Rio Carnival Tickets Guide
Sambadrome Parade Tickets
You’ll find that with a little bit of reading and getting familiar with your ticketing options, RioCarnival.net will provide you with everything you need to leave your worries at home, free your mind, and allow yourself to go with the flow and enjoy the worry free Brazilian spirit of Rio Carnival 2016.
RioCarnival.net is your trusted source for booking your tickets to unforgettable events like the Rio Carnival Sambadrome Parade and the magnificent Rio Carnival Balls, and you can even book your hassle-free roundtrip hotel transfers. Peruse this page to find information about seating charts and the layout of the Sambadrome. With this information you will be able to make your decision to select the ticketing option that is best suited for your viewing pleasure and your budget.
The Sambadrome is the official venue of Rio Carnival and will host events of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The Sambadrome is divided into various sectors, or sections, and offers a variety of seating options, ranging from luxury suites to open-air bleachers. The sectors are located along the 700 meter (roughly half-mile) stretch of the samba runway, the avenue down which the participating Samba Schools parade. All the sectors are aligned symmetrically, even-numbered sectors on one side of the avenue and odd-numbered sectors located directly across the samba runway. The lower-numbered sectors are located towards the beginning of the samba parade route and the higher-numbered sectors are located toward the end of the samba runway.
Choosing the Right Tickets for You
The Sambadrome Parades consist of only the most elite of Rio de Janeiro’s hundreds of Samba Schools, and the Sambódromo was designed specifically with the audience in mind — so you really can’t go wrong with any of your decisions! That said, it’s important to plan ahead and tailor your Carnival experience to your needs and your budget.
There are two important factors that come into play when deciding which tickets to buy, and they both really come down to you and what you want out of your Carnival experience: first you have to think about which day you wish to to see and then you have to choose what type of tickets you want to sit in and where. After you have determined which ticket is best for you, you can head over to our tickets page and book yout Rio Carnival parade tickets today!
Types of Seats
Within each sector there are different types of tickets that correspond to the various ticketing options available for that sector.
These are the least expensive and most popular tickets in the Sambadrome. With the exception of Sector 9 (the tourist sector: see below), Grandstand tickets or Arquibancada in Portuguese, are not individually numbered tickets. They are general admission tickets that offer excellent views of the Sambadrome Parade runway.
Sitting in the Grandstands is an exciting and unforgettable experience where most people cheer and dance throughout the night, offering you the chance to truly see what Carnival means to Brazilians.
Allocated chairs, or cadeiras in Portuguese, are the most affordable of the Sambadrome’s assigned seats. The allocated chairs are available only in Sectors 12 and 13 at the end of the parade runway and are located near the Apotheosis Square. Organized in an open-air theatre facing the parade route, the allocated chairs are well laid out and offer unrestricted views of the entire samba runway.
Front Boxes (Frisas)
The front boxes, sometimes referred to as open air boxes (or Frisas in Portuguese) are considered the best tickets in the Sambadrome. Frisas are located right off the Samba parade runway. They are situated in four rows of boxes, those rows ranging from row A to row D, row A being at floor-level just a few feet from the parade runway!
Each Frisa box will sit 6 people and comes complete with a coffee table. Each Frisa ticket has a reserved numbered chair.
From the Frisas you will feel the pulsating beat of the samba drums from your own private VIP box. You will witness the parade’s vibrant and mesmerizing floats, dances, and costumes as if you are marching alongside the thousands of members of the Samba Schools! This is a true VIP experience.
Luxury Suite (Camarotes)
Luxury Suites (or Camarotes in Portuguese) are specially decorated elevated covered boxes spread across the parade route, from Sector 2 to Sector 11. Considered to be the most coveted tickets in the Sambadrome, the Luxury Suites offer great views of the parade route with first-class VIP amenities including waiter service, a buffet, and an open bar. While Carnival is a notoriously safe event, Luxury Suites are the tickets of choice for high profile people. Luxury suites offer enhanced security, so you may find yourself seated alongside celebrities, politicians, and the world’s royalty. Luxury Suites offer perks not available to the rest of the Sambadrome.
Sector 9: The Tourist Sector
Sector 9 offers a little more comfort and security than the general admission tickets of the other Grandstand sectors. Sector 9 is considered the Tourist Section. As opposed to the general admission concrete bleachers of the other Grandstand sectors, here the cement rows of seats are assigned and are clearly marked, so ticket prices in the reserved seats of Sector 9 run slightly higher than the grandstand seats of the other sectors.
Purchasing tickets for sector 9 provides the comfort of knowing that you have a designated and reserved location to watch the parade.
Even though it considered the tourist sector, some Cariocas do reserve these seats. The energy reverberates throughout the Sambadrome — especially so since Sector 9 is located right next to the niche of percussionists, the location from which the percussionists’ performances are judged.
Choosing the Parade
Each night the Sambadrome will be filled to capacity as Rio’s top Samba Schools, rally the crowds and execute meticulously choreographed performances as they sing and dance their way down the parade route along the 700 meter (half-mile) stretch of the Sambadrome runway.
