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The most outrageous and spectacular festivities take place in Rio, whose world-famous Carnival and its associated musicians, dancers, floats and parades have become so large that they all take place in the purpose-built sambodrome building, with entries and seating tightly controlled and pre-allocated.
This is good news for visitors in one sense because as long as you have good tickets, and we can ensure you will have, then you don't have to take your chances in a street side scrum. On the down side however, carnival purists might prefer a more spontaneous street party feel, but for the 'real thing' there really is no other once-in-a-lifetime experience that can beat Rio during carnival.
Be warned; hotels enforce a minimum stay of four or five nights during the Carnival period, and prices do increase substantially.
An alternative and less expensive option to the main event is the Winner's Parade, the next weekend, when the jubilant victorious samba schools strut their stuff one last time; fewer people, and you have the best of the best performing.
On varying February dates, dependent on Easter, the entirety of Rio and most of Brazil too down tools and don their (even more skimpy than usual) party outfits.
Ollie, Original Traveller