Rio de Janeiro has to be one of the world’s most glamorous locations. That picture-postcard image of lush green hillsides, blue tropical skies and golden beaches has ensured that millions of tourists flock to Brazil every year to enjoy sipping a caipirinha on the iconic Copacabana beach. The city’s popularity means that Rio is busy all year round, but there’s one time of year when booking in advance is more than just a recommendation, and that is the famous Rio Carnival. With just over two weeks to go, hotels for the 2013 Carnival are already at close to 99% occupancy, so if you haven’t booked your accommodation yet, you’d better get on the case!
There are two factors conspiring to make it difficult to be sure of getting a good hotel room during Carnival. The first is quite simple and it’s that the Rio Carnival is the biggest party on earth! Quite apart from all the Brazilians flocking to Rio, you also have literally hundreds of thousands of overseas visitors travelling to Brazil to enjoy everything from the glamorous parades in the Sambadrome to the impromptu street parties that many say are the real spirit of Carnival.
The second thing which makes hotel availability for Carnival so tricky is that although Rio is a big city, everyone wants to be in just a handful of areas. The natural geography of Rio means that areas are spread out and separated by lakes, hills and the ocean itself, and very few places tick all the boxes for a carnival visitor. As Dan Clarke from Real Brazil (www.therealbrazil.com) explains: “More than any other city in Brazil, Rio is all about location, and that’s especially true at Carnival. Being in the right area can make all the difference between having a perfect Carnival experience, and just getting frustrated.”
Firstly, getting taxis during carnival can be difficult and so to get to and from the Sambadrome you really want to be near a Metro station. The Metro in Rio is great, where it runs, but it’s not hugely extensive so that can exclude some areas which otherwise are quite appealing. You also want to be somewhere that’s going to be safe and have a good choice of restaurants and shops. Finally, after a hard night’s partying, you’re going to want some relaxation space and in Rio that means you want to be near the beach.
Put it all together and there are really only two areas that make sense. As Dan says: “Although at other times of year we might suggest a couple of other places, for Carnival we really only recommend Ipanema and Copacabana, where you’re on the Metro, you’ve got the beach and you’ve got all the other facilities you might need.” Unfortunately, the same elimination process means that everyone else has figured the same thing out, so if you want to be in the right place, you’d better get your hotel booked quickly!
SOURCE Real Brazil