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Rio Carnival Dates for 2014
February 28th until March 4th
The party which takes over a city!
So whats it like?
Avenues and streets fill with lights and colours, children dress in bright costumes and the throngs of locals dance to the rhythms of Samba. This is how you experience Rio Carnival, with Brazilians and people from all over the world in search of fun and a release from daily routines.
The official start to Carnival is on a Friday. The official opening happens at around 1 P.M when the cities Mayor crowns the King Momo (The Carnival King) and this takes place near Av Rio Branco. Banks (and pretty much everything else) close on Friday and do not re-open until Wednesday, but there are still plenty of ATM's that are open throughout the city.
On Saturday things get into full swing, and there is always a street parade on from 8:00pm on Av. Rio Branco, this is for the lesser samba schools that did not make the sambadome cut. It is a very informal affair, one school may pass then nothing for one hour, then 3 will pass, it is free and a good night out. There is plenty of people selling beers and good street food. It lasts most of the night.
There is a football game on at the Maracana stadium, on Carnaval Saturday. The safest option to see this is to organize transportation/tour through agencies. Generally it kicks off about 4:00 P.M, but this has been known to very, the game is usually a final between two of the big Rio clubs (Flamenco, Fluminense, Botafago or Vasco de Gama).
Every night there are bands playing by the Aquaduct in Lapa. There are also street parties around the Lapa area, with bars set-up on the streets. The city never stops. You will not believe it if you have not been before. If in doubt where the party is, head to Lapa!
Sunday and Monday are the main Sambadome nights, and everyone should go at least one night, some people go both nights, but if you go don't want to go both nights then a good thing to do is to go along to the sambadrome again anyway and make your way to the Av Presidente Vargas end, this is where all the samba schools prepare and wait to go in, this is free and it gives the opportunity to get a close look at the floats and outfits, a great atmosphere, with plenty of street food and drinks.
Blocos are the heart of Rio Carnaval with hundreds of neighborhoods getting together to hold their own. They parade around their local areas, with scores of people following in a joyous procession. Blocos are great to get involved with, but they do make it hard for public transport and taxis to get to where they need to go, so expect delays during Carnival.
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