5 Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro During Carnival 2022
How to make the most of your time during this stunning annual celebration
Close your eyes and imagine streets filled with swirling colors and enticing scents, sounds drifting through the night air, excitement and energy swirling through the streets like a warm breeze. This is the image of Carnival, the ‘The Greatest Show on Earth,’ held annually in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Due to the pandemic, this once-in-a-lifetime event is being pushed from its usual final weekend in February before Lent and will instead be celebrated in April. Now that there is extra time to plan your visit, here are six things to do while in Rio during Carnival, with some tips from Fernanda Trombino Figuereido de Assis, founder of Xapuri Brasil.
First thing’s first, we chose the best place to stay in Rio de Janeiro to enjoy all the city has to offer:
Stay At Teresa Hotel RJ-MGallery
If you want to stay in a hotel redefining luxury boutique experiences, check out Santa Teresa Hotel RJ — MGallery, a favorite of ours here at The Nopo. This urban retreat is located in the Santa Teresa neighborhood, a village-like area with the quintessential bohemian charm only found in Rio. The design of the hotel is heavily inspired by Brazil’s art and cultural touchpoints, making a stay here feel extremely immersive. Enjoy panoramic views of the city from the hotel’s hilltop perch, an open-air swimming pool, Le Spa, the hotel’s tranquil retreat, the hotel’s restaurant, Térèze, and much more. Nearly everything you could wish for in a dreamy vacation is at your fingertips here, but we bet the excitement of Carnival will draw you out.
Photos by @santateresamgallery
Visit The Sambadrome
The Sambadrome is at the heart of Carnival. This iconic, 90,000 person venue is where Rio’s best samba schools compete, attracting locals and tourists alike. To fully experience the thrill and energy of Carnival, the incredible five-night spectacle that takes place here is a must-see. Make sure you get tickets in advance so you don’t miss the action.
Walk Escadaria Selarón
Nestled between the neighborhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa, you’ll find the stunning Escadaria Selarón, a staircase covered in a collage of over 2,000 pieces of colorful tiles, mirrors, and ceramic pieces. This vibrant scene is the work of painter Jorge Selarón, a Chilean-born artist who fell in love with Rio and created this work as a “tribute to the Brazilian people.” This easy-to-find landmark is another must-see while visiting the “Cidade Maravilhosa.”
Photo on right by @toemsanta
Go To The Beach
Rio is famous for two beaches, in particular, Copacabana and Ipanema-stunning public beaches that attract crowds of people eager to soak up the sun and enjoy the pristine waters of the Atlantic.
“The beaches of Rio are white sand and the waters are crystal clear. I suggest Ipanema beach. The people are beautiful, the beaches extensive, and the waters are unforgettable,” Fernanda tells us.
Expect the party atmosphere of Carnival to carry on at both of these iconic beaches, with crowds of people reveling in the energy of the festivities. If you’re looking for a more relaxing beach setting, head to Praia da Barra da Tijuca, a white sandy beach just south of the city center.
Stroll Through A Park Or Museum
At any point that you’re near the Sambodrome and feel the need for a shady respite, be sure to stop by Campo de Santana Square, a sprawling park, perfect for a leisurely walk and some people-watching. This lush park, filled with leafy trees, bridges, fountains, monuments, lakes, and even caves, is the perfect place to relax during the festivities of Carnival. Sit by one of the lakes or fountains and enjoy an empanada from a nearby food cart.
“The characteristics of the city are unique. It’s worth walking around the city and getting a feel for what carioca life is like,” says Fernanda.
If you want to slow down the pace from the hustle and bustle on the street while keeping your mind engaged, Fernanda suggests Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow), Rio’s remarkable science museum located on the waterfront at Pier Maua.
Carnival is an incredible experience, one that is nearly impossible to describe accurately without being there yourself. If you are lucky enough to travel to Rio de Janeiro for this year’s festivities in April, you are sure to find yourself in a whirlwind experience, one filled with sights, sounds, and smells that will draw you in and amaze you. If you do at any point find yourself wondering what to do in Rio during Carnival this year, this guide is an easy place to start to get you inspired.
by Hannah McIntosh