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Rio and Recife Carnivals
Brazil - Trip code RRC Festival
Days 9
Deposit From £343
Price from £3430
Flights inclusive
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Why book this trip?

Once a year, in February-March, Brazil presents us with a festival experience like no other as the whole country comes alive for Carnival season. This short break takes in the more traditional street parades in the north eastern cities of Recife and Olinda before travelling to Rio for the glitz and glamour of Rio's winners' parade at the Sambadrome. There is time to soak up the lively carnival atmosphere in Old Recife as well as exploring its cobbled streets and colourful architecture. In Rio, visit one of the biggest samba schools and have the opportunity to try on costumes, stand beneath the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue and wander the artists' district, Santa Teresa.

    • Included meals

      Breakfast: 8

      Dinner: 1

    • Trip staff

      Explore Tour Leader

      Driver(s)

    • Transport

      Bus

      Flight

    • i

      Accommodation

      8 nights standard hotel

    • i

      Trip pace:

      Full on

    • i

      Group Size:

      12 - 18

    Itinerary

    Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

    Day 1 - Join trip in Recife

    Our trip begins today in Recife, a city founded during the early colonisation of Brazil. The city is often referred to as the 'Brazilian Venice' due to the channels of the Capibaribe and Beberibe Rivers that join here before flowing in to the Atlantic. Depending on your arrival time there may be time for some personal exploration of the city or to relax on the beach after your flight.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 2 - Experience the first taste of Carnival on the cobbled streets of Olinda

    After breakfast today our Explore Leader will brief us about the trip ahead, and we will have some free time in the morning to relax on the beach or take in the sights of the city. We will need this preparation time as we spend the rest of the day enjoying the parties and parades of the carnival period. In the afternoon we make our way over to Olinda, a beautiful city filled with Portuguese churches and a convent which has earnt the city UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The carnivals of Olinda and Recife are said to be some of the most traditional in Brazil, and one of Olinda's specialities are the giant paper-mache statues of folklore legends, which are paraded through the town, swaying to the sounds of frevo music. These statues are known as bonecos and some are almost 3 metres in height. Later in the evening we head to the carnival in Recife Antigo (the Old Town), where we listen to the vibrant, rhythmic music played by the numerous parading bands, their dancers swirling around them. We will be standing during the carnival festivities and it can get very busy so wear comfortable shoes! There are plenty of side streets where we can find a café to take a break from the action which typically ends at midnight.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 3 - Walking tour of Recife; ceremony of the Night of the Silent Drums

    Today we will head out on a walking tour of Recife. We start off by visiting Republic Square and the Capela Dourada, also known as the Golden Chapel, before walking around the historic fortifications at Forte das Cinco Pontas. Our exact plan will be decided on the day because at carnival time there will be road closures to allow for the impromptu 'blocos' and planned parades. Blocos are relaxed street parties where friends and family gather, play music and dance. In Recife the music is typically frevo, a mix of European, African and Brazilian beats said to make people move their feet as if the ground were boiling!

    In the afternoon there will be some free time to relax before we head out to the Praca Terco to watch the traditional ceremony of the Noite dos Tambores Silenciosos - the 'Night of the Silent Drums'. This special carnival event celebrates African heritage and pays tribute to the many slaves who suffered in colonial Brazil, as over 20 maracatu bands (maracatu is a rhythm of african origin, typical to this area), take centre stage. Just as midnight approaches, the drums reach a fevered pitch only to fall silent for several minutes in honour of those slaves who died. The street lights are turned off, the roads plunged into darkness, and prayers and hymns begin. After this period of calm, the rhythmic drumming starts once again and launches a party that continues through the night.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 4 - Discover the pulsating rhythms of the Old Recife Carnival

    We have a free morning planned to allow us to sleep in after last night's parade, to relax at the beach or to sit in one of Recifes many cafes.

