Rio New Years Events 2018/2019

Rio de Janeiro has always been considered one of the best New Year’s Eve destinations in the world. Besides it being the middle of summer and Rio’s incredible beaches, the main attraction is the festive Cariocas (people from Rio). They are warm and friendly and all about a great party. Rio New Years is the place to be and they’ll make sure you feel welcome and have the time of your life!

If you are looking to party during New Year’s Eve, we have come up with a list of the top events for the end of the year in Rio. The main attraction is the fireworks on Copacabana Beach, which is a free event, but it does get extremely crowded. If you aren’t into huge crowds and want to ring in the New Year at an upscale event, we recommend the Rio New Years parties below. Also, for nights besides New Year’s Eve, we can provide you with our Rio VIP Nightlife Service to Rio’s hottest clubs and some of the events below. If you have already booked your travel and are only interested in parties for New Year’s Eve, check our Rio de Janeiro New Year’s Eve Parties.

Top Rio New Years Eve Parties:

  1. Pestana Rio Atlantica Rooftop Party
  2. New Year’s Eve at Sugarloaf Mountain or Morro de Urca
  3. New Year’s at the Copacabana Palace
  4. JW Marriot Rooftop New Year’s Eve
  5. Rio Reveillon @ The Jockey Club

Rio New Years Events

Pricing for all parties is NOW AVAILABLE! Based on past years these events have been the Rio New Year’s Events that we recommend.

Pestana Rio Atlantica Rooftop

A great option in front of Copacabana Beach is the party at the Pestana Rio Atlantica Hotel. This party offers 4 different options to choose from at different price points. It offers a party at the hotel’s ground level, another option at the hotels largest conference room with a view of Copacabana Beach on the 4th floor and a couple of options on the hotel’s rooftop, which has an amazing view and the one we recommend.


New Year’s Eve @ Sugar Loaf or Morro de Urca

The view from this party is like no other! It sits atop one of Rio de Janeiro’s top tourist attractions.The 8th edition of the party promoted by Morro da Urca Entretenimento, which takes place on the two hills connected by the cable car – Morro da Urca and Pão de Açúcar, or the Sugarloaf. Access to Sugar Loaf to attend to 396 feet tall – with a privileged view of Copacabana Beach fireworks.

ALL INCLUSIVE FOOD AND DRINKS as well as entertainment


New Year’s at the Copacabana Palace

One of, if not the most upscale party in Rio is the New Year’s Eve Gala at the Copacabana Palace. The main party for Rio New Years will be held in three halls: Nobre, Golden and Front. There will be live music, dinner buffet and drinks scheme already included in the price. The tables will be shared in numbers of 10 and 12 places. Guests can watch the fireworks from the Great Hall.

The hotel also offers dinner options in three restaurants in the building: Cipriani, Pergola & Mee. The first will be tasting menu with beverages included. There will be a presentation with live piano. But the restaurant Pergola will have DJ and buffet with drinks, served from 8pm. The guests from all restaurants will attend the balcony of fireworks on the terrace above the Pergola restaurant.


JW Marriot Rooftop Copacabana New Year’s Eve:

If you are looking for a cool rooftop party right in front of the Copacabana New Year’s Fireworks another option a great option is the JW Marriot’s Rooftop NYE Party. There are many hotels with rooftops, but we chose this one because it should have a good mix of locals and tourists. Guests are welcomed to the Moonlounge Rooftop Bar starting at 8:00PM.

Besides the impressive view of the fireworks of Copacabana beach, the JW Marriot Rooftop New Year’s Eve party includes horderves and premium open bar premium During whole party as well as a DJ.


Rio Reveillon @ The Jockey Club

Although this party isn’t on Copacabana Beach, we consider it one of the best for Rio New Years. The venue is great, it’s an upscale local crowd and it’s an overall incredible value!

With over 3000 people expected to attend, you can watch the fireworks from one of the tourists attraction, The “Rodrigo de Freitas” lake which overlooks the Christ the Redeemer Statue.

It’s an all inclusive party that includes Food & Open Bar. We include all service fees as well as VIP tickets to events. This event has reserved numbered VIP table seats, and “first come first serve” table options available.


rio new years parties

Rio Carnival Trip Video – 2018 After-Movie

Our 2018 Rio Carnival Travel Group was one one of our largest of all time! Check out the Rio Carnival Trip Video below and Click Here to get pricing and more information for next year’s Carnival!

TGW Party-Goers from all over the world had the absolute  time of their lives! The Opening Party was held at Rio’s Jockey Club. The group had a private VIP Backstage Section next to the main stage. We were literally right next to famous Brazilian artists and were able to take pictures with them back-stage.  The next event was a sunset/pool party which included a performance from one of the top Bloco Bands from Rio Carnival (Sargento Pimenta!), the TGW Rio Carnival Group celebrated their last day with a traditional Brazilian Barbecue that went from 3 in the afternoon until the next morning!  We are all about taking our clients to the best Carnival events and most importantly to 100% UPSCALE, LOCAL EVENTS, which equals NO CHEESY TOURIST TRAPS! At all of the events, our TGW Crew got to enjoy their own VIP Areas and we were with them each step of the way with our Bi-Lingual Guides/Hosts making sure everyone had an incredible time as well as getting home safe! The 2018 Samba Parade, which was on the Sunday & Monday of Carnival, was extremely entertaining with the winner being Beija Flor Samba School. Keep in mind that if you don’t want any of the parties, you can substitute them for Section 9 of the Carnival Parade, which is the best section!

We can customize our Rio Carnival Travel Packages to exactly what you want and we also personalize the packages based on your age and preferences. For Rio Carnival 2019, the Dates are March 01 – 06, 2019! If you are leaving from the US or Europe, you would need to fly out on the 28th.

What’s included in our Rio Carnival Travel Package:

  • Round Trip Airfare to Rio de Janeiro
  • 5 Nights Rio Hotel  Accommodation
  • Carnival Opening Party (Friday of Carnival)
  • 2 Exclusive Private Rio de Janeiro Carnival Parties
  • Tables/VIP Sections at all parties (if applicable)
  • Drinks nightly*
  • Company Guides/Local Staff at all venues
  • Transportation to events
  • Half-Day City Tour of  Christ Statue Rio 
  • 24 Hour On-Location Staff
  • Daily Breakfast Buffet
  • Airport Transfers in/out of Rio Airport
  • All Taxes & Fees

* Packages can be customized, as long as it is within the dates of the package ** We can provide airfare from any city in the world *** Samba Parade Tickets sold separately or can be traded in for the 2 parties & mixer, Learn More about the Samba Parade *** All Rio de Janeiro Carnival packages are 100% non refundable. *****Number of parties can be customized * 2 to 3 Drinks (often times more) are usually  included at most events. Final inclusions will be known 30 days before Carnival. Click HERE for Package FAQ’s

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Brazil E-visas are now available

Good News for Visa Applicants to Brazil: Brazil E-visas NOW AVAILABLE

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil launched effective November 25th 2017, the “Electronic Visitor Visa Program – E-VISA” (Brazil E-visas) for citizens from Australia, Canada, Japan  and the USA.    Passport holders from these countries  may apply now  for   Electronic visas and obtain them online, via the website or through apps for mobile phones or tablets instead of having to go to their closest consulate of Brazil!   

Brazilian E-visas will cost $40USD which is substantially cheaper than the traditional visa (which was  $160 for Americans and $60 for Canadians. It will have a maximum validity of two years (versus the 10 years of a traditional visa from before.) If the applicants would like a 10 year visa or to apply in person, as before, they are also allowed to do so.

This is incredible news as sometimes it could take 2 weeks to a month to get a visa, now the process takes about 3 to 4 business days. This will definitely help with people wanting to travel to Brazil last-minute as well as not going through the hassle of having to go to the closest Brazilian embassy (sometimes in other states) and going through the hassle of all of the paperwork. Brazil E-visas will also help with your pocket-book as it’s $120 less than the old visa process. 

