Can you take part in the famous Carnaval parade in Rio de Janeiro if you are there only for a limited period, or would that require quite some preparations?

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    Not sure how this is, but for a TV show An Idiot Abroad, host Karl Pilkington took part in a samba parade. And in Richard Feynman's book Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman, he does the same too. Dec 21, 2011 at 10:04

2 Answers 2


Yes, although it will still require a few preparations, as you'll need to join a samba school. Although you won't need to know how to samba!

From BookersInternational:

What you require

All you require is to choose which samba school you’d like to parade with and which wing of the parade you’d like to be in. Each wing has its own costume and you can browse through these online, choose the one that catches your fancy and order it your size. Then you simply have to show up at the parade venue on the appointed day. Remember that the Carnaval 2012 Rio parade samba schools will close their costume order bookings around December 2011.

Before the parade

You will receive, along with your booking, a copy of the theme song of the Carnaval 2012 Rio samba school you have decided to parade with, so you can be prepared to sing along at the show. You don’t even have to attend any rehearsals. Simply show up at the school’s meeting point (which will be informed to you) around 2 hours before the scheduled parading time of your school. Some packages even arrange a pick up and drop to the Sambadrome.

During the parade

You will be briefed about what to do during the parade when you arrive at the warming up or ‘concentracao’ area, but you mainly require to follow the others in your wing. While you are there to have fun, remember that what you do will also reflect on the school’s final score so make sure you conduct yourself appropriately. Other than that, just enjoy yourself! If your school is among the top 6 winners you can participate again in the Carnaval 2012 Rio Champions’ Parade.

And from Rio-Carnival.net, you can buy a package to be part of the parade, with a costume, again through a school:

This is the real thrill, an unparalleled experience - parading in a beautiful costume, to the heartbreaking beats of the drums and samba, on the biggest "stage" on Earth. People who "just" watch the Rio Carnival Parade find it a definite once-in-a-life-time experience. People who also take part and parade, want to do it every year.

To be able to participate you only have to

  • Buy a costume - it serves as your "ticket" to march with a school. We will all have it already arranged for you.
  • Go to the meeting point of your school in your costume, at the right time (see your school's parading time on the side). You will not need to attend any rehearsals. You shall understand how to march just following your fellow paraders and participating in the school's warm-up before entering the Avenue.

Any Rio de Janeiro travel agency (like riocharm.com) can buy you costumes ahead of time, which guarantees your participation. Costumes can range from US$250 to US$2000, depending on the school's ranking, fame and intricacy of the costume. The part-taker should learn a few samba moves, so as not to look like a total gringo, which can harm the samba school's votes.

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