    In the afternoon and evening today we spend our time enjoying the street parades of Recife Antigo, listening to more of the pulsating sounds of the frevo and samba music, watching the carnival dancers along the busy streets and squares. When it comes to sounds, rhythms and dance, no other carnival compares to Recife; we will hear a fusion of many different musical styles, from frevo and maracatu to coco, samba and manguebeat, as well as the traditional and highly rhythmic 'caboclinho' folk dance, which is derived from the amerindian and african influences in the area. Spectacles are on show in every corner of the old town, with hundreds of artists performing in the streets.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 5 - Fly to Rio; explore Copacabana and discover the city's pub scene

    Today we say goodbye to Recife and take a flight to Rio de Janeiro. On arrival we transfer to our hotel which is located close to the famous Copacabana Beach. Carnival in Brazil is celebrated from Friday to Tuesday before the start of Lent. From Ash Wednesday, the celebrations are mainly over, aside from in Rio where blocos (street parties) are celebrated in the run up to the big Winners' Parade at the Sambadrome, the flashy spectacle that marks the culmination of the Rio Carnival. The next three days will be a bit of a break to recover from the Recife and Olinda carnival, where we'll recharge our batteries before our night at the Sambadrome. The afternoon is free to relax on the beach, or get to know the Copacabana neighbourhood. In the evening we'll be heading off with our Explore Leader to discover the city's bohemian pub and food scene on our 'boteco crawl'. Botecos are typical Brazilian pubs, serving delicious 'petiscos' (bar snacks) and some playing live local music. Tonight our route will take us past a number of these watering holes, with some local delicacies and refreshing caipirinhas or trendy craft beer thrown in along the way. The nightlife in Rio is ever changing and growing, and, far from the typical tourist places, we'll get a taste of Rio's traditional nightspots, providing us a useful orientation for the nights to come.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 6 - Stand beneath the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue

    This morning we ride on the Corcovado rack railway from Cosme Velho to the top of Corcovado Mountain, home to the country's most famous monument, the iconic Christ the Redeemer. Recently named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the statue stands 38 metres tall and its open arms stretch 28 metres wide. Looking out towards Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf), Christ the Redeemer offers incredible views over the city, its beaches and the forested hills of Tijuca National Park.

    This attraction is busy at all times but even more so around carnival time when many people travel to Rio to enjoy the festivities. We'll need to be prepared for this, and may need to wait for a train up - they depart every 30 minutes.

    In the afternoon, we visit Rio's huge and impressive botanical gardens, home to a wide variety of Brazil's native fauna.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 7 - Visit the headquarters of a samba school; take in the views from Sugar Loaf Mountain

    This morning, we'll be visiting the headquarters and enormous warehouse owned by one of Rio's main samba schools, Grande Rio. We'll see where they make the floats and costumes that go into their carnival performances, and might even have the chance to try some on! As part of our visit, we'll also see the youth samba school project, an NGO run by Grande Rio, which promotes social inclusion and education through art, culture and carnival - they give local youngsters training in production, dance, music, visual arts and foreign languages. It's a fascinating 'behind the scenes' look at Carnival.

    This afternoon we will take the cable car up to the Pao de Acucar, Sugar Loaf Mountain, where we will have great views over Guanabara Bay and a 360 degree view of Rio de Janeiro. After soaking up the view we will take the cable car back to ground level and return to our hotel.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 8 - Stroll through the artists' district, Santa Teresa; watch 20,000 samba dancers perform at the Sambadrome

    Today we take a walking tour through the cobbled streets of Santa Teresa. This area of the city was popular with wealthy coffee planation owners in the late 19th century and these days is home to artists, writers and musicians who have opened their studios in the faded mansions. We'll stroll through the streets and stop to see the Lapa Arches, a Roman style aqueduct that originally brought water to the city centre before being turned in to a route for the Bonde, Rio's original streetcar tram. The afternoon is free for you to further explore Santa Teresa or make your way back to Copacabana for a spot of shopping or to spend time on the beach.

