Going to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a must-do experience (see this site for Carnival dates and details), yet you can get a taste of Carnival or at least a carnivalesque atmosphere somewhere in Rio just about any day of the year. It’s simply a matter of finding the party – or serendipitously running into one, as we did!

During our two weeks in Rio we saw musicians having impromptu jams, drummers practicing hypnotic rhythms, and groups of dancers working on their moves accompanied by a good old-fashioned ghetto blaster.

On our last Saturday in Rio, we took a taxi up to Santa Teresa* and hopped out right into the middle of a vibrant street parade.

There weren’t that many people participating – a dozen or so people trailed along with the festive group while a handful of passers-by danced on the footpath from where they watched, and restaurant owners handed out drinks to the flamboyant revelers as they passed. But the guys in the parade were having a great time.

We took in the colourful spectacle for a few minutes, clicked off some frames, and then they were gone… a blur of stilts, clown noses, flutes, drums, silly pants, and plenty of liquid refreshments.

Welcome to Rio!

* TIP: it’s best to take a taxi up to Santa Teresa rather than the tram as the lines can be ridiculously long at the station down in the city, where the tram begins its journey up the hill. A taxi up and the tram down is the way to go.

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