Budget Travel Tips for the Rio Carnival

As the world’s most famous Carnival celebration, Rio de Janeiro is a popular destination for budget travellers in February. Rio Carnival is one of life’s greatest hedonistic festivals. Something you must do at least once on your travels.

Expect half-naked women, toucan birds and crazy men dancing until dawn. You don’t have to pay a premium to party in Rio either. Backpackers arriving in Brazil can stay in some excellent Rio hostels right next to Copacabana Beach.

With up to five million people attending each year, the samba festival is a week-long celebration of parades, parties and dancing.

Alternative Parades in Rio 

Rio Carnival Street Party

Carnival takes place 46 days before Easter in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. Rio’s main events take place over five days from Friday 13th to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), and include both spontaneous parades and sexy dancing.

The 2015 festival will run from February 13 to the 18th. With Carnival fast approaching, the legendary Sambadrome parades are likely to sell out pretty soon, but a smart traveller knows the Avenida Rio Branco parades are free of charge!

Free Street Parties in Rio 

Rio Carnival 2015 Street Party

Free street parties are called ‘blocos’ in Rio and they take place in more than a hundred neighbourhoods every day, at no extra charge. “O cordão do bola preta” is the most important bloco and alongside “Suvaco de Cristo”, which takes place below the Christ the Redeemer statue.

Sexy and spontaneous blocos capture the riotous spirit of the Rio Carnival. Everyone is welcome and the dancing can go on till late at night.

Rio de Janeiro Carnival

Where to Stay in Rio

  • El Misti Hostel Leme is a super friendly hostel only a few metres walk away from Copacabana Beach. Rooms are available from €8.33.
  • El Misti Copacabana is a traditional Brazilian hostel with a gala atmosphere every night of the week. Rooms are available from €11.96.
  • Barra Guest House is an American style hostel situated in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. Rooms are available from €25.72.
  • Caipihostel is a quality backpacker hostel offering budget travellers a cheap place to crash in the heart of Rio. Rooms are available from €11.87