    In the evening, before heading to the Sambadrome, you have the option to visit a typical churrascaria, a Brazilian BBQ. This is completely different to the BBQs we are used to at home and it's wise to arrive hungry. Chefs will bring out different cuts of meat throughout the evening and you can select any that you fancy trying. Cuts such as picanha (top sirloin) and rib eye are cooked over an open flame and dramatically sliced from large skewers at the table. Salad and pasta items are also available but the focus is definitely on the meat. You can also take the opportunity to sample the classic Brazilian cocktail, caipirinha. The drink is based on cachaça, a spirit made from sugar cane, and mixed with lime and sugar.

    Later in the evening we head over to the Sambadrome to watch the pinnacle of Rio's carnival season, the Winners' Parade. Each year Rio's Samba Schools compete to win the prestigious title of Best Samba School, and this final night sees the best of the best - the top 6 schools performing their winning routines, until the final winning performance. During the previous week, the schools have been judged over two nights in the Sambadrome - they have 87 minutes each to make their way along the sambadrome parade, which is 1km long. If the performance is too short or too long, even by a minute, then the school is docked valuable points. They are also judged on music, choreography and costumes. Competition is fierce. The scale of the parades is incredible - each Samba school has between 3000 and 5000 performers, including 500 drummers!

    The parade runs from 9pm to approximately 4am. After each school performs sweepers come in to clear the route - sometimes the sweepers are known to give excellent samba performances themselves!

    We will have seats reserved in the grandstand of Sector 11, which is close to the end of the parade route. There will be the option to return to the hotel at approximately 1am if you prefer not to stay for the whole night but we recommend resting up during the day as this promises to be one of the highlights of your carnival experience!

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner

    Day 9 - Trip ends in Rio

    Our trip ends this morning in Rio. Many of the flight options depart from Rio late in the evening and we will arrange shared day rooms for you to store your belongings safely and freshen up before your journey home. In any case, we recommend flights in the afternoon to avoid any early pick-ups this morning - you will only get back to the hotel in the early morning hours after your trip to the Sambadrome.

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Trip information

    Country information

    Brazil

    Climate

    Due to its continental size, Brazil has many different climatic zones. Temperatures rarely dip below 20° C, only in the mountains and the extreme South it can get quite cold during the winter (June to August). The main rainy season runs from January to April. The Amazon region is characterised by a hot and sticky equatorial climate and can experience rains throughout the year. In the vast central area as well as a large part of the coastline the climate can be described as tropical, with warm to hot temperatures and a clearly defined rainy season. In the South, the climate is subtropical, similar to the warmest parts of the Mediterranean, with colder winters and hot summers (December to March).

    Time difference to GMT

    -3

    Plugs

    2 Pin Round

    Religion

    Predominantly Roman Catholic.

    Language

    Portuguese

    Budgeting and packing

    Optional activities

    The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


    Rio de Janeiro - Churrascaria BBQ dinner $28 (not including drinks)

    Clothing

    Brazilians are typically very relaxed so wear whatever you feel comfortable in. During the daytime temperatures will be hot - around 30-35 degrees centigrade - so cool, cotton clothing is best. At night the temperature drops but not by much, you are still likely to be comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt at 3am!

    Flip flops are the footwear of choice in Brazil but during the carnival parades it is wise to wear comfortable shoes as we will be standing and dancing for long periods of time.

    In Rio in particular, but also to some extent in Recife, people will be wearing bright colours, extravagant accessories, floral headbands, silly hats, glitter - you name it, they've got it! This is all sold in the streets in Recife and Rio, but if you want to pack some dressing up items in your bags, you won't feel out of place when you get here. Although they dress comfortably, Brazilians look 'glam' during carnival time, so don't be afraid to bring party clothes.

    Luggage

    20kg

    Luggage: On tour

    Any suitcase, rucksack or holdall will be suitable for this trip. The domestic flight from Recife has a luggage allowance of 20kgs for check in bag (one bag maximum) and 5kgs for hand luggage.

    Tipping

    Explore leader
    At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Explore Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
    Local crew
    Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly, you should allow US$ 30 for tipping.