Launch of the Electronic Visitor Visa Program – E-VISA


Cartagena Travel Guide

If you’ve been thinking about traveling to Colombia or South America for that matter, you’ve probably come across the city of Cartagena in your searches. At the moment, it’s one of the hottest destinations to travel to in South America. TGW has been offering Cartagena as one of its main destinations since 2006. We provide customized Packages to Cartagena year-round as well as for Special Events like Cartagena’s Independence in November, the National Beauty Pageant, Easter Week (Semana Santa) & New Year’s Eve. Our staff in Cartagena as well as one of the founders of TGW (that’s also Colombian) assisted in putting together this comprehensive Cartagena Travel Guide. 

Click Here to Get Your Cartagena Travel Guide!

The Cartagena Travel guide touches on the following topics:

1. Dress Code, Money Matters, Weather, etc.

2. Cartagena Don’ts – The #1 thing about traveling is using common sense, so whatever you wouldn’t do back home, we recommend also not doing it on your trip. 

3. Cartagena Do’s – Besides booking your package with TGW Travel Group, we recommend walking around the walled city, visiting San Felipe Castle, Savoring the Cartagena Cuisine (recommended restaurants included), and more recommendations are in the Cartagena Travel Guide!

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Ibiza VIP Tables – Is it Worth It?

If you are looking to have the time of your life in Ibiza and are NOT on a budget, we highly recommend upgrading to VIP! Ibiza VIP Tables differ in price. There’s not a set price per club as well as per night. A club VIP manager at Pacha Ibiza (for example) can charge 400 euros for a table for 2 people for the party on Wednesday and 800 euros for the same table for the FMIF party on Thursday. Yes, the law of Supply and Demand plays a big part in Ibiza. If the party is hot, expect to pay more. We’ll get into the pricing of the VIP a bit later, right now you want to know if it’s worth paying extra.

Top Reasons to Upgrade to Ibiza VIP Tables:

  • Comfort – This is obviously the most logical reason to get VIP.
    • The VIP entrance at clubs in Ibiza has a different que than the main entrance so there is no waiting in line.
    • You have your own table so you can move around the club freely and always come back to it. Depending on the club and if it’s a larger table, you will also have a place to sit.
    • Some nights in Ibiza are EXTREMELY packed (yes, packed like sardines), so moving around the club is not easy, much less trying to get a drink. So not only is it a mission to get to the bar, but then waiting in line and trying to catch the bartender’s attention is Mission #2. In the VIP, all you have to do is call over the waiter and ask for whatever you want.
    • Bathrooms – All VIP Areas at the clubs will have a general VIP bathroom for VIP patrons. At some clubs (Amnesia for instance), some of the individual VIP areas have their own personal bathrooms.
  • Crowd
    • If you are in your 30s+, you probably want to mingle with people around the same age. People in the VIP are usually a bit older. Keep in mind that all clubs in Ibiza are 18+, so they will be packed with the crazy younger crowd on the dance floor. Even if you want to get on the dance floor, the great thing is that you always have your safe shelter in the VIP.
    • The VIP in Ibiza is not always packed with celebrities, yes, you may see them here and there, but they are full of people that can afford VIP, so the crowd is more sophisticated and affluent.
  • If you are going to Consume 5 or more drinks
    • Ibiza is not cheap and if you decide to purchase a drink, it’s going to be between 15 and 20 euros a pop. If you purchase 5 drinks that night, that’s 100 euros right there plus any drinks you purchase for friends or the cute girl you met at the bar.


VIP is not for everyone, but if you want to do Ibiza right, it’s worth to upgrade to Ibiza VIP Tables! The cost can range from 150 up to 500 euros per person. It all depends on the location of the table, supply and demand, the number of people in your group and who you know.

The great thing about booking with TGW Travel Group, is that our contacts in Ibiza are in the know. We deal with the VIP Managers on a weekly basis so they are able to offer better deals on VIP vs. if you walked up directly to the club on a busy night. If you are interested in VIP, we also recommend doing it ahead of time. If you wait until the night, expect to pay more or not have tables available. We also do not do any last-minute bookings.

So if you are asking yourself, is it worth to book VIP Tables in Ibiza??? Our answers is yes, and if you purchased a package with TGW, we’ll take care of all of booking all of your Ibiza VIP Tables!!!


Samba Parade Rio Carnival Guide

If you are traveling to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival, the Rio Carnival Samba Parade is a CAN’T MISS! It takes place from Friday until Monday of Carnival. On the Friday & Saturday of Carnival week, Rio’s Sambadrome hosts the Access Group Samba Schools. These are minor Samba Schools and the winner of this competition gets invited to the Main Competition the following year.  Although the tickets are less expensive to assist the Rio Carnival Samba Parade during these days, we recommend attending the Main Competition (Special Group) on Sunday & Monday. If you are traveling all the way to Rio to attend Carnival, you might as well experience the Big Time Samba Schools vs. the Smaller Ones. The performances are much better and the energy in the Sambadrome is totally different. It’s kind of like attending a Pre-Season Game vs. the Playoffs or Superbowl and/or the Major Leagues vs. the Minor Leagues.

Because of our recommendations to attend the Main Competition (Special Group), this guide will only concentrate on the Samba Schools competing on the Sunday & Monday of “The Greatest Show on Earth”. The Rio Carnival Samba Schools are kind of like Football Clubs that represent different neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro. They have a intense, devoted following and prepare all year with the main goal of competing and winning the Rio de Janeiro Carnival Parade. Throughout the year the samba schools have various events, most important of which are rehearsals for the main event which start taking place a couple of months before Carnival. Each of the main Samba Schools spend months each year designing the theme, holding a competition for the song, building the floats, creating costumes and rehearsing. It’s an incredible production which includes over 3000 performers!

For Rio Carnival 2019, the samba schools and times are below:

Parade starts Sunday, March 03 Monday, March 04
21:15 Império Serrano São Clemente
22:20 – 22:30 Viradouro Vila Isabel
23:25 – 23:45 Grande Rio Portela
00:30 – 01:00 Salgueiro União da Ilha
01:35 – 02:15 Beija-Flor Paraíso do Tuiuti
02:40 – 03:30 Imperatriz Mangueira
03:45 – 04:45 Unidos da Tijuca Mocidade

Before attending the Rio Carnival Samba Parade, it’s a great idea to learn a little bit more about each Samba School. We have put together a great guide for each day of the Rio Carnival Samba Parade. The guide consists of a brief description of each samba school from the past carnival. If you are looking to travel another year, see all Rio Carnival Dates.

To Download the guide, please enter your details below:



Rio de Janeiro Brazil Carnival Costumes

A lot of people do not know this, but you can actually participate in the Rio de Janeiro Samba Parade!! To participate in the parade you must purchase a Rio Carnival costume .  The Rio Carnival Samba Schools have a limited number of space for tourists wanting to parade with them.  They are all different depending on the theme that the Samba School will be doing that year and vary greatly as far as design and cost from about $250USD up to $1,000USD or more.  Costumes tend to be expensive as they are intricately hand made and yours to keep! Parading in the Carnival in costume  is definitely one of the most exciting ways to experience the Rio de Janeiro Carnival Parade and a very unique and amazing experience to check off your “bucket list!”

How it works:

The first thing you need to do is choose one of the available Brazil Carnival Costumes.   It’s always best to make your choice at least 2 to 3 months before Carnival because some Samba Schools need to know the exact size of your Rio Samba Parade Costume. Check out our Brazil Carnival Costumes options.  Can’t travel to Rio for the next carnival? Check out Rio Carnival Dates for other years.

Does Purchasing a Rio Carnival costume include parade admission?

No! It is important to note that parading in the Carnival and WATCHING the Carnival are completely separate and you must unfortunately purchase tickets to watch the actual parade even if you purchase a costume. Some people decide to parade on one day of the Carnival and watch the parade on another.

I Chose My Rio Carnival Costume, Now What?

Once you make the selection of your costume, we will provide you with a list of questions for your costume size. You do not have to do anything else – no need to attend any rehearsals, no need to know how to samba, no need to arrive early in Rio.

What do I need to do once I’m in Rio for Carnival?

