickets. There are a few types of carnival balls thrown in Rio de Janeiro over Carnival. Generally, tickets to the Carnival balls will range from around US$100 to upwards of US$1,000 or more. Tickets to the exclusive Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace hotel command very high entrance fees. If these prices are out of your budget range, there are other fantastic nightly Rio Carnival Ball at the Rio Scala Nightclub !

Travel Tips

The currency used in Rio is the Brazilian "Real" (pronounced ray-all) or plural "Reais" (pronounced ray-eyes), and is denoted as R$.
The Brazilian Real has similar denominations as the US dollar. One Brazilian Real is made up of 100 centavos. Paper bills are issued between 1 Real and 100 Reais. There is a 1 Real coin that is very popular in Brazil, so you should keep some of these in your pocket or wallet at all times.
Exchanging foreign money into Brazilian Reaias is easy in Rio. If you don't exchange money before arriving to Brazil, you can do so at Bank ATMs, Cambios (currency exchange stores), or at travel agencies. You find the exchange rates posted in the windows of most banks and Cambios or just ask at counters. There are many Cambios located on the main avenues of Rua Visconde de Piraja in Ipanema and in Copacabana along the Avenida NS Copacabana. You should avoid exchanging money at the airport: the lines are long and they give you a very poor exchange rate. Hotels will often exchange your money at the front desk; and while the rates offered at hotels are generally better than those at the airport, the market for hotel exchange rates is significantly less competitive than those at Banks and Cambios. Pay attention to ATM fees and credit card foreign exchange fees. Some credit cards do not charge a fee. Do you homework.
Yes. Before you leave home you should call your bank or credit card company to confirm the procedures and fees charged for international ATM withdrawals. A service fee may also be charged by the Brazilian bank, but there are a few International Banks located in Rio, like Citibank, Banco Santander, and HSBC.
Yes. Again, you should let your bank or credit card company that you will be traveling to Brazil before leaving home, and you should inquire about fees and other charges. Taxi cabs in Rio do not accept credit cards.
In general, VISA and Mastercard and American Express are widely accepted cards; however there are a few places that only accept cash or may not take all cards. Its a good idea to ask.
You should avoid ATMs on the street and withdraw money at either banks or Cambios. You should also be sure to avoid ATM machines where you have to insert your entire card, as the card can get eaten by the machine. You should also avoid exchanging money late in the evening, though ATMs usually turn off at 11pm. If you are not taking money out of a Bank ATM, please be sure to cover your PIN number with your hand and avoid taking out large quantities of cash at one time. This might cause you to incur more in fees, but for safety reasons, it's a good idea. An ATM that allows credit card withdrawals will be denoted by a small credit card emblem on it.
We generally would advise against this: using traveler's checks in Rio can be a hassle and they are not commonly accepted in stores or restaurants. You can, however, use them to convert money at Banks or Cambios. You can actually get a pretty decent exchange rate for traveler's checks at Cambios and Travel Agencies, as they will often "hold" the checks before cashing them as a hedge against foreign exchange rates. In a pinch, you can usually pay taxis and other vendors in US Dollars or in Euros. They will figure out an exchange rate against the cost of the service in Reais on the spot. Don't expect a bargain when doing this.
Yes. Exchanging money can be easily done online, using an on-line exchange service. You can expect rates that are around 10% less than the official current exchange rate, and you will typically incur a $15 overnight delivery fee. There is generally a minimum exchange of around US $ 200 and a maximum of US$250. Visa and Mastercard are the most common way of doing this, and the charge is typically treated as a cash advance as opposed to the way your credit card company treats general merchandise charges.
The city of Rio de Janeiro charges a 5% accommodations tax that is collected by the hotel operators. The amount will be added to your hotel bill. Many hotels will add an additional 10% service charge to your bill. In Rio de Janeiro, there are no taxes on retail items.
Travel from many countries to Brazil requires an entry visa. Please consult with your local consulate for specific details and to apply for your Brazil travel visa . It can take anywhere from three to ten days to get your visa (depending on your city and how you order it), so DON'T wait until the last minute!
In Rio de Janeiro, 110V AC, 50 Hz, two-pin plugs are pretty standard. If adapters are required, many stores sell them. Pay attention to voltage when plugging something in. Some older buildings have 220v.
No. Alcohol is very widely available in Rio, and you are free to walk the streets with open containers. HOWEVER, Rio has some of the most strict policies in the world when it comes to DWIs. There are traffic stops all over the city. We cannot stress this enough: NEVER drink and drive.
While many suggest it is safe to drink tap water in Rio, we would highly recommend sticking to bottled water. Many hotels filter their water, but there are still microbes and bacteria that can be unfriendly to tourists. Your hotel will tell you if the tap water is safe, but we still encourage you to drink bottled water whenever there is any doubt. Bottled water is widely available and inexpensive, so it is much better to be safe than sorry. The vast majority of restaurants serve only bottled water, either carbonated (com gas) or non-carbonated (sem gas).
As with most foreign destinations, travelers should bring an unlocked GSM quadband phone with them. SIM chips are widely available at most newstands, and Pharmacies. Using a local SIM chip will save you lots of money in roaming fees. You can get your local SIM chip through the major Brazilian cellphone companies such as Tim, Oi, Vivo, and Claro. Be careful with your smartphones, especially when streaming music and videos! Data roaming can be very costly. Check with your wireless service provider before your trip.
WiFi is widely available in most Rio Hotels and is free on the beach at Copacabana.
We highly encourage you to dress the way the Cariocas (Rio natives) dress. For the most part this will be shorts, a t-shirt and sandals. No fancy shoes. Havaianas are extremely popular. Even at the fancier restaurants and nightclubs, jeans and sneakers is very standard. Dress in Rio is very light and casual.
YES! Make a photostat of your passport and always carry that with you leaving the original one in a safe place in your hotel room or apartment. When you arrive to Brazil you will be fill out immigrations and customs documents. At immigration they will hand you a receipt with your passport. Do not lose this piece of paper! You will be required to surrender this piece of paper to immigration upon exiting the country. If you don't have it you will be detained at the airport until you are cleared by the Federal Police, and possibly fined, before being allowed to depart. A good idea might be to keep this document in the safe at your hotel.
There are no immunizations required for travel to Rio de Janeiro. However, if you will be visiting the Amazon, there are inoculations required. Specific vaccinations vary according to your travel plans. You must consult with your physician or a travel health clinic at least 4-8 weeks prior to the date of your departure. You can check the official website for the Center for Disease Control (CDC.gov) for more details.

Also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)