The Official Samba Parade, Rio Carnival 2017 - A Night at the Sambódromo...
|As mentioned elsewhere on this website, the
official Rio de Janeiro Samba Paradeis a contest in which the
best twelve samba schoolsparticipate.
Also in 2017, the parades are being held in a designated stadium, the Sambódromo in the central suburb Santo Cristo.
The grand finals of the
Samba Parade 2017are on Sunday and Monday nights (7 + 8 February).
There are also parades at Friday and Saturday of Carnival weekend (5 + 6 February) and the six best samba schools over the weekend will parade once more on Saturday after Carnaval (4 March 2017).
On Sunday and Monday night (7 and 8 February), the
Sambódromoopens its doors from 8 pm until 6 am for the official Carnival Samba Parade. One reason for these nightly opening hours is that it is too hot in day time for the Greatest Show on Earth...
|In order to enter the samba stadium, you will need an entry ticket which will automatically open the gate.
Please note there will be several characters around the Sambódromo looking for a scam, so walk fast if you already have a ticket; have your guards up if you have to buy tickets from a scalper (also note that
Samba Parade ticketscan be false).
By all means, get in the Sambódromo as quickly as possible. Once inside you can buy food and drinks.
The grandstands of the Sambódromo, which is in fact an 800 meter/ 2625 ft. lane, are split up in demarcated sectors with different rates. The best sectors are 5, 7 and 9 in the middle of the Sambódromo.
The former two are usually booked out by big corporations, but sector 9 is assigned to tourists (although as a tourist, you do not have to book for this sector compulsory!).
|Sectors 2 and 3, at the start of the ‘catwalk’, are the cheapest, but have their own charm. From here you see the samba schools preparing for their performance.
Arguably the best value for money you will get in sector 11 at the end of the street. There are good views and tickets are relatively affordable.
After having found your sector, you should find a place to sit down. One samba school performance will take over an hour and the break between two schools is at least half an hour, so having a seat is no luxury.
Furthermore, many Brazilian spectators around you had to save up a whole year in order to be here this night and they take this contest of samba schools very seriously; a gringo standing in front of them blocking the view is not appreciated. 'Stealing' seats even less.
Remember most Brazilians do not speak English, so they can not make it clear when you are at their seats or blocking the view. Body language is a proper alternative, but in Brazil this can become easily more grim than necessary... So before you decide from which spot to watch the parade, be sure you are not bothering anyone; a corrective poke from an old lady - or anything worse - is inflicted before you know it.
|In line with this topic: you should also take into account the very annoying Brazilian phenomenon that seats can be occupied by putting stuff on them, even if they are hardly used the rest of the night.
If someone claims the seat you are sitting on, do not make a scene but stand up and find another seat.
By the way, in each section guards are present, however, none of them speak any English.
After the parades - or when you have seen enough (most people only come to see 3 or 4 samba schools) - you can head for a fenced off designated taxi area outside the Sambódromo. Register here your name at a call list; within 10 to 20 minutes you should be in a reliable cab back to your hotel or elsewhere. Do not wander off in the surroundings of the Sambódromo, looking for a taxi but finding trouble...
More information on samba schools and the samba parade
More safety advice Carnaval