    Brazil

    Food and drink

    The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


    Lunch price
    £10
    Dinner price
    £17
    Beer price
    £2.1
    Water price
    £1
    Foreign Exchange
    Local currency
    Real.
    Recommended Currency For Exchange
    Local currency in Brazil is the Brazilian Real. You can choose to either change your money in advance or on arrival at the airport. Here you will find both ATMs and Bureau de Change. ATMs can also be found in the major towns and cities for cash withdrawals in BRL. We recommend you take some emergency cash in USD as the GBP exchange rate isn’t very good. Notes should be in good condition otherwise they might be difficult to exchange. RRC trip only – during Carnival it may be difficult to find an exchange in the first few days – we recommend you change enough for the first 2-3 days either before leaving home or at the airport on arrival.
    Where To Exchange
    Your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
    ATM Availability
    Available in Major towns. Always have some cash as back-up as they are not always reliable
    Credit Card Acceptance
    Credit cards are useful and can be used in many places, but may be subject to a 10% service charge
    Travellers Cheques
    Travellers Cheques can be awkward or expensive to change
    Transport, Accommodation & Meals

    Transport Information

    Bus, Flight

    Accommodation notes

    In Recife we stay in the Boa Viagem neighbourhood, walking distance from the beach and with plenty of options to explore on your own during free time.

    In Rio we stay in Copacabana, a few blocks away from the famous beachfront. There are shops, cafes and bars close by and on the beach there are small 'kioskos' selling cold drinks and ice creams as well as hiring out deck chairs if you want to relax on the beach for a few hours.

    Essential Information

    FCO Advice

    We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

    For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
     

    Under 18 immigration guidance

    Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

    Price Guarantee

    Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

    Visa and Passport Information


    Brazil: Visas are not required for UK citizens. They are, however, required for Canadian, Australian and US citizens. Citizens from Canada, Australia and the US can now get their visa for Brazil online. Applications can be done here -http://www.vfsglobal.com/brazil-evisa/

    If you require a visa for Brazil you should also check if you need a visa for Argentina, this is necessary if you wish to visit the Argentinean side of the Iguazu falls. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate.

    All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.

    USA (If flights transit): you will need to apply for an ESTA if you are transiting the USA as you will have to disembark and clear immigration before re-boarding for the onward flight. Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can enter the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) - where you apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), which applies if you enter the country by sea or by air. This must be done on line - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding. When completing an application for transit you should enter the words 'In Transit' with your final destination location in the address line You must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover. If you have visited Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan in the past five years or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel under the Visa Waiver Programme. Instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.

    If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel. For further information please check out the US embassy website. Visa applications - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html


    If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
     

    Booking conditions

    Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

    Transfers

    Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

    Booking a land only package with Explore

    Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

    You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


    Joining Tour Abroad

    Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

    Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

    If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


    For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

    Insurance

    It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
    Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

    Flight information

    Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


    Flight Information

    You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

      

    Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

    We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

    On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

    Brazil

    Vaccinations

    Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against malaria, typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. There is currently an outbreak of Yellow Fever in Brazil. Yellow fever is recommended for those travelling to Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Bahia, Iguazu falls and inland cities such as Brasilia.Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

    Additional Information

    Why book this trip

    This trip offers a chance to watch a more traditional style of carnival in Recife and Olinda, before flying to Rio to see the thousands of winning performers that have been through the gruelling process of competing for the title of the Best Samba School. It's an alternative Carnival trip that captures the essence of tradition while giving you the glitz and glam of the biggest party in the world.


    Dates, prices and booking

    All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
    Sat 2 Mar 2019 - Sun 10 Mar 2019 Guaranteed departure
    RRC_2019
    Price from £2369
    Save was
    Single room option +£775
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Recife
    Time and place
    19:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Rio
    Time
    14:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sat 2 Mar 2019 - Mon 11 Mar 2019 Guaranteed departure
    RRC_2019
    Price from £3430
    Save was
    Single room option +£775
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Recife
    Time and place
    19:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Rio
    Time
    14:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
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    Price Guarantee Promise
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    Airport Transfers
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