Is the Sambadromo worth it?

The first time your parents take you to watch the fireworks, you’re pretty amazed. How can colourful lights explode through the night sky? The first time your parents take you to Christmas light displays, you’re enraptured. The Christmas festivity has arrived. And then when those lights can sync to music.. well that’s just next level delight.

But for the most part what do both these times have in common to your younger self?

You don’t really need to think. You’re amazed. They make you happy.

Watching a continuous procession dance and parade down the 700m long aisle is an incomparable experience. As a first-timer to the Carnaval Sambadromo experience the best I can do is try to describe the emotions I felt and liken them to that childhood enrapture. The extravagance of each performing Samba school, the energy of each individual Samba dancer and the detailed consideration put into every costume explodes in front of your eyes, the music pulses through your body, the smiles of the performers reflect off your face and the happiness is clear all round.

This was the most expensive thing we had done thus far (apart from the flight ticket and accommodation) but was 100% worth it. If I wasn’t so tired I would be heading there again for their second one on tonight.

We were in section 12, right down the very end but quite close to the parade aisle. However, once the parade was directly in front of us, everyone moved forward to the aisle and danced to the samba rhythm and our view was a good as we wanted.

It actually took me the whole first samba school to realise that each school had one song playing on repeat to match their theme. So I made it my goal to try and pick up one phrase and word to sing a long to that every time it came around.

We witnessed six different themes of:

Sao Jorge from the Samba school Estácio de Sá;


Greek mythology from the Samba school Uniao da Ilha;

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 10.50.12 am

Candido Jose de Araujo Viana, a notable Brazilian public figure in the 29th century by the Samba school Beija-Flor;


Santos Futebol Clube by the Samba school Grande Rio;


Miguel Cervantes by the Samba school Mocidade;


Sorriso, Mato Grosso, a Brazilian capital of agriculture by the Samba school Unidos da Tijuca.


Each theme had it’s perks. My personal favourite, was a performance by the Grande Rio Samba school, which inflated a ball and sent a representative of Pele to run around the top. That was pretty impressive. [I’ve included a snippet of that video in the youtube link below].



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