Once you get to Rio de Janeiro, we will deliver the Brazil Carnival Costumes to your hotel (delivery fee is already included in price). You will need to show up to the parade at least 1.5 hours before your Samba School with the Brazil Carnival Costumes on and in good condition. There are no changing rooms or lockers there.

Parade starts Sunday, March 03 Monday, March 04
21:15 Império Serrano São Clemente
22:20 – 22:30 Viradouro Vila Isabel
23:25 – 23:45 Grande Rio Portela
00:30 – 01:00 Salgueiro União da Ilha
01:35 – 02:15 Beija-Flor Paraíso do Tuiuti
02:40 – 03:30 Imperatriz Mangueira
03:45 – 04:45 Unidos da Tijuca Mocidade

 Once I get to the Sambodromo, what do I need to do?

All samba schools meet in Avenida Presidente Vargas, which is right next to the Sambodromo at the beginning of the samba runway, near sector 1-2. You have to know the right meeting point of your school (whether it is the Sambodromo side of the odd or even-numbered sectors).

You will only have to find your wing. It will be straightforward, around 100 other people wearing the same costume like you.

You will soon form single lines which have to be kept during the parade. Follow your presidents and coordinators’ instructions. At this moment, you should try to stay next to your friends, if you wish to parade together.

After the school’s paraders come together, the school and the wings get prepared, undertake their finishing touches and soon the gates close behind: Ready for the big moment of entering the Avenue.

Your president will make sure that you wear your costume right and you will quickly learn the little steps and pace how the paraders march down the samba runway.

You can have your friends around for some of the preparation time. They can take pictures and have fun with you and could later take and keep all your unnecessary belongings. They will only have to leave at a later stage, when you pass through the gates, after which no more way in or out.

Keep in mind that once your samba school finishes, you will not be able to go into the grandstands. If you do want to check out the parade, we recommend purchasing a ticket for the other day. The Carnival Parade is either on Sunday or Monday. If your school scores among the top six, you will be able to parade once again in the Champions’ Parade the Saturday following Carnival.

Available Brazil Carnival Costumes (Examples from past Carnivals)

2019 options will be available in December 2018

Option 1: Mangueira







Option 2: Salgueiro









Option 3: Portela







Best Running of the Bulls Dates

The San Fermin Festival is held every year between July 6 and 14. The festival has become internationally known because of the running of the bulls, where the bulls are lead through the streets of Pamplona’s old quarter to the bull ring by runners. If you are looking to travel to this festival, it’s good to know the best Running of the Bulls dates based on your preferences. You do not have to be at the San Fermin Festival for the entire time period, but we recommend 2 to 4 nights tops (check out our sample itinerary). During the Running of the Bulls dates there are daily activities that happen every day as well as special festivities. Below we will describe them all so you know what to expect.

July 6 – Opening Ceremony (Txupinazo):

The Opening Ceremony marks the start of the San Fermin Festival. It’s held at Pamplona’s main square and starts at Noon on July 6th. At this time, Pamplona’s Mayor & City Council step out onto the balconies of the Town Hall to greet the massive crowd. A rocket with fireworks is launched and the crowd goes into a frenzy with corks of champagne bottles being popped left and right and guzzled down! It’s definitely an incredible site and the party atmosphere is at a 10! The square is incredibly packed so if you are not into crazy crowds we recommend booking a VIP Balcony with us. If you are looking to go for the Opening Ceremony, we recommend arriving in Pamplona on July 5th and stay until July 8th or 9th. Keep in mind these are the most expensive days to be in Pamplona & hotels sell out quickly so we recommend booking ASAP.

running of the bulls dates

July 7 – First Day of Running & Saint Fermin Procession

The first day of the of the Bull Run is on July 7th at 8am,  when a first firecracker is lit to announce the release of the bulls from their corral. The Bull Run takes place every morning at 8am, but the first day is a little more special as it’s the first one of the year and gives a good indication of the week to come. The key day of the festival is 7 July, when thousands of people accompany the 15th-century statue of Saint Fermin through the old part of Pamplona. The statue is accompanied by dancers and street entertainers, and different political and religious authorities including the city mayor.

July 14 – Closing Ceremony (Pobre de mi)

After nine days of partying, the people of Pamplona meet in the City Hall Plaza at midnight on 14 July, singing the traditional mournful notes of the Pobre de Mí (‘Poor Me’), in a candlelit ending. The city mayor closes the festival with participants lighting a candle and removing their red handkerchief as the song is played by the local band, followed by a fireworks display at the city hall. This closing ceremony tradition started out in the 1920s. If you are looking to attend this event, the best Running of the Bulls dates are July 12 – 15, which are also the least expensive.

pobre de mi

Daily Activities

  • Running of the Bulls – The actual running is held at 8am every morning from July 7 – 14.
  • Giant & Big Heads Parade – Every day, during the morning, there is a parade of gigantes y cabezudos, with the giants figures being more than 150 years old.
  • Traditional Sporting Competitions – There are exhibitions and competitions of Basque rural sports every morning in the “Plaza de los Fueros”, a square close to the city citadel, although they were formerly held in the bullring. Sports include stone lifting, wood cutting, or hay bale lifting.
  • Bull Fights – At 6:30PM from July 6 to 14 there are Bull Fights held at the bull ring with the same bulls that were run in the same morning.
  • Fireworks – At 11PM, a Fireworks show is held at the citadel park. Fireworks spectacles have been known to occur in San Fermin as far back as 1595. Since the year 2000 an international fireworks contest is held. Thousands of people watch them seated on the grass around the citadel.

Running of the Bulls Dates based on Price

The most expensive times to be in Pamplona during the Running of the Bulls are July 6 to 8 because of the opening ceremony events. July 9 – 12 are mid-range and the least expensive dates to be in Pamplona are July 12 – 15.

TGW Running of the Bulls Itinerary

Our Pamplona Running of the Bulls Packages are designed for you to get the most out of your stay. Our Sample 3 night Itinerary is the following:

  1. Day One – You will be greeted at the Airport or Train Station by a guide that will take you to your hotel. The first night is free at your own leisure and we recommend going to the old town to have dinner and then check out the firework spectacle at the citadel park (Held every night at 11:00PM). Keep in mind that if you want a special dinner at a restaurant by the citadel to check out the fireworks, we can add it in without a problem!
  2. Day Two – At around 7:00AM, a guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Pamplona’s Old Quarter to check out the Running of the Bulls at a VIP Balcony, which are always on the 1st or 2nd floors so that you can be right next to the action. There will be coffee, some juices and biscuits provided and your guide will explain the aspects related to the origin and history of the running of the bulls. This is also a great chance for you to ask the guide the in’s and out’s of the actual running just in case you want to try it on the next morning (we always schedule the VIP Balcony on your first morning so that you can get the jist of the running).  The Running of the Bulls starts at 8am every morning starting on July 7th and it’s extremely quick. After watching the running, you will be taken to the Guenduláin Palace for an incredible breakfast. Following Breakfast, we will provide you with a City Tour of Pamplona so that you can get a great feel for the city. After the tour you can choose to stick around the city and take part in the festivities or go back to your hotel to relax. We have included a Bull Fight for you in the evening (on the Shady side of the Bull Ring) that starts at 6:30PM. After the Bullfight your night is at leisure. The nightlife in Pamplona during this time is amazing. The bars and small clubs throughout the city have an amazing festive atmosphere, but keep in mind that if you are going to Run on day 3, we recommend staying fresh for the next morning!
  3. Day Three – You can either choose to run on this morning, purchase an additional VIP Balcony, watch the run from the streets or sleep in if you partied hard the night before. Day Three is completely at Leisure and we do this on purpose because most of our clients decide to run on this day.
  4. Day Four – A driver will pick you up at your hotel a couple of hours prior to your flight. You have now checked off another incredible event off your bucket-list.


