Rio Carnival, February 2010. What more can I say than ‘wow’. A major highlight among a year of incredible experiences!

When Becky and I were planning our RTW trip, Rio Carnival was not in our plans and to be honest we didn’t know too much about it. But when our STA travel agent mentioned the fact that it would be going on whilst we were in South America our interest was piqued. It is one of the most famous festivals in the world, why would we not want to go? So we basically arranged half of our trip around making it there!

And boy was it worth it.

We had decided after our incredible 12 day Peru Panorama trip that we wanted to get to the Amazon, because, well, it is the most famous river in the world, why would we not want to go?! We ended up defying everyone’s advice and warnings and road the entire length of the Amazon on cargo boats over a beautifully relaxing two and a half weeks. So many people told us it wasn’t possible, especially as we were two 19 year old girls travelling on our own. But we did it and it was incredible. Days swept by slowly in a blur of hammocks, sunsets, jungle and naps. It was plain sailing, excuse the pun.

But when we finally found ourselves at the Atlantic Ocean, with less than a week until we were meant to be checking into a pre-booked hotel ready for Carnival, we finally hit an issue. Rio de Janeiro is 3000km from Belem and flying there would cost us an entire months budget. So, with little other option due to time constraints, we boarded a 55 hour, 3 day bus for a fraction of the price.

It was long and it was boring, but waiting at the other end was 4 incredible days full of a heady mix of colour, movement, excitement, energy and happiness.

Something so visceral is so hard to put into words, so let me take you on a visual journey. Rio Carnival is one of those experiences where it is all about the atmosphere and, despite my crappy point and shoot, I think I managed to capture a little bit of that with these images…

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One of the best nights of the week, partying crowds at the bridge.

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Carnival entertainers on the underground!

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Making friends!

Not just for the young!

Not just for the young!

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Taking a break!

Taking a break!

A classic, blurry carnival photo: colour and movement!

A classic, blurry carnival photo: colour and movement!

Catching up on some sleep before it all starts again tomorrow...

Catching up on some sleep before it all starts again tomorrow…

Dancers and revellers, movement and colour.

Dancers and revellers, movement and colour.

Playing dress up!

Playing dress up!

Inside the sambodrome!

Inside the sambodrome!

One of the incredible floats in the sambodrome

One of the incredible floats in the Sambodrome

Tickets to the Sambodrome, where the official procession takes place, are on the pricey side but it is so worth it. You will stumble across street parades and parties for free but nothing compares to the intensity inside the Sambodrome. It is a feast for the senses. And you can always do what we did and wait til near midnight to haggle down a good price with the touts outside the arena!

The following three images are my favourites, so full of life and fun.

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The outfits were outrageous and gorgeous in equal measures!

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The smiles on everyone’s faces were infectious.

Making Rio Carnival a priority on our travel itinerary was one of our best travel decisions! If you find yourself in South America in February, try and make it a priority for yourself and experience a once in a lifetime party!

Like us, I’m sure you won’t regret it!

 

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