The biggest pre-Lenten celebration in the world starts in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro on Friday, March 1st, and runs until Saturday March 9th. It’s estimated that over two million revelers come to the city during that period to celebrate and have a good time before the season of Lent begins — when all good Catholics strive to curb their sensual appetites in preparation for Easter.
If you haven’t booked your hotel reservations yet for this grand party, you may be out of luck! Folks from around the world plan their yearly vacations around this festival, looking forward to the unparalleled feasting and merrymaking.
Of course, there are always last minute cancellations — so if want to try your luck, you can put yourself on several hotel standby lists.
Every neighborhood in Rio has its own local parade each evening, featuring floats, costumed mummers, and huge papier mache grotesques — heads of famous people or devils or angels. Bars and restaurants don’t close during all eight days — so you can get a drink and a good meal whenever you want.
Fireworks are continuous. You’ll need to wear some kind of mask whenever you go out — otherwise you’re subject to a ‘fine’ of 2 reals for ‘indecent exposure’ by any member of the hilarious crowd.
And finally, don’t expect to get much, if any, sleep during Rio’s Carnival. Even the most staid hotels unbend, and expect round-the-clock parties in their suites.