Top New Year’s Eve Destinations

One of my favorite holidays of the year is New Year’s Eve. It’s definitely a holiday that gives you optimism. If you’ve had a tough year, you celebrate good things to come next year. If you’ve had a great year, you celebrate that you will top it! New Year’s Eve is about celebrating a better future, setting goals and objectives for the next year and achieving them, and also about letting loose and having fun. If you are single it’s about getting that New Year’s kiss at midnight with the hottie you have been eyeing all night. If you are in a relationship or married, it’s about celebrating the coming year with your loved one and celebrating the years past. Although its fun to spend New Year’s Eve in your home town with friends and family, there’s nothing like spending it in an exotic destination especially if you can do it with friends or family and if not, it’s still one of the best ways to ring in the New Year! I’ve traveled extensively in my day and below are my top 3 New Year’s Eve Destinations.

  1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Rio is one of my favorite destinations in the world. The combination of the people, beaches, landscape, party yet laidback atmosphere is what keeps me coming back. It’s a sexy city and for New Year’s it’s electric. The days leading up to New Years are amazing. The nightlife is probably the best it is all year because you not only have people from all over Brazil in Rio but also the world. The beaches are packed and guess what; it’s the middle of summer! So while most of us are freezing, it’s in the 80s & 90s in Rio. For New Year’s Eve, Millions of people hit Copacabana Beach to experience an incredible fireworks show and party on the beach. There are also a ton of great parties all around the city. I personally enjoy going to the parties because the crowd is more upscale, less hectic and most are all-inclusive, but TGW offers both options. New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  2. Cartagena, Colombia – This may be an impartial choice as I’m Colombian, but if you’ve ever been to Cartagena, you’ll know why this is my top 2 pick. The Old City is incredible. It’s conserved so well that you literally feel that you are in the Spanish Colonial Era. During this time of year, the city is packed with Colombian tourists. It’s the #1 destination for Colombians from the interior (Bogota, Cali, Medellin) as it’s a beach city and there are a ton of events especially for the country’s jet-set. There are a ton of New Year’s Eve parties all over the city, but we take our clients to one of the best, which is located on top of the historic wall and thrown by one of the best and most luxurious hotels in Cartagena. New Year’s Eve in Cartagena, Colombia
  3. Punta del Este, Uruguay – This was definitely one of the chicest places I’ve spent New Year’s Eve. Punta del Este is where the rich & famous from Buenos Aires & Sao Paulo spend their holidays between Christmas & the beginning of January. It’s extremely pricey, but if your wallet can handle it, it’s totally worth it. I’ve never partied with so many models in my life. Besides the nightlife, Punta del Este is a beautiful city. The beaches are extremely beautiful and they can range from calm waters to incredible waves for the surfers. If you are looking for a chic and beautiful beach town to spend New Year’s, you should consider Punta del Este. New Year’s Eve in Punta del Este, Uruguay

Other destinations for New Year’s are of course Las Vegas, New Year’s Eve in South Beach – Miami, and New York, but if you are looking to get out of the country, I highly recommend you check out the ones above. Also, give me your feedback on some great destinations you have experienced for New Year’s. I’m open to suggestions and who knows, maybe your suggestion will be the next TGW NEW YEAR’S EVE HOTSPOT! You can comment directly on this blog.

Cool Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is an incredible city. The must-see tourist attractions are Christ Statue & Sugarloaf Mountain. We always include the Christ Statue tour in all of our Rio Travel Packages and highly recommend adding Sugarloaf as an add-on. So what else is there to do in Rio besides Sugarloaf & Corcovado??? We put together a very cool list of some of the top things to do in Rio de Janeiro besides booking other Rio de Janeiro Tours.

Top Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

  1. ARPOADOR – Located in between both Ipanema and Copacabana, this little beach is famous for surfing, and its huge rock formations that allow visitors to have a great view of summer sunsets on the ocean.  Cost: Free
    things to do in rio de janeiro
  2. SANTA TERESA TROLLEY (BONDINHO DE SANTA TERESA) – One of the first trolleys to run in Rio de Janeiro, it takes you to Santa Teresa. You will ride over the famous Lapa Arches and get a different view of the city.  The station is located on Lélio Gama street and is only open until 4 pm. It is a good idea to get there early as there are long lines. Cost: Free
  3. CANDELÁRIA: Built in 1775 the church was only finished in 1877. Today, it is one of Brasil´s biggest churches. It´s interior combines a mixture of both Neoclassical and Renaissance Revival Architecture while it´s façade is Baroque. This is because the Candelária´s interior was redesigned in 1878.  Cost: Free
  4. CCBB – Close to the Candelária is a little museum that always has great exhibitions. From Van Gogh’s paintings to local artists in Rio de Janeiro, there is always something interesting to see. Open Wednesday – Monday from 9am- 9pm.  Cost: Free
  5. BRAZILIAN MUSIC PLAYED LIVE IN THE SQUARE (CHORINHO NA PRAÇA) – Every Saturday there is a band that plays Brazilian music in the marketplace on Rua General Glicério starting around noon. While music is being played vendors are selling typical Brazilian foods. (This is a great time to try different croquets, empanadas and tapioca.) Full of people sitting, talking, drinking cold beers, and listening to characteristic Brazilian music, the fair is always a colorful place to go. There is also one on Sundays starting at 11am in Praça São Salvador. On Sundays vendors sell beautiful and unique handcrafted pieces.  Cost: Free admission
    things to do in rio
  6. CONFECTIONERY (CONFEITARIA) COLOMBO (DOWNTOWN)  – Built in 1894 by Portuguese immigrants, it allows visitors to feel what the Bell Epoch in Rio must have been like. With large mirrors the interior is stunning. This is a nice place to get a coffee or tea.  Cost:  (cha is between 17 reais per person to 40 reais.)
  7. CAFE CURTO –This Café has a different view point when it comes to how much coffee costs; they leave it up to the costumer. The espressos are of the highest quality as are all of the drinks, but at Curto’s they believe that everyone should be a customer, not only the ones that can afford it. Cost: as much as you feel they deserve.
  8. SELARON’S STAIRS (ESCADARIA SELARON ) – The work of a Chilean Artist, Jorge Selarón, the stairs started off as a past-time, and soon became his obsession. Selarón ended up selling his paintings so that he could pay for the materials needed to create the stairs. Recognized all over the world these stairs have become a main attraction in Rio! Cost: Free
    things to do in rio
  9. HIPPIE FAIR ON SUNDAYS IN PRAÇA GENERAL OSÓRIO – Throughout the years, the Ipanema Hippie Fair has showed off the works of some of the city’s best artisans. Held every Sunday, rain or shine, from 9am – 5pm, since 1968, the Ipanema Hippie fair has covered vendor’s stalls set up all around the entire square.  In the center of the park, painters show off and sell their latest paintings. Some vendors accept credit cards, but cash (Brazilian Reais) is usually widely accepted. Take smaller bills with you, as change for larger bill is hard to come by. Cost: Free Admission
  10. COPACABANA FORT – Located at the end of Copacabana beach and was built that the beginning of the 1900’s.  It is a small museum with displays of arms and weapons from the turn of the last century to now.  At the end of the fort, there are some stairs to climb leading you to a huge artillery bank. You will also have an amazing view of the surrounding ocean and close by islands. Cost: 6 reais for adults/ 3 reais for Seniors (above 60) / Children under 10 are free
  11. FORMER PRESIDENTIAL RESIDENCE OF EX – PRESIDENT GETULIO VARGAS – A small Colonial type house, used as the Presidential Residence when Rio de Janeiro was the Capital of Brazil. The gardens behind the house are beautiful, well-kept and provide a peaceful feel. It is very easy to get there, as Catete Metro stop is right beneath the house. Cost: 6 reais on Wednesday Free Admission
  12. ANTIQUE FAIR – This fair happens only once a month, on the first Saturday of each month. Located all along Lavradio street this fair attracts even locals. With antiques, artwork, vintage clothes and even souvenirs! Although crowed it is a wonderful experience. Cost: Free Admission
  13. ILHA FISCAL- Commissioned by the last emperor of Rio de Janeiro, Pedro I, the building was built to resemble a European Castle. It was used as Rio de Janeiro’s customs checkpoint being the only naval access into Rio. The last imperial ball was held there less than a week before Brazil was declared a Republic. Cost: $ 25,00 reais
  14. JOCKEY CLUB- Built in 1926, and located in Gavea, close to the botanical gardens, the Jockey club not only has a wonderful track and view of the Christ statue, but the architecture that will transport you back in time. The club does have a dress code that they uphold to: men must wear pants, a shirt with sleeves and at least tennis shoes. Women, should dress at the very least casually. T-shirts are ok to wear.  If you have bet on horses before, the betting is fairly easy to understand, and very inexpensive to participate. In addition to the live racing, there are televised races from around the world. Cost: Free Admission
  15. MOSTEIRO DE SÃO BENTO- The monastery was founded by Benedictine monks who came from Bahia in 1590, and until the monastery was built, resided in a simple inn close to the hill on which the monastery now sits upon.  In 1617, the monks finally had enough funds to build the monastery, however,, only in 1633 did the baroque style church start being built, only to be completed 122 years later, in 1755.  Although, the facade of the church looks simple the inside is ornately covered in gold leaf gilding. There is a traditional Sunday mass that starts at 10am with Gregorian chanting. If you do not arrive by 9:30 there will be standing room only.  Cost: Free Admission
  16. MUNICIPAL THEATRE – Built at the beginning of the 20th century this opera house was designed in a diverse style inspired by the Parisian opera house Opera Garnier.  The theatre’s interior is as extravagant as it’s facade, with sculptures, paintings, a majestic drop curtain, and stunning foyer ceiling. The theatre’s restaurant, Assírius, is located on the ground floor and designed in a remarkable Assyrian manner.  Being located in front of the Cinelandia metro station, allows this theatre to be extremely accessible. Although there is a dress code, it usually is not rigid, no shorts or flip flops are allowed. Guided English tours are available at 2pm on Tuesday – Friday and at 12 pm on Saturdays and holidays. Cost: Guided tour $20 reais
    things to do in rio
  17. PAQUETÁ –  Paqueta was once occupied and claimed as a French discovery by King Henri II  in 1556.  Along with another island in the Bay, it played a key role in the French resistance against the Portuguese. Now, Paqueta is a quiet island, with no cars. The only transportation on the island is bicycle (there are hundreds you can rent), horse-drawn carts, or walking. It’s a wonderful place for a romantic walk. There are small restaurants on the island that you can eat at or there are places to have a picnic. To get there you have to get a boat downtown that takes you to the island. The boat ride is about an hour. Cost: Ferry tickets are 12 reais round trip.
  18. PARQUE LAGE – A public park with a mansion that was formally the residence of Henrique Lage, Brazilian industrialist, and his wife, opera singer, Gabriela Bezanzoni. With beautiful gardens, hiking trails and a view of the Christ the redeemer statue, this park is perfect to escape from the city for a few hours and enjoy nature. There is a wonderful café inside the mansion that serves brunch on Sundays.  Cost: Free Admission
  19. REAL GABINETE PORTUGUES DA LEITURA-  Built in 1880 with Emperor Dom Pedro II  laying the first stones and only finishing in 1887 when it was inaugurated by his daughter Princess Isabel and her husband the Gaston d’Orléans. Open to the public since the 1900’s, this royal library owns the largest collections of Portuguese literature outside of Portugal. With over 350,000 books by both international and national authors. In July 2014, it was voted, by Time Magazine, number 4 out of 20 for the most beautiful libraries in the world! Cost: Free Admission
  20. SÃO CRISTOVÃO FAIR –  Rio has a large population of Brazilians from the Northeastern states, and this fair represents their culture. With over 700 stalls all influenced by their culture, there is something for everyone at this fair; food, crafts or even dancing and the music. The food is authentic Northeastern food, filled with spices. Come hungry as portions are big and usually can be shared. There are Forró bands  (genre of Brazilian music that is originally from the Northeast, usually has an accordion and triangle), that play while people dance all through the night.  (The best ones are on small stages)The fair is open from 10 am on Friday to 9 pm on Sunday. It is a partially covered fair so we recommend going only if it isn’t raining!  Cost: Admission = 4 Reais Food = usually between 40- 50 for 2/3 people