Rio Carnival is truly a unique event that goes beyond the glitz and glam of extravagant parades. Rio Carnival Samba Parades are intense and highly anticipated competitions amongst the Samba Schools located throughout the city of Rio. These Samba Schools are separated hierarchically into groups, the most elite of which compete in Carnival’s official venue: the Sambadrome. The groups that parade through the Sambadrome are called the Access Group and the Special Group. This are the very best in class of all the Rio Samba Schools and fought hard to keep their status.
Access Group competitions are wild and exciting events that fill the Sambadrome to capacity. As the first of the major Sambadrome Parades, the mood is pulsating as the schools that make up the Access Group pull out all the stops to engage the crowd with the hopes of beating out their rival schools, as the winner of the Access Group is bumped up into the more prestigious Special Group for the following year. If you are traveling to Carnival on a budget, this event provides a great value for your money, as the tickets are cheaper than those for Special Group Parades, while the processions and performances are extremely high quality.
Each year, Special Group Parade Tickets are the hottest commodity of Rio Carnival. At these events, the Sambadrome is packed with impassioned fans who have waited a year to see the most elite group of Samba Schools in Rio. The atmosphere is electrifying and the the parades boast the most sensational performances in the world. The twelve Samba Schools that make up the Special Group parade on one of two nights. Both nights promise to display the most breathtaking floats, dazzling costumes, incredible songs, and unbelievable dances. After the scores are calculated, the top six schools of the Special School are invited back to the Sambadrome for the Champion’s Parade.
The Champion’s Parade is a night of vindication for each of the six participating Samba Schools, and an opportunity for fans and schools alike to celebrate and reaffirm that a year’s worth of hard work and dedication has paid off. Donning the same extravagant costumes and giving the same mind-blowing performances that brought them back to the Sambadrome, with the pressure of competition behind them, the Champion’s Parade is a night of fun where excitement and emotions run high. Amidst a backdrop of rhythm and beats, at this parade you will likely find yourself amongst the thousands of Cariocas (local residents of Rio) who tirelessly applaud as the winning teams parade through the Sambadrom. As many of the nearly half-a-million tourists have returned home, this is a great night to meet and mingle with the Cariocas. These tickets go fast, so if you’re still around for this extraordinary event, book your Rio Carnival 2016 Champion’s Parade tickets now!
Choosing Your Seats
After you have decided which parades fit your travel schedule, it is important to familiarize yourself with your seating options. Understanding the layout of the Sambadrome and the way the parade functions will help you decide where you want to sit. Specifically designed to provide great visibility for every ticket holder, the Sambadrome is divided into Sectors and offers a variety of seating options depending on your budget and needs. As sectors and ticket types offer unique experiences, there will inevitably be benefits and drawbacks to each of your alternatives — but remember: there truly isn’t a bad seat in the house!
The Sambadrome is divided into perfectly symmetrical seating sectors, with even sectors located on one side of the parade route and odd sections located directly opposite them. Many people prefer to sit up-close-and-center to get a better glimpse at the bewildering dance steps, ornately decorated floats, and intricate costumes as they pass by one-by-one; others prefer to view the event among the crowds of locals, where they have the opportunity to witness the entire parade as it evolves from start to finish. The choice is yours to make, and this page is designed to help you make the best decision for you. If this is not your first Carnival, note that the layout of the Sambadrome has changed in recent years.
The Grandstand: General Admissions
Samba School performances begin at the lower-numbered sectors and proceed toward the higher-numbered sectors. If this is not your first Carnival, note that the layout of the Sambadrome has changed in recent years. In 2012, when renovations for the 2016 Olympics were complete, Sector two was replaced by Sectors 2, 4, 6, and 8, and and located directly across the avenue from Sectors 3, 5, 7, and 9. The Grandstand seats offer great views of the entire parade route at an affordable price. Sectors 4, 5, 6, and 7 are the most centrally located, offering a full 180 degree view of the parade. With the exception of Sector 9, which is the “Tourist Sector”, these concrete bleachers are general admissions tickets and are not numbered, so it’s recommended that you arrive early to secure the best possible seats. In the Grandstand you are free to move around as you please, and most people tend to stand as close as they can to the front so they can scream, sing, dance, and cheer as the Samba Schools put on their breathtaking performances. These seats are great for getting a feel for what Rio Carnival means to the Cariocas, or locals, who will show you how to party Carnival-style!
Frisa: Open Air Front Box
The front boxes (or frisas) are considered by many to be the best seats in the Sambadrome, offering the same level of privacy as the luxury suites, without the VIP services. These open-air frisas are located as close as you can get to the parade route, organized in four rows of boxes ranging from rows A to D, row A situated at floor-level. Each box has seating for 6 people in numbered chairs and is complete with chairs, a coffee table, and access to a concession stand inside your Sector. The frisas allow you to feel the beat of the samba drums from your own private box, and you will see the vibrant and mesmerizing floats, fast-paced dance moves, and intricately designed costumes as if you are part of the parade. And remember: you don’t need to book the entire box to enjoy the best seats in the house.
