On the Sambadrome Parades route, crowds of up to 50,000 pack the reviewing stands. Rain or shine, six of the top tier schools parade on Carnival Sunday night from 9pm until dawn, and six more parade on Carnaval Monday night. The Samba School winners are announced on Tuesday, and they return the following Saturday for the Champions Parade.
Link to our Rio de Janeiro Carnival Page to watch the parades LIVE from the Sambadrome!
Tickets for Sunday and Monday night's event can be extremely expensive, often costing more than US $500! For this reason, millions of Cariocas party at clubs or Rio de Janeiro Carnival Balls, join a Blocos parade, and then watch the parades live on TV.
The best way to purchase tickets, is to do so through a reputable travel agency in Ipanema or Copacabana. Purchases can include transportation to and from the Sambadrome. Trip Advisor members rate travel consultant Marcelo Zahar very highly.
If you do purchase tickets separately, transportation to and from the Sambadrome can be easily taken on the inexpensive and safe Metro system, which has Copacabana and Ipanema stops. Going by taxi is a more expensive alternative and can be slow going due to heavy traffic for the event. Traveling there or back by city bus is not recommended at night.
Which are the best seats to get? That's a difficult question to answer and is dependent on your budget. You can spend a lot of money for the luxury box seats or buy tickets for for grandstand seats in one of the many "sectors" that line the 80 minute parade route. Wheter you buy box or grandstand seats, the spots are taken on a first come basis. Box seat patrons will move around to share seats and views with others. This will likely not occur in the grandstand seats, as some rabid Carnaval fans arrive early, grand the front row seats, and stay until the very end. The views are all pretty good in most of the grandstand seats and rows. Grandstand ticket prices vary by sector, with Sector 11 being thought of being a good value for the money.