Best Restaurants Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is full of great restaurants so it’s extremely hard to pick the city’s best! For the Best Restaurants Rio de Janeiro TGW Travel Guide, we analyzed the restaurants from our staff’s personal experiences as well as online reviews from various sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor & others. Yes, you will always find those people that were at the restaurant on a particularly off day or the worry-warts that don’t seem to like anything, but we visited these Rio de Janeiro restaurants and give them our TGW Approval!

The list includes moderate to high-end Rio restaurants. The number 1 aspect we looked for was the quality of the food and of course the service! Keep in mind that these restaurants have starting entrees of US$20 to US$40. If you are looking for great economical restaurants, check out our Rio Restaurants that Don’t Break the Bank Guide.

Here’s a quick list of some of the Best Restaurants in Rio de Janiero. If you want to see the full list, provide your info and we’ll email you the full guide.

  1. When thinking of breathtaking views and good French food there is only one place TGW can think of, L’ETOILE. We love the air of sophistication, exclusivity and it´s international cuisine.
  2. When you think of Brazilian Food, you automatically think of Brazilian Steakhouses! Fogo de Chão is Rio’s best Brazilian Steakhouse with 2 locations – one in Zona Sul and the other one in Barra de Tijuca.
  3. With its dim lighting, delicious food, and phenomenal service, Sá Restaurant has the ambiance required for a romantic dinner. Located at one of Rio’s top hotels – The Miramar Hotel by Windsor this restaurant will not disappoint!

Get the Complete Guide to Best Restaurants Rio de Janeiro

Provide the information below and you will automatically get an email with a link to download the guide!

Handy Brazilian Portuguese Phrases for Travelers

Traveling to a different country and knowing a little bit of the language or at list the basics to get by is key! In Brazil, Portuguese is the language spoken so before the trip it’s always good to brush up on some Portuguese or at least print out our Brazilian Portuguese Guide – Handy Brazilian Portuguese Phrases for Travelers! Although Brazil is a very touristy country and Rio de Janeiro is one of the most visited destinations in South America, English isn’t as widely spoken as you think.

Our Brazilian Portuguese Phrase Book is divided into the following sections:

  • Common Portuguese Phrases
  • Numbers & Days of Week
  • Taxis & Transportation
  • Bar & Restaurant Vocabulary
  • Shopping

The 5 page guide gives you the basics of what you need, but one of the great things about booking with TGW Travel Group is that we have contracts with incredible suppliers for your transfers and tours as well as having a sister office in Rio de Janeiro that you can call for any assistance! We make sure you have an incredible vacation in Brazil and have everything set up for you!

Get the Brazilian Portuguese Phrases Guide

Fill out the information below and you will receive the written guide via email.


Rio Restaurants That Don’t Break the Bank

Most of the travel guides you’ll find online for Rio restaurants are only for the top, fanciest ones. We wanted to mix it up a bit and provide you with recommendations for Rio restaurants that offer a good value and won’t break the bank. These restaurants are frequented by locals and recommended by local staff in Rio. Rio de Janeiro has 1000’s of restaurants so it’s hard to pick the top 10, but we chose them based on their proximity to the South Zone (Ipanema/Copacabana) where most of you will stay, overall value and local recommendations.

  1. Balada Mix  is a perfect option if you are looking for delicious and healthy meals with a laid back environment. The perfect place for a Sunday Brunch! The juices are always freshly made; we recommend the Fruta de Conde (sugar apple) juice………
  2. TT Burger is Rio’s US$10 (35 R$) Burger and stacks up to the ten dollar burgers in the US. It’s the perfect place to hit after a long day on the beach. It’s located in Aproador (between Ipanema & Copacabana beaches). It’s a small place and there is always a long line, but it’s 100% worth it if you want to taste a good Brazilian Burger…..
  3. Frederico is a small bar located in the heart of Copacabana. f you want a super cold beer with great finger food this is the place to go……
  4. Fazendola is a great option if you are looking for an all you can eat place for a great value. It offers an All-You-Can eat Pizza Rodizio and a great Sushi Buffet………

Get the Complete Guide to Rio Restaurants

Provide the information below and you will automatically get an email with a link to download the guide!

