TGW Travel Group

Samba Parade Guide for Rio Carnival

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 2021, the samba schools and times have not been announced:

Parade starts Sunday, Feb. 23 Monday, Feb. 24
21:15 TBD TBD
22:20 – 22:30 TBD TBD
23:25 – 23:45 TBD TBD
00:30 – 01:00 TBD TBD
01:35 – 02:15 TBD TBD
02:40 – 03:30 TBD TBD
03:45 – 04:45 TBD

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.

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