Carnival at Rio is much, much more than seeing the glittery costumes, Brazilian music, and samba moves at the Sambadromo. The Sambadromo is known to be for those who are wealthy or foreign visitors who are able to buy a seat at the glitzy event. For those who are just in it for some crazy parties and to experience the real Brazilian culture, they can find that right on the streets of Rio, for free!
The parties that the cariocas (the Rio natives) attend are the blocos, colorful street parties happening all around the city all week. Officially, there are around 50 blocos in different neighborhoods. Unofficially, there are well over 300 parties to choose from. Some blocos are just for a couple hundred people, while others have a crowd of thousands of revelers. Some play Brazilian funk, while others play Beatles classics. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best ones, here are our top 5 picks of blocos over Carnival weekend!
Where: Santa Teresa, Centro
When: Feb 5, 3PM-7PM; Feb 9, 10AM-2PM
Why? One of the most charming and revered street parties of Rio, parading through the slopes of Santa Teresa since 1990. Legend says that the street party emerged in honor of a nun that fled from the Carmelitas Covenant to enjoy the Carnival.
Route: Corner of Ladeira de Santa Teresa with Rua Dias de Barros – Largo do Curvelo – Rua Joaquim Murtinho (ending at #300)
Estimated attendance: 12,000
2. Céu na Terra
Where: Santa Teresa, Centro
When: Feb 6, 8AM-1PM
Why? A favorite of the fashionistas and cool cariocas, like local celebs Betina de Luca and Thomaz Azulay, Céu na Terra is a perpetual favorite of the locals. The beats of classic samba music, like Pixinguinha and marchinhas de Carnaval, will keep you moving all morning.
Address: Largo dos Guimarães
Estimated attendance: 15,000
Where: São Conrado, Southern Zone
When: Feb 6, 10AM-2PM
Why? The best of the Brazilian Funk music, straight from the Rocinha favela. Funk, Carnival, and Beach? You must go!
Route: Av. Prefeito Mendes De Moraes, Da R. Herbert Moses – R. Engenheiro Amandino De Carvalho (Muro Do Gávea Golf)
Estimated attendance: 40,000
Where? Ipanema, Southern Zone.
When? Feb 7, 4PM-8PM
Why? One of the most traditional, long-running street parties, this bloco brings tens of thousands of people dancing down the main streets and avenues of Ipanema. It will be blasting classic Brazilian music and cheesy pop tunes from the Trio Elétrico, that will make everyone shake their bodies.
Route: Praça General Osório – R. Teixeira de Melo – Av. Vieira Souto x R. Henrique Drumond
Estimated attendance: 150,000
Where? Aterro do Flamengo, Southern Zone.
When? Feb 8, 3PM-7PM
Why? This street party with a real sensation! It mixes Beatles classes with Samba beats, making it one of the hottest parties of the Carnival.
Where: Aterro do Flamengo, between MAM and Marina da Glória.
Estimated attendance: 120,000