Best Time to Go to Ibiza

TGW Travel has been providing trips to Ibiza since 2007 and we always get asked this question: “When is the Best Time to Go to Ibiza?“. If you are looking to party, the best times to travel to Ibiza are late May through the beginning of October. Keep in mind that Ibiza is a seasonal Summer Island, so if you are looking to travel any other time besides that, do not expect all of the clubs, hotels, shops and even restaurants to be open. Also keep in mind that it does get cold in Ibiza during the winter (December through March) and temperatures can dip below 5 degrees Celsius or high 30s/low 40s, so definitely no hitting the beach in the winter!

best time to travel to ibiza

Late May / June:

Average Temperature: Mid to High 70s F / Mid 20s C
Prices: $$, 2nd less expensive months to travel
Special Events: Ibiza Music Conference, Ibiza Opening Parties

The Ibiza Music Conference is usually the last week of May every year. It’s an industry conference, but will have some great parties you can attend as some of the best DJ’s in the World are in Ibiza that week. The clubs also start opening during this time and will have some extra headliners for their opening parties. It’s definitely a great time to go as the pricing of flights and hotels isn’t as expensive as other times of the summer and the opening parties are more than just a club night. The only knock to traveling during this time is that not all of the clubs/parties will be open.

best clubs in ibiza


Average Temperature: Low 80s F / Mid  to high 20s C
Prices: $$$, 2nd most expensive month to travel
Special Events: None, but all parties are in full swing

July is a great time to travel to Ibiza as all of the clubs/parties are in full swing so if you are there for a full week, you are going to be able to see the best Ibiza has to offer! The clubs are also not as crazy packed as they are in August. The weather starts getting a little hotter during July and the pricing increases as well as flights and hotels are more expensive than June. The month of July is a great time to go to get the most out of Ibiza!

ibiza bbc radio 1


Average Temperature: Mid to High 80s F / 30 C
Prices: $$$$, Most expensive month to travel
Special Events: BBC Radio 1 Weekend

August is PEAK season as a lot of people from Europe take vacation / holiday during this time. It’s also the hottest and most expensive time to travel to Ibiza. Hotels are at their highest rates and flights increase in price due to availability. If you are going during this time, we highly recommend booking early! As far as the clubs, they are the most packed during this time as well. VIP Tables sell out early and the hottest parties are packed to the brim! BBC Radio 1 weekend happens at the beginning of August and it’s the peak of the peak as Ibiza has thousands of extra clubbers and tourists during this weekend. The parties are hosted by England’s #1 Radio Station with a ton of special guests.

best time to vacation in ibiza

September / Early October:

Average Temperature: Low to High 70s F / Mid 20s C
Prices: $, Least expensive month to travel
Special Events: Ibiza Closing Parties

If you are looking to get the most bang for your buck, we recommend traveling to Ibiza in September. It’s after the peak summer season so flights come down in price and so do hotels. The weather is also not as hot, yet incredibly refreshing. Ibiza is also less packed during this time, so it’s more chill and less hectic. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not dead by any means, the clubs are still packed, but you can actually have more room to dance and not wait in long lines to get a drink. The crowds are also a bit more sophisticated and there are less kids. The Ibiza closing parties start in mid September and this is when the parties and clubs close for the season. There are special guests during this time and the parties are EUPHORIC. The closing parties usually end the first week of October.

Get a Price for your Dates!

As far as the best time to go to Ibiza, it all depends on you and what you are looking for in your trip. TGW has been putting packages together since 2007 and we can plan your perfect trip! Our packages include Airfare from anywhere in the world, Hotel Accommodation (3, 4 & 5 star), Airport Transfers, Boat Parties and Club Entrances. We also provide VIP Add-ons like concierge services, drivers and table bookings! Check out our Ibiza Vacation Package.


TGW’s Top Honeymoon Destinations

If you’ve traveled with us during your single days, don’t forget about TGW when you are getting hitched! We cater to everyone regardless of age, gender or if you’re single, married or in something complicated! Our travel packages are about having the time of your life and we can personally customize any package to make sure you get the most out of your honeymoon. Also keep in mind that we are a full service travel company, so we can provide you with any destination in the world.

Check Out Our Honeymoon Testimonials from Past Trips:

Andrea H. Trip: Oktoberfest plus Paris & Amsterdam
“TGW did an absolute fantastic job helping to plan our honeymoon! I told them I wanted to go to Amsterdam, Paris and Oktoberfest and they took care of the rest. The hotels were wonderful and in great parts of each city. They also arranged for transportation to and from the hotel. We couldn’t have asked for a better honeymoon! Thank you TGW!!!”

Marcia G. Trip: Rio de Janeiro Carnival
“We had such an amazing time all the tour guides were super friendly and professional and a lot of fun!! they took us to cool places you wouldn’t know if you were travelling on your own. I would use TGW again and again!! Everything was seamless from all the tours booked to wanting extra tours during our stay! I wish everyone all the best and hope so see you all again!! Also all the transfers cars/buses were clean comfy and leather seats it was luxury.”

TGW’s Top Honeymoon Destinations

  1. Greece & its islands – The Greek Islands are absolutely beautiful. Ask any bride-to-be her preferred destination and she will most likely say the Greek Islands especially Santorini with its white villages perched on huge cliffs overlooking the blue turquoise waters. Not only are the landscapes incredible but the islands offer a wide array of nightlife, dining, water sports, beaches, & shopping.When to Travel – The best times to go to Greece are between May and October. For honeymooners, we recommend the months of May, June & September as the islands aren’t as busy/crowded.

    Our Travel Package – We combine Athens, Mykonos & Santorini as part of our TGW Greece Travel Package, but can add-on any other Greek Island at the clients request. For honeymooners, we recommend 2 nights in Athens, 2 in Mykonos & 3 in Santorini.

  2. Cartagena, Colombia – Cartagena is a city rich in history, culture, charm and, most notably, romance.  The Old City is full of narrow streets with vibrant colors. The fortress preserves a city lost in time and transforms those who visit to an era of horse-drawn chariots, romantic terraces, wheelbarrows of fresh fruit, and a life that was simpler in so many ways.When to Travel – Since Cartagena is on the Caribbean Coast, any time of the year is great in terms of weather. For honeymooners, we recommend mid-January to April, the month of May & August through October.

    Our Travel Package – We work with all of the top hotels in Cartagena. Our Cartagena Travel Package includes flights, accommodation, airport transfers, tours and we can also include some nights on the town with a bi-lingual guide. For honeymooners, we recommend 3 nights in Cartagena including a tour in a horse-drawn carriage plus 2 nights at a resort on the Rosario Islands.

  3. Buzios, Brazil – The picturesque resort town of Buzios is located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, only a 2.5 hour drive from the city of Rio. It is one of Brazil’s most upscale and animated seaside resorts, littered with boutiques, fine restaurants, villas, bars and posh pousadas. It’s narrow cobblestone streets and picturesque waterfront has similarities to St. Tropez.When to Travel: The busiest times in Buzios are during the Brazilian Summer especially between mid Dec. to mid January and around Carnival. If you are looking to go when it’s less crowded, we recommend September to December as well as May – July (even though it’s winter in Brazil, the avg. high will be in the low 70s).

    Our Travel Package: We offer Buzios as an add-on to our Rio de Janeiro Travel Package. You have to fly to Rio to get to Buzios so we would recommend a 2 to 3 night stay in Rio (you can’t go to Brazil without checking out the “Marvelous City”) with an additional 3 nights in Buzios.

If you are interested in planning a honeymoon trip or simply a Romantic Getaway with your honey, let us take care take care of the planning for you. We can provide any destination including Paris, Venice or Bora Bora. We’ll make sure you have the time of your life!



