Rio Gay Guide

Arrive early or late, party & savecarnival in rio starts two weeks ahead

picking out the right clothes - Cartoon by Ziraldo
Pre-Carnival festivities: Banda de Ipanema
Choose one or two weeks ahead and Carnival til you drop!

And Banda de Ipanema's first parade is on Saturday - two weeks before Carnival. On the next Saturday, a week ahead, there's Simpatia é Quase Amor. It is not gay as Banda the Ipanema, but it is where all cute South Side locals party. Just join in and try to behave.

Arriving early is the best way to dodge the higher hotel costs during the main event. This means you can spend longer and pay less. It's summer, the beach is crowded with beautiful people from all over the world. There are parties at all major clubs on the weekend.

picking out the right clothes - Cartoon by Ziraldo
Banda de Ipanema changed Street Carnival in Rio
Banda de Ipanema changed Street Carnival in Rio

This is one of the most traditional street bands in Rio. It is part of the city's cultural heritage, and was founded in 1965. The story is really interesting, this was right in the years of the military dictatorship. The motto of the Banda, Yolhesman Crisbeles, made the army guys very intrigued.

picking out the right clothes - Cartoon by Ziraldo

For some reason drag queens started to show at the Banda. When they noticed that they were a welcome addition they stayed. And multiplied. We have been collecting images since '96. Take a look at the theme albums Drags from Ipanema - each one with a video featuring the best shots!

Visit our gallery of carnival photos or videos

picking out the right clothes - Cartoon by Ziraldo
Simpatia É Quase Amor
This is an offspring of Banda de Ipanema

Street festivities also multiplied with the years. Simpatia is where the yonger people go. All young people from the South Side, like twenty thousand of them. They take over Av. Vieira Souto, the beach lane, from Praça General Osório to Jardim de Alá. Everybody is welcome.

picking out the right clothes - Cartoon by Ziraldo
Samba School RehearsaL
Samba School Rehearsal:

This is how you complete your Carnival circuit.
They happen at all major Samba Schools. There are tours including round-trip transportation, or you may go with local friends and share the taxi ride. You will listen to samba all night long, dance presentations, mingle with a crowd from the suburbs, it's loads of fun.

picking out the right clothes - Cartoon by Ziraldo
Cidade do Samba - where Carnival magic happens
Day visits are available and tickets are cheap

Cidade do Samba was built in the Downtown area to lodge all major group Samba Schools. They have their workshops, build their costumes and floats. The place is hectic on these weeks before Carnival. There are daily guided tours.

picking out the right clothes - Cartoon by Ziraldo

Feijoada do Samba is the night event that happens at Cidade do Samba. It is a complete dinner of feijoada, a Rio specialty.

Main dish: the show directed by Milton Cunha, the openly gay samba school designer. It is simply Carnaval-icious. You get to participate in the end, wear true costumes, take photos with everyone, including the samba dancers.

picking out the right clothes - Cartoon by Ziraldo
Circuit Party on Weekends
All clubs are pumping with special parties

All summer weekends are crowded. But the two weeks or the week before everyone is already on party mode. Clubs and circuit parties happen everywhere. There are special resident and guest DJ's from all over the world.

We keep an agenda of events that is updated by party producers and promoters. Many offer e-flyers with special discounts to friends we send their way. Get your name on the list, and be there. That's VIP treatment, you are welcome.

picking out the right clothes - Cartoon by Ziraldo

Aprés-Carnival suggestion: The Saturday after Carnival is when the encore of the Samba Parade happens. The six best schools get to march. Prices are half of Carnival week tickets. Some hotels have a mini two-night weekend, package but additional nights are priced lower.

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