Rio Carnival 2013 Guide

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Travel Features >> Rio Carnival 2013 Guide

Rio Carnival 2013 Guide

February 06, 2013

You've decided you are ready to make the once-in-a-lifetime voyage to Brazil to experience the greatest party on the planet! Next on the list of things to do: find a hotel. Choosing your accommodations is one of the most important decisions of the entire vacation. There are a few factors you should consider before making this decision. First, determine your budget. With your budget in mind, figure out which neighborhood you want to be your home base for the trip. After you have pinned down the location and your budget, evaluate which hotel amenities are most important to you.

Keep in mind that during Carnival most hotels in Rio have a mandatory check-in date and 5 night minimum stay. For Rio Carnival 2013, best results are found when you search for hotels from February 8-13, 2013.

Rio Carnival Hotel Budget
How much do you want to spend per person per night and what do you want to get out of that cost? Hotel prices in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival can get quite expensive for the high-end properties, but that doesn't make the trip out of reach. Going by the hotel's star rating is not always the best metric when it comes to determining the best hotel for you. If accommodation is the most important aspect when it comes to enjoying your trip, then you might consider budgeting relatively more for your hotel room.

Make sure to allocate enough of your budget per day to make the most of your trip to the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Take advantage of being in one of the most magnificent cities in the world! Take a tour to Corcovado and the Christ the Redeemer statue. Experience one of the legendary Rio Carnival Balls. And whatever you do, don't miss the Sambadrome Parade! Whether you want to sit in a Frisa located on the same level as the samba runway or a non-allocated Grandstand seat, you should consider the importance of your hotel budget when compared to the must-do Rio Carnival events.

During Carnival, it is very likely that you will spend very little time in your hotel room. The Sambadrome Parades and Rio Carnival Balls can last well into the following morning, often ending after 4:00 am -- and the party doesn't stop when the parade ends! You might find yourself out at a club until the sun comes up and only visiting your hotel to sleep, shower and change your clothes. What's important for most people is a convenient, clean and comfortable place to catch up on some sleep.

Best Neighborhood for Rio Carnival
Rio de Janeiro is made up of many different zones and neighborhoods. You may find that the area in which you will stay is tied to your budget -- but this doesn't need to be the case. View the proximity of each hotel in Rio from important points of interest like Corcovado, the beach and the Sambadrome, the official venue of Rio Carnival. You can also book your hotels online, or customize vacation packages with discounts on select recommended hotels combined with Sambadrome Parade tickets, Carnival Ball tickets and roundtrip shuttle transfers. Seek out interactive Sambadrome maps to help you visualize and choose the best seat for your budget.

You may want to stay in the center of the action, within walking distance from most of the activities in which you are likely to participate. If you are traveling with children, you might prefer a quieter neighborhood further away from all the madness. What will likely make this decision for you is how close you want to be to certain events; how flexible you are with your transportation options; and who you are traveling with.

Downtown Rio in the City Center (or Centro) is considered the historic and financial center of Rio. Downtown is centrally located and within close proximity to almost everything and easy to get to via taxi or subway (Rio Metro). There are art galleries, history museums, street parties -- and you will be close to the Scala Nightclub, host venue of the nightly Scala Ball Series during Rio Carnival. However, the Centro is not where most international visitors prefer to stay.

The most popular zone of Rio for Carnival is the South Zone (Zona Sul). The South Zone is comprised of many neighborhoods. The most popular neighborhoods of Zona Sul are situated along the Atlantic coast in Ipanema, Copacabana, Leme, Leblon and Arpoador; however, neighborhoods bordering Guanabara Bay in Gavea, Santa Teresta, the Botanical Gardens and Lagoa are quieter, equally beautiful.

The Western Zone is an up-and-coming neighborhood that will only increase in popularity between now and the 2016 Summer Games. Most of the events of the 2016 Olympics will take place in the Western neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca and it is the location of many new hotel projects that are slated to be finished in the coming years. Changes to the Rio Metro will make Barra significantly easier to get to and will put the neighborhood on the map as one of the most coveted vacation destinations in the world. Also in Barra is the Mall of America, the Hard Rock and Nuth Lounge.

Hotel Amenities What you need and expect from your hotel is closely linked to your budget and the neighborhood you choose. You may want to stay directly on the beach or Avenida Atlantica in the South Zone. Or perhaps you just want to be near the beach. There are many hotels 2 or 3 blocks from the beach that can save you a lot of money. Most hotels come with complimentary breakfast, but this can also contribute to decreasing your daily expenses. Bed and Breakfasts can be cozy cultural experiences that are just what you are looking for. If you are a college student or recent grad just looking for a place to sleep, there are many hostels scattered throughout the city -- many of which come with internet and breakfast for under $100 per night.

Read reviews on individual hotels. Understand that in Brazil communication can be a problem for non-Portuguese speakers, and that there are cultural differences in how business is conducted and service is provided. During Carnival more than 500,000 international visitors flock to Rio de Janeiro, so read the reviews with a grain of salt.

Whatever your choice of hotel, hostel or B&B, your trip to Rio Carnival 2013 will undoubtedly be a trip you will never forget! Cariocas, the people native to Rio de Janeiro, are a notoriously warm, friendly and tolerant people that will make your vacation all the more memorable.

Rio Carnival 2013 Recommended Hotels:
• 5 Star Beachfront Luxury Hotel: Copacabana Palace Hotel
• 5 Star Next to Copacabana Beach: Rio Othon Palace
• 4 Star Opposite Copacabana Beach: Leme Othon Palace
• 4 Star Less than 5 Minute Walk from Copacabana Beach: Mirador Rio Hotel
• Barra da Tijuca: Transamerica Prime Barra
• Copacabana Beach: Fun People Bed and Breakfast
• Downtown Hostel: Lingua Solta Hostel

About the Author: Elias Cabral has been involved in tourism to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro for more than a decade. His specialty is organizing and leading tours to the Rio Carnival festival. After relocating to Miami, Florida for three years, Elias has recently returned to his home city. is an informative site and particularly useful when it comes to determining the best hotel in a specific area of Rio. Travelers can browse hotels by neighborhood, star rating and popularity, as also customize hotel packages that combine discount hotel rates on select properties with Sambadrome Parade tickets, Carnival Ball tickets and roundtrip shuttle transfers.

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