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Old Dec 8, 11, 6:01 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Worth spending 24 hrs in Rio for the Carnival?

So I booked a 4-day trip to Sao Paulo during the Carnival: Feb 16 to Feb 20th unknowing that was the actual Carnival weekend. Now that I know, I really wanna get to Rio for at least one day.

Hotels are out of the question at this point and hostels that usually charge $25 a night is charging $250 a night and 7 nights minimum - no lodging. However, the flight from Sao Paulo to Rio is still very reasonable.

So, I'm thinking of flying there on Sun morning, chill at the beach during the day, see the Carnival and party throughout the night, then fly back the next morning.

I have no problem staying up for 24 hrs in a new city but worried about getting to places from the airport. Would I have a lot of trouble finding transportation between the Rio airport, beaches, and wherever Carnival is happening (I haven't looked this up yet). Would it be so crowded and chaotic that it's not worth going there just for 24 hrs?

I speak 0 Portuguese now but hope to have some elementary knowledge by Feb.

Thanks.
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Old Dec 8, 11, 7:05 pm   #2
 
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I'd think there will be no problem with transportation (taxis). I used taxis there during the carnaval. If you are not uncomfortable staying awake for 24 hours, it's definitely worth going.
By the way, there will be definitely a lot of party in Sao Paulo too during that time.
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Old Dec 8, 11, 9:11 pm   #3
 
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I've done it but many years ago. It was exhausting but fun. Only for the young at heart.

To me, New Year's on the beach has always been the best Brasilian experience during the holiday periods.
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Old Dec 8, 11, 9:19 pm   #4
 
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Thanks for your replies. Just booked the flight
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Old Dec 8, 11, 11:53 pm   #5
 
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Good for you ! Just enjoy a few cups of the Cafe Nacional now and then and you will be able to stay awake for quite a long time, perhaps a week or so.

Don't carry a lot of personal items with you, as pickpockets abound. You might be able to leave some items in a checked hand bag or carry-on at the airport, but only if they are open before your return flight.

A small Sony camera ( or something similar ) can get hidden in a pocket, but 86 the Swiss watch, and try and keep it as minimalist simple as you can be. Stay with the groups of people for your own safety.

By the way, $ 250. USD per night in Brasil's current booming economy is the average, going price today.

Boa Sorte !
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Old Dec 9, 11, 1:08 pm   #6
 
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Carnaval officially goes through Tuesday but many people take the full week off. The prices you quote are likely based on minimum-stay requirements.

You are the first person I've ever met who went to Brazil unaware that Carnaval was taking place. I assume your business paid for the hotel, etc. Your plan COULD work but you need to work out:

-Where you're going to put your different outfits. Look at a map and see where the beach areas of Copacabana and Ipanema are in relation to the two airports (the international airport, GIG, and downtown airport, SDU). A long cab ride from either but you can take the "Royal"bus for about 7 Reais. Once you get to the beach, however, where will you put your stuff and how will you keep it safe if you go into the water?

-The Carnaval parades are late at night in the Samboadrome, sort of an elongated, open-air stadium. You can't just walk in. You can buy a ticket in advance, through a broker or travel agency, or try to buy one from a scalper in front of the stadium that night (and hope you get a real ticket, not just the stub portion). BTW, you can get to the Samboadrome by Metro (subway) or taxi or tour bus if you arrange it in advance. The Samboadrome is not in the best part of town.

-The parades go all night long. Hopefully you can find a taxi whenever you want to leave to take you to the airport. You don't "party all night long" unless you (and your bag) will go to a nightclub.

What will you do with your luggage back at Sao Paulo?
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Old Dec 9, 11, 1:14 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swissaire View Post
Good for you ! Just enjoy a few cups of the Cafe Nacional now and then and you will be able to stay awake for quite a long time, perhaps a week or so.

Don't carry a lot of personal items with you, as pickpockets abound. You might be able to leave some items in a checked hand bag or carry-on at the airport, but only if they are open before your return flight.

A small Sony camera ( or something similar ) can get hidden in a pocket, but 86 the Swiss watch, and try and keep it as minimalist simple as you can be. Stay with the groups of people for your own safety.

By the way, $ 250. USD per night in Brasil's current booming economy is the average, going price today.

Boa Sorte !
Hotel prices in Rio have always been high, especially during New Years and Carnaval, when the hotels make their big profits for the year with higher rates and minimum stay requirements. Not just a booming economy (and it is starting to show some cracks), but at those times there's a big influx of tourists willing to pay top dollar for even basic hotels/hostels. Supply and demand. $250 is NOT the average hotel price in most areas of Brazil (and you don't get luxury at that price), but in places like Rio, Salvador and Olinda/Recife it's not bad, and during Carnaval enough people show up, sometimes making reservations at the last minute, that hotel owners can demand high rates and require minimum stays of 4 days and more. I think it's mainly foreign tourists driving up the prices at the high-end hotels during such events, though Brazilians are quite well known to run up big credit card debts, even with interest rates ranging to well over 100% annually. I know many "Cariocs" (residents of Rio) who take advantage of the Carnaval period to get the heck out of the city.
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Old Dec 9, 11, 1:59 pm   #8
 
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I would say OP with the issue of huge crowds, getting around and what to do with your personal belongings you are probably asking for a hassle not to mention potential trouble. As discussed at length on FT, crime is an issue in Rio and probably moreso over Carnaval.

As much fun as this may seem off hand unless you have friends in Rio I would suggest that you plan another time (do you travel regularly to Sao Paulo).