Rio Carnival Video by TGW

If you are looking to travel to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival and don’t know where to start, check out this Rio Carnival Video. It’s an After Movie from our 2015 Rio Carnival Trip, which includes everything you need to have the time of your life – Air, Accommodation, Transfers, Access to Best Parties, Add-Ons to Samba Parade & 24/7 On-Location Staff in Rio de Janeiro!

TGW Rio Carnival Video:

Our groups consist of people from all over the world (US, Australia, South Africa, UK, Switzerland, France, Indonesia, UAE, Mexico, Colombia, etc) and of all ages (20 to 65 years old!). We can customize our Carnival Packages to exactly what you want and we also personalize the packages based on your age and preferences.

What’s included in our Rio de Janeiro Carnival Travel Package:

  • Round Trip Airfare to Rio de Janeiro
  • 5 Nights Rio Hotel  Accommodation
  • Welcome Mixer on Friday of Carnival
  • 2 Exclusive Private Rio de Janeiro Carnival Parties
  • Tables/VIP Sections at all parties (if applicable)
  • Welcome Drink nightly*
  • Company Guides/Local Staff at all venues
  • Transportation to events
  • Half-Day City Tour of  Christ Statue Rio 
  • 24 Hour On-Location Staff
  • Daily Breakfast Buffet
  • Airport Transfers in/out of Rio Airport
  • All Taxes & Fees

* Packages can be customized, as long as it is within the dates of the package ** We can provide airfare from any city in the world *** Samba Parade Tickets sold separately or can be traded in for the 2 parties, Learn More about the Samba Parade *** All Rio de Janeiro Carnival packages are 100% non refundable. *****Number of parties can be customized * Food and/or drinks are usually  included at most events. Final inclusions will be known 30 days before Carnival. Click HERE for Package FAQ’s


Rio de Janeiro Carnival Balls

What is a Rio Carnival Ball ? – A Rio de Janeiro Carnival Ball is simply a Carnival themed Party that features live Brazilian Carnival entertainment such as the drummers/dancers from a Samba School and live music. The parties are held in various locations around Rio and typically are quite large with at least 1,000 guests.

rio de janeiro carnival balls

rio de janeiro carnival balls

What are the most famous of these Rio de Janeiro Carnival Balls?- The most famous are definitely the Scala Balls and the Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace.  The Scala Balls are held nightly during carnival in downtown Rio and feature various different themes nightly, including the famous Gay Ball on Tuesday night. Even though the Scala Balls are the most known, in the past couple of years the quality of the parties have gone down and thus we do not use them as our party options. The Magic Ball is a great ball to attend and the most luxurious. We can provide it as an add-on without a problem, but do not include it as a party option with our packages as the tickets start at US$800 to US$1000 per person. 

What is the background behind Rio de Janeiro Carnival Balls? Carnival balls originated in Venice, Italy and were elegant and extravagant events where people would wear masks and party until the wee hours of the morning before the start of Lent (Ash Wednesday). The tradition spread around the world and to Rio when certain hotels and some private locations began hosting events mimicking Venice Carnival Balls. The tradition stuck and there are still Carnival Balls in Rio de Janeiro but now with a Brazilian twist with Samba dancers and the like.

Are Carnival Balls Elegant events where you must dress up?  Not so much. Carnival balls throughout the years have evolved quite a bit and now the ONLY Ball that is  luxurious , upscale and a true elegant “Ball” is the Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace. Other Balls such as Scala, Devassa and others are much less formal and there is NO need to dress up in fancy dress.

Do you offer Scala Balls  or include them as part of your Events?   Although we can definitely provide clients with Scala Ball tickets at a very competitive rate , we   DO  NOT include them as part of our tours or VIP EVENTS .

The reason for this is because the Scala balls (as of 2015) have not been very good and have sadly consistently lost quality. They are frequented almost exclusively by tourists who have heard of these Scala Balls online and NOT BY LOCALS. For this reason we do NOT recommend these balls if you are looking for an event frequented by young professionals from Brazil . In years past we have offered Devassa Balls, which were very good events and more frequented by LOCALS, but they were discontinued in 2015 and it will not be known if they will be offered in 2016 until the end of the year.

Do you include The Magic Ball as one of your events ?  The Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace Hotel is an amazing and exclusive black tie affair where celebrities, businessmen and the like attend every year. The Ball is held on Saturday of Carnival and is quite expensive. The tickets, to give you an idea, start at about $700USD and for this reason we do NOT include them in our base package events. If you would like to attend the Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace we can DEFINITELY provide you with tickets and do so every year for clients who request this party.


Magic Ball – Copacabana Palace Pictured Above

Will TGW take me to a Carnival Ball with my package ?  Typically YES! We try to include one ball every year but as mentioned before NOT Scala or  Copacabana Palace Magic Ball. In past Carnivals, for example, we took the group to an amazing masquerade ball on top of the Sugarloaf Mountain including guides, and tables/bottle service while we have also taken clients to Carnival themed parties during the day/afternoons at private lounges with food and drinks and live samba dancers.  

rio carnival 2016 party

rio carnival ball 2016


If you have any further questions about Carnival Balls in Rio or would like package pricing, please click HERE.

Rio Carnival Party – Folia Tropical

One of the cool concepts that was started a couple of years ago was the Rio Carnival Party / Lounge Theme at the Rio Samba Parade. They are similar to Camarotes, which have been around for a while, in that they provide a more exclusive way of seeing the Rio Carnival, but provide party goers different environments where they can party as well as their own entertainment. Camarotes are kind of like box suites at a sporting event where the main focus is to be in an upscale, comfortable place to check out the main event.

The Rio Carnival Party Lounges are clubs within the Sambodromo similar to the Camarotes in Salvador, Bahia so they are more exciting than the Camarotes or any other place because you not only get to check out the Rio Carnival Samba Parade, but also party and meet people at the same time. TGW will be offering the Folia Tropical Rio Carnival Party Lounge. Access to the event starts at around US$700 and includes round-trip shuttle transfers as well as ALL-INCLUSIVE DRINKS & FOOD. This is by far the best Rio Carnival party to purchase for the Rio de Janeiro Samba Parade. It will feature an upscale crowd as well as local celebrities. 

About the Rio Carnival Party Lounge – Folia Tropical

With an area over 16.000 sq feet, it offers the Lounge space that goes all the way to the avenue, leaving the guests with a sensation of being part of the parade and as well as a DJ area, where party goers can party all night long.  On the top floor there is  the ZEN place, where the guest can renew their energy with a massage or lay down and relax without missing the parade on the big screen as well as the BISTRO and buffet area. At the Beauty corner, where everybody can enjoy professional hair salon and make up services and doll up for the night.

Video: Check It Out for Yourself!


Rio Music Conference

Rio Music Conference (RMC) is the largest electronic music and nightlife industry conference in South America. The national edition of the RMC (the festival) takes place at Marina da Glória, one of Rio’s most beautiful venues and the conference takes place at one of the top hotels in Rio. RMC has coincidentally been held at the same time as Brazil Carnival, so it can be called the Rio Music Carnival with some of EDM’s biggest names taking part.

The Rio Music Conference is takes place around the Rio Carnival Dates, the conference will see leaders from across the music industry speak on panels during the first half, while the second half of the event will include a festival. Below is a the after movie from 2017.


TGW can provide you with access to the Rio Music Conference Festival as well as VIP Services as add-on parties to our Rio Carnival Travel Package.

Sambadrome for Rio de Janeiro Carnival

If you are looking to travel to Rio de Janeiro Carnival 2019, the Samba Parade at the Sambadrome is a can’t miss! It’s considered the Greatest Show on Earth and puts any Vegas show to shame! We put this guide to the Sambadrome together because we always get a ton of questions from our clients as far as the best places to sit in the Sambadrome as well as the explanation among all of the different sections.

In this guide to the Sambadrome, we’ll explain the difference among the numbered sections (or “sectors”) as well as the differences among the different sections to watch the parade.  If you would like to book any of the sections, please email us at or give us a call @ 786.522.3667.

What is the Sambadrome?
When does the Samba Parade for Rio Carnival take place?
Can I Participate in the Parade?
What options do I have as where to sit at the Sambadrome?
What are the different numbered sections? Are they all the same?
What are the prices for the Samba Parade?

