samba parade guide

Samba Parade Guide – Rio de Janeiro Carnival

If you are traveling to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival for 2025, the Rio Carnival Samba Parade is a CAN’T MISS! It takes place from Friday until Tuesday of the 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 attend the Rio Carnival Samba Parade during these days, we recommend attending the Main Competition (Special Group) on Sunday , Monday and Tuesday. Carnival 2025 will be the first time there will be three days of the Special Group parading at the sambadrome with Tueday being added as the “new” third night.  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 and Tuesday 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 an 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 that includes over 3000 performers!

For Rio Carnival 2025, the samba schools and days they will perform have been set, however the times have not been determined yet.

Parade starts Sunday, Mar. 02, 2025 Monday, Mar. 03, 2025 Tuesday, Mar. 04, 2025
TBD Unidos de Padre Miguel Unidos da Tijuca Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel
TBD Imperatriz Leopoldinense  Beija-Flor de Nilópolis Paraíso do Tuiuti
TBD Unidos do Viradouro Acadêmicos do Salgueiro Acadêmicos do Grande Rio
TBD  Estação Primeira de Mangueira Unidos de Vila Isabel Portela

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 our Samba Parade Guide, please enter your details below. You will receive an email with the written guide.

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