One of the most coveted perks at Travelzoo is the Travelzoo Experience, in which Deal Experts and other employees take advantage of the same travel, entertainment and local deals we publish to our subscribers and report back on their experience.
For my first Travelzoo Experience I booked roundtrip flights on TAM Airlines from New York to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I chose Rio de Janeiro because I love South America vacations, but never visited Brazil. The country’s world famous Carnival celebration was scheduled for February. I knew Carnival would be an ideal time for me to tour the city and surrounding areas as well as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to participate in a unique and unparalleled cultural experience.
Tips for Surviving Carnival
Arrive Early: Plan your itinerary to begin before Carnival is in full swing. This gives newcomers an opportunity to acclimate themselves with the sprawling city before mobs of party-goers descend on the streets. Many of Rio’s shops and tourist attractions are closed during the celebrations so their employees can participate. Coming to town a few days ahead allows you to check these off your bucket list.
Where to Party: Save some cash and meet locals by joining street parties called blocos instead of watching Carnival at Sambadrome. Follow the crowds or listen for the music of, foot parades of local dancers companies competing for followers of a truck top samba band.
How to Party:
Staying Hydrated: Carnival takes place in February, the peak of Brazil’s summer, when daily temperatures hit 90 before lunchtime. Juice shops dot the city blocks and offer an extensive menu of refreshments for thirty party-goers, including açaí (Ah-sai-ee). Beachside, snag a água de coco, a green coconut opened with a machete and served with a straw.
Emergencies: When traveling in groups, it’s easy to lose companions in the mob on Avenida Atlantica – the seaside highway separating the beaches of Copabana and Leme from the neighborhoods. Before heading out, designate one of the 13 numbered postos (lifeguard towers) to meet if severed from your friends.