Don't get me wrong. Rio is an amazing place and a lot of fun but to be there for 24 hours over Carnaval with no place to stay might be pushing your luck. I'd say come back some other time or plan for next year (2013) when you get a hotel room in Copa, Ipanema or Leblon.
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Old Dec 9, 11, 2:15 pm   #9
 
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In advance. hotel prices are crazy. It may be possible to find something once you are there. That said, Carnival is a non stop party for those up to it.
Drink, dance, eat, and as necessary, sleep.
One of the most incredible parties in the world. Definitely go to the Sambadromo, for the show. If in Rio early enough, it is possible to purchase a "fantasia"(costume) and dance. Though might be something for your next Carnival. You can also dance in the reviewing stands.
Have fun, be safe.
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Old Dec 9, 11, 2:20 pm   #10
 
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If the OP is set on doing this after 24 hours in the hot summer Rio weather he is not going to be particularly clean. I don't believe there are any lounges at the domestic airport that have showers. I certainly would not want to be around him on the flight home.
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Old Dec 10, 11, 5:10 pm   #11
 
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You are all too pessimistic.

There are three kinds of Carnaval: Parade, Street and Ball.
You don't have to go to the big official parade! You can go to any street carnaval parade, they are free and you participate spontaneously . There are lots of them in different parts of the city throughout the day. Sometime in early February, a calender will come out with the details of these parades, so you can choose where you want to go.
If you'd like, you can send me a message in February and I can explain what the best alternatives for the day are. Street Carnaval is not very active after 10 PM, so if you don't go to the big parade, you could actually return to São Paulo on the same day.
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Old Dec 11, 11, 7:12 pm   #12
 
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Thanks everyone for your {optimistic, pessimistic, realistic} replies. Especial thanks to C010T3 - I may take you up on your offer as the days get near.

Here is my plan:

- Leave GRU to GIG Sunday morning at 10am. Have a day pack with swimming trunk and a towel leaving my luggage at my hostel in Sao Paulo as I will still be checked in.

- Get a cab from the airport and get to a beach (recommendations are most welcome). Hang out, take a nap, walk around, eat, whatever. Are there any public bathrooms/changing rooms on Rio beaches?

- I plan on getting a ticket here in the next week or so: http://www.rio-carnival.net/rio_carn...de-tickets.php (This looks pretty legit to me, I'm gonna get the cheapest ticket here). Head over there 8ish.

- Stay at the Carnival until 5am or so. Get a taxi and hop back to GIG - breakfast. Fly out to GRU at 8am.

- Go back to hostel in Sao Paulo. Shower, nap, relax. Fly back to the US at 10pm.

I was commenting on hoStel prices not hotel prices. Hostels in most places in the world, including Rio, charge less than $30 a night. Hotels charging $250 a night is not an absurdity even in the poorest countries. HoStels charging $250 a night, 5 nights min, is an absurdity.

I'm hoping that Rio at this time will be safer than normal due to more police being around and just pure safety in numbers. Altho pick pocketing will be worse but I'll be wearing an under-pants money belt (passport here) and all things in front pocket. I plan on drinking but not too much.
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Old Dec 12, 11, 5:22 am   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the1guy View Post
- Get a cab from the airport and get to a beach (recommendations are most welcome). Hang out, take a nap, walk around, eat, whatever. Are there any public bathrooms/changing rooms on Rio beaches?
Public bathrooms/changing rooms?

No! There are collective showers not meant for nudity and toilets, but I have to warn you that they will be absolutely disgusting during Carnival, not to mention constantly packed.

Do not, but I mean, DO NOT take a nap at the beach under any circumstances! You will be alone, so there will be nobody to look after your belongings. Also, do not leave your belongings unattended, not even for a second.
Leave all your documents at an airport locker.

You should also take in consideration that you may get stuck in traffic at any given time during the day since many streets get blocked by the parades. Some street parades start in the early morning (8 AM or even 7 AM), so don't think that because you're arriving before noon, you'll have clear streets.

I'm not being pessimistic here. I'm just informing you about what happens. Going to the beach won't be the easiest task as you'll be alone. If you had a second person, it would be pretty easy, as you could alternate. Going to a street parade, on the other hand, is pretty easy, since you can keep all you belongings with yourself all the time.
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Old Dec 12, 11, 5:50 am   #14
 
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I also can't emphasize never leaving your personal belongings alone, even if for a minute. There are public bathrooms at the Postos for $R1 but as
CO10T3
has indicated they will be very disgusting.

Some of the vendors on the beach that sell beach chair rentals/drinks have little showers set up that they might let you use (or charge you a couple of real to do so.) But since the showers are on the sand you get dirty again at least from your feet down.

The beach part is going to be the most problematic part and you may want to reconsider. Yes, there will be a huge police presence along the beaches in Leblon and Ipanema but the police can't watch every foot of the beach.

Also, I hope you will be using a lounge at GIG for a shower or at least have a change of clothing and tioletries to "freshen up" in the bathroom. You will not particularly look or smell good after a day at the beach and festivals.
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Old Dec 12, 11, 6:06 am   #15
 
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your plan looks great on paper (well, on screen!), but the practicalities of mixing beach with urban night-time activities without a break are troublesome.

A beach is a beach, and I hope you'll have plenty more opportunities to walk on sand and wade into the sea elsewhere - but I'd suggest on your day-trip you concentrate on sight-seeing and people-watching.

A hotel pool would give the opportunity to swim AND freshen up - but i have no idea how easy it is to blag entrance, or how cheap it is to enter as pool guest. You could try going to a pool bar for a drink, and taking it from there: I've certainly been up to the (tiny) Ipanema Plaza pool bar, and to the (ex)-Intercontinental one without being challenged. As for public pools I don't even know if these exist.
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