The Luxury Suites (Camarotes)
The Luxury Suites (or Camarotes in Portuguese) are elevated, specially decorated indoor boxes that are spread across the parading avenue from Sectors 2 to 11. Considered the most sought after seats in the Sambadrome, the Luxury Suites provide spectators with a great view of the parade route, in addition to first-class waiter service, a buffet, and a unlimited drinks. Though Rio Carnival is a widely-recognized to be a safe event, as the preferred ticket option for high-profile people from around the world, the luxury suites offer enhanced security — so you may find yourself seated alongside celebrities, politicians, and even royalty. While they offer amenities not available to the rest of the crowd, the Luxury Suites come at a cost. Not only are they the most expensive tickets in the Sambadrome, but visibility can also be a problem. Sometimes the suite window is only big enough for 12 people to watch the show with unrestricted views; therefore, we only recommend the suites for closed parties of 12, 24, or 36 people.
Location Along the Parade Route
Samba School performances begin at the lower-numbered sectors and proceed toward the higher-numbered sectors. There are certain benefits to sitting in a sector located at the beginning of the parade route. These seats offer the unique opportunity to watch the Samba Schools gather, warm up, and make last minute preparations as they anxiously await their moment in the spotlight. What’s more, the opening of each Samba School’s procession is the most highly anticipated moment of the parade; after a year of hard work, this is the euphoric moment when the school enters the parade route and introduces it’s theme. The whole crowd goes nuts, and being close to witness this is a moment you will cherish your entire life.
Additionally, toward the beginning of the procession there is less of a lag time between performances. The Samba School that is on deck begins its performance when the preceding school is half-way through their procession. Seats located in the higher-numbered sectors have to wait up to an hour for the parade to reach them. Despite all the time spent practicing and rehearsing, for whatever reason, schools tend to mismanage their time and move slower in the beginning and middle of their performances. It’s important to note that Sector 1 consists of Grandstand tickets only and offers limited views of the final moments of the parade. These seats, however, are not sold but rather are given out by the competing Samba Schools.
There are distinct benefits to the seats located toward the end of the parade route. While they may be rushing to finish their performances within the allotted time, by the end of the procession, school members come to the sobering realization that for them, this year’s parade, the magnificent product of a year’s worth of meticulous planning and practice, is quickly coming to a close. So those seated in these sections will observe some of the best performances as Samba School members go all-out to make the most of the time remaining.
For most Sambadrome Parade spectators, seats located toward the middle of the parade route offer the best of both worlds. By the time the middle of the parade has rolled around, Samba School members are warmed up, enthusiastic, and eager to impress the judges — most of whom are seated toward the middle. Sitting toward the middle of the parade route is a great choice, as you have better views of the entire procession. In these seats you can experience the excitement of the opening of a Samba Performance, but you can also witness as the pace picks up toward the end. What’s more, there is a very short lag time between performances.
After the renovations to the Sambadrome, Sector 4 was renamed Sector 10. Prior to the change, this sector had slightly obstructed views of the runway — but now that is no longer the case. Sector 10 is a great choice for Grandstand seats and is very popular among Cariocas, natives of Rio de Janeiro and Rio Carnival enthusiasts, who sit together in small groups. The Grandstands of Sector 10 provide fantastic views of the entire parade as it progresses and evolves. Sector 10 is also typically the least expensive of the frisas, or front boxes; however, this is because of its location towards the end of the parade avenue.
Seats in Sector 11 are unique with respect to their location next to the drummers’ niche, called the Recuo da Bateria. The drummers’ niche refers to the location where the percussionists from each parading Samba School stop about halfway through their school’s performance and keep drumming. Sector 11 is an exciting place to sit, as you will feel the beat of the drums pulsating throughout your body. This is sure to get you into the Carnival spirit long before everyone else. What’s more, located directly across from Sector 10, Sector 11 offers great views of the parade as the Samba Schools make their climactic march toward the end of Apotheosis Square.
Sectors 12 and 13
Sectors 12 and 13 are located the closest to “Apotheosis Square”, and are considered a great value for your money when compared to the other reserved seats in the Sambadrome. Seats in these Sectors are organized in long rows of allocated chairs facing the parade route. Apotheosis Square is where Samba Schools gather at the end of their performances and take off their heavy costumes. Many of them stay to watch the rest of the schools perform, but many of them leave, either returning home or going to one of the many parties throughout the city. It is not uncommon for parade participants to leave their costumes at Sambadrome, providing the unique opportunity for spectators located close to the square, particularly Sector 13, to rescue and wear costumes that have been left behind.
How to Say it in Portuguese:
The parading avenue – a pista de desfile
The sector – o setor
The sectors – os setores
Even-numbered sectors – setores pares
Odd-numbered sectors – setores ímpares
Grandstands – arquibancadas
Boxes – camarotes especiais
Also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)