What is the Sambadrome?

The Sambadrome (“Sambódromo” in Portuguese) is the name given to an exhibition place for the Samba Schools in Brazil. This is the area where the world famous Rio Carnival parade that everyone has seen on TV/online with people in amazing costumes and floats actually takes place! Contrary to what some people assume, the Rio carnival (with the costumes and floats) is NOT near hotels or on the streets of Rio, but HERE in the “Sambadrome” where people must purchase Rio Carnival Tickets in order to view the parade.

The Sambadrome consists of spectator viewing areas surrounding a long alley for the schools to parade down. It’s basically a stadium built specifically for the Samba Parade during Rio Carnival.

The most famous Sambadrome in Brazil is in Rio de Janeiro – Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí. It’s located near downtown Rio and was built by world-famous architect Oscar Niemeyer. It consists of 700 m stretch of the Marquês de Sapucaí street converted into a permanent parade ground with bleachers built on either side for spectators. Its capacity is 90,000. (other Sambadromes also exist in Sao Paulo and other cities, but the one in Rio is arguably the biggest and best in the world).

When does the Samba Parade for Rio Carnival 2019 take place?

The official Carnival parades take place just before the start of Lent (See Rio Carnival Dates till 2030). They are held for four consecutive nights, during which schools parade one after another from 8pm until the morning (anywhere between 3am & 5am depending on delays). For 2019, the dates will be March 03 & 04, 2019. 

When is the best night to go to the Sambadrome?

The sambadrome has parades on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Carnival. Sunday or Monday are the best nights to go because they are the “Special Groups” and are the best Samba Schools that are actually competing against each other for the title of Carnival 2019. The samba schools on Friday and Saturday as quite good but have not officially qualified. For this reason, tickets to the Carnival in Rio on Friday or Saturday are cheaper than Sunday or Monday. Since most people only go to Carnival once in their lives, it is advisable to purchase tickets on Sunday or Monday

Do most people go to the Sambadrome every night?

No. Most people go only ONCE NIGHT – either Sunday or Monday. The show is amazing and a “must see” attraction during Rio Carnival but since the parades last all night they can be a bit repetitive (not to mention expensive) to do more than one night. For this reason, we also offer amazing and exclusive parties during Carnival as most people do NOT go to the parade more than one night! Click HERE for pictures from past parties to get an idea.

As far as which night is better (Sunday or Monday) – they typically are very similar and both very good as the schools are split into two nights as they cannot all parade in one night.

Can I participate in the parade?

Yes! Most Samba Schools allow tourists to parade with them in the Sambadrome. You however MUST PURCHASE A COSTUME in order to parade. If you are interested in participating, please contact us and we will send you the available costume options or click HERE  for more info.

What are the Seating Options for Rio Carnival – Sambadrome?

The different sections where you can sit are divided into: Allocated Chairs, Arquibancadas (Bleachers), Frisas (Open Box Chairs), and Camarotes (VIP Boxes).


Allocated Chairs (“cadeiras individuais”)

The Allocated Chairs are the least expensive options for Rio Carnival, but they are NOT RECOMMENDED because the views are restricted and they are located at the end of the parade (Sectors 12 & 13). By the time the samba schools reach these chairs, they have already passed  the judges so the quality of their show will not be as good as other sections. We usually only sell these for special occasions on request or for Sector 13 as that is also the handicap section.


Bleachers/Grandstands (“arquibancadas”)

The Arquibancadas (bleachers) are the most popular and most animated place to watch Rio Carnival.  The tickets for these seats offer you a great view of the Parade as the concrete bleachers are at a high angle.   All Sections are “First Come, First Serve” (meaning NO RESERVED seats) and not numbered EXCEPT for section 9. Brazilians usually purchase these sections and this is the place to be if you want to be in the middle of the fun and party!

Section 9 (also known as the “Tourist” section) is a great option if you want a guaranteed seat  and do not want to “scramble” to find a seat when you arrive or are not good being around a lot of people. Section 9 also has better infrastructure as far as bathroom facilities, and slightly better food options. For this reason, Section 9 is also more expensive and a little LESS lively than the other sections frequented by Samba loving locals!

Click Here to See the Differences among the Numbered Sectors.

arquibancada-sambadrome bleachers sambadrome

Frisas (Open Boxes):

The Frisas (boxed chairs) are the closest seating you have to the parade as you are literally on the street /ground level versus the bleachers that are higher up.  The Frisas are basically like court side seats at a basketball game. They are  considered the best seating area to watch the parade up close.

Frisas  are divided into four rows – (A, B, C and D) and all of them are actual numbered chairs that are set in a incline , so anywhere you can get a clean view of the show. Section A  is the closest to the Sambodromo Parade, and D is the last/furthest away.  Many people like C or D as they are higher than A or B while others prefer A/B as they are closer to the street.

frisas sambadrome frisas sambodrome rio

 Camarotes (VIP Suites):

The Camarotes are located between the sectors, and also above the Frisas, right behind the last row (row D), and they have a perfect view to the Parade. The camarotes are by far the most exclusive place to be at the Sambodromo. They are all covered, on a high level, with great view to the parade. The Camarotes also include VIP treatment, such as drinks, buffet, and catering all night.  They also have air conditioning.  Camarotes are ideal for privates groups, from 12 up to 108 people. The Camarotes are spacious, with bars and sofas. They are the most expensive option as where to check out the parade and are comparable to “corporate boxes” at a soccer or football game. (to give you an idea, the pricing usually per person starts at $2,000USD) .  Camarotes are quite expensive and are often frequented by the wealthiest locals or in some cases celebrities and dignitaries.

sambadrome camarote camarote sambadrome

What is the difference among the Numbered Sections?

rio sambadrome map

This picture is a great example of the different sectors (click it to enlarge). Sector 1 isn’t pictured here because it’s a bleacher section right at the beginning of the parade . and is located right where the Samba School get together to prepare for the Parade before it starts. These tickets are not for sale, and are given by the schools to the community. Sectors 2 & 3 are the least expensive sectors because they are located at the beginning of the parade where the Samba Schools are just warming up.

The Sectors located in the middle towards the end (from sector 4 until 9) are the most privileged ones, with the best view of the show, but they can also be the most expensive ones. Sector 8 and 9 are probably the best, and its where most of the judges seat during the show, what make the performance of the school much better when they reach to this area. These Sectors also have allocated numbered seats.

Sector 12 and 13 have numbered chairs, which offers you the comfort of having you seat spot guaranteed for the whole night, but after the remodeling. They are located in the end of the avenue, so depending on where you seat, you might not have a full view of the show and by this point there’s no more judging happening of the School performance, what can affect the quality of it.

Even-numbered sectors 2, 4, 6 and 8 have recently been built. Although they offer the same view as the opposite odd-numbered ones, they offer newer facilities and access to a special area where live music is played. Note that Sectors 10 and 12 do not allow access to that popular space. Also note that even numbered sections do not have the ability to add transportation to/from the Sambadrome due to street closures/logistical reasons.  Only odd numbered sections can have transportation included. Since the Sambadrome is a bit far from the beach area and taxis can be hard to come by or expensive,  we thus recommend purchasing odd numbered sections  with transportation included to avoid hassles.

Rio Carnival 2019 Sambadrome Pricing

Pricing is per person in USD$ (subject to availability and fluctuating)
Pricing Below is for SUNDAY OR MONDAY of Carnival

  • Includes Free Secure Shuttle Transfers (to/from Sambadrome)
  • Includes secure/convenient delivery of tickets to your hotel (You will not have to waste your valuable vacation time standing in lines to receive your tickets!!!)

Section 3, Bleachers:  $299USD
Section 5, Bleachers:  $349USD
Section 7, Bleachers:  $359USD
Section 9*, Bleachers: $399USD

Notes: Pricing depends on availability and is only guaranteed once a reservation is made  * Sections 3/5/7 are not numbered seats they are “first come-first serve” *Section 9 are numbered. Box seat & VIP Box pricing available upon request..****