Involuntarily, you feel your hips swish side to side to the sound of the drums. Your arms reach past your masked face to fist pump in the air. Finally, you emit an enthusiastic and extremely loud whoop to the crowd that lies before you amidst a kaleidoscope of lights and feathers.
You realise you’re at the iconic and famous Rio Carnival, the legendary rocking party of the world, that will be taking place this year between Friday 28th February and Tuesday 4th March. You’re going to let your hair down in Brazil, for sure. Clutching the national signature drink of Caipirinha – a concoction of sweet cachaca, bitter lime and cool crushed ice, marvel at the artwork that dots your body while twerking your heart out (perhaps with the Miley Cyrus tongue?) to the drum and bass tunes.
So, here’s our list of things to do during the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.
Start the day with a towering climb via cable car to the top of Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park. Here you can stand on the peak with Christo Redenter, a statue of Jesus embracing the city below with his arms outstretched. You’ll feel on top of the world taking in the panoramic views of the Sugar Loaf Mountains and the stretched beaches meeting the dark blue Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps you could even re-enact the Titanic movie moment?
Make sure you swing by Ipanema Beach to discover the contrast of relaxation and party life. The Banda de Ipanema parade, a highlight on the Rio Carnival calendar, attracts around two thousand people who march down to the seafront, led by glittering drag queens on extravagantly decorated floats. The crowd of spectators follow tooting trumpets and raining confetti while singing along with all kinds of nationalities from around the world. You should definitely doll up as an Easter Bunny to steal the attention away from the other crowd members!
Chill out afterwards on the golden sands with a crate of refreshing beer and your new friends. Head to Post 8 on the beach where you can frolic in the surf, tan blissfully and make merry with the locals. Wear your speedos and you’re bound to be everyone’s best friend!
Before you rush back to your hotel to change into your Carnival clothes, why not check out a popular architectural and cultural attraction in the district of Lapa, the Esadaria Selaron (Lapa Steps)? Here you can admire a lifetime’s work of a Chilean artist, who renovated the stairs leading from St Teresa Convent as a tribute to the Brazilian people. The stairs have multi-coloured tiles sourced and donated from people from around the world making it a tremendous sight to see.
Just before the sun sets, the whole city erupts into fanfare. Party down with the locals at the Arcos da Lapa, a huge open square with beautiful white arches as a backdrop, sample the delicious and lip-smacking Brazilian foods alongside buckets of drink to keep your toes tapping until dawn. Why not try out Rio’s very own samba dance – the Batucada along with a Brazilian amateur instructor? Now, you can bust a few moves to impress your laughing friends and family before telling them the Rio Carnival is, by far, the best festival in the world. Why not book a last minute deal with loveholidays and find yourself in Rio Carnival 2014 between Friday 28th February and Tuesday 4th March?
Have you ever been to a Rio Carnival before? Why not tell us all about your samba moves on Twitter @loveholidays.