When you travel somewhere far, you should always try to book your trip as soon as you can. New Year's Eve in Rio de Janeiro is lovely and tickets are usually expensive, so if you do go forward with our suggestion I'd recommend booking it as soon as you finish reading this article!
Before we start, safety first: do not take expensive items or gadgets (i.e. iPhones, cameras) with you in the street. Older phones and smaller or disposable cameras will do just fine. Very few people speak any English at businesses, but Spanish comes in handy. If you are with a local, always let them do the talking - some salesmen may want to charge foreigners a little extra. Stay away from favelas! As artsy as it may seem to photograph the colorful shanty towns, these regions are dangerous and often run by drug lords. Specifically, avoid Funk parties. Any money you spend in them will feed drug traffic.
That being said, Rio de Janeiro’s New Year celebrations are world-class attractions, and whichever option you decide on, you are sure to have the time of your life.
The biggest event happens, of course, at Copacabana beach. There you’ll be able to see with your own eyes the magical display of fireworks that made it famous worldwide. If Copacabana is for you, there are three different ways of experiencing it.
Standing: The easiest of them all is, of course, to stand on the beach with the crowd. The downsides are mostly the weather (hot, humid and often rainy) and the lack of personal space. Also, beware of pickpockets - as mentioned before, leave valuables at the hotel. Beverages are available all the time from vendors with coolers. It is recommended to stick to drinks in cans - alcoholic ones are usually watered down.
From the window: A second option, which gives you more comfort but for a price, is to watch it from a hotel room or apartment at the beach front. When looking for apartments, be advised that prices go sky-high at this time of the year, so the earlier you book it the better. Some hotels also offer packages which combine the room plus access to a party from where the fireworks can be seen. If you have somewhere to stay but still want to see the party, tickets may be bought without reservations too - book early to make sure you get the tickets you want.
From the sea: For a fair number of years now, the fireworks have been fired by barges in the sea. If you are into cruises, this will be absolutely perfect. There are many packages available, for all tastes and budgets, but the most popular ones involve a week on the cruise, visiting other Brazilian coastal cities, watching the fireworks and then heading up to the beautiful warm beaches of the Northeast and back. These packages are offered by MSC Cruises.
Maybe you feel Copacabana is too hyped, or you don’t want to handle the gigantic crowd. Either way, Rio is an enormous city and has options for you too! The best region to spend New Years is still without a doubt the South part of Rio (where Copacabana is as well). However, other neighborhoods like Barra and Recreio often offer fantastic parties, and often for a smaller price.
Although the list of parties is just too long to include, some of the best venues include Iate Clube Urca, with live music all night long, MAM (Museum of Modern Art), from where you can watch the fireworks in Copacabana, Flamengo and Niterói, Morro da Urca, with a splendid view of all of Rio and the fireworks, and Sofitel, a more sophisticated yet just as exciting alternative. All of them have drinks and food included, brought to you by some of the best chefs in Brazil.
Also, specially for the LGBT community, Rio’s gay venues offer fantastic parties. Some of the most famous include The Week International’s and Revolution’s. You can find gay pool parties, discos and even cruises! The festivities attract people from all over the world, and you’ll have some diversity never seen before.
Whichever is your pick, make sure you're ready for the night of your life as Rio welcomes you with open arms. To plan your dream trip to Rio, log onto Trekeffect and share it with your friends!
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