Sambodromo and the process of picking a seat
Sambodromo is where the magic happens!
The Sambodromo in Rio is huge. It typically occupies almost an entire street, spanning more than 650 meters, or half a mile. This then makes it the perfect venue for the samba parades, which are held there for three straight nights. It can also occupy thousands of people in one sitting. At most, it can hold around 90,000 individuals. Because of that, it is highly recommendable that you know how to pick the right seat.
The Sambodromo is arranged as a “stadium” though it’s just a loose definition of it. It’s composed of two parts. You have the runway where the performers dance and bring along their floats, also called Parading Avenue. And on the sides you will find the places for the spectators, divided in different sectors, which distributed on the left and on the right side of the runaway. In one side you have the odd numbers sectors, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and on the other side the even numbers sectors, 2, 4 and 6.
In general, there are two kinds of seats in Sambodromo. The first one is referred to as the grandstand seats, or bleachers. When you get a grandstand ticket you’re not going to have a designated seat number. Except if you get a ticket for the Sector 9 which is the only one numbered.
Then we have the open boxes seats and the covered luxury suites. The open boxes are usually located on the street level and are limited to only six seats per box. There’s also a coffee table for those who want to dine or to put on any personal belongings.
The good thing about the open boxes is that you can get a full view of the dancers and their movements. You can see all the details and even touch the participants. On the other hand, grandstand seats will ensure that you can have a much clearer picture of the samba school as a whole.
The suites are the most luxurious since they are covered lounges for up to 12 people. And they also offer the best views and facilities including waiter service with all kind of foods and drinks.
Looking for the Best Spots
When you’re purchasing tickets for Sambodromo, there are two things you need to keep in mind: price and location. If you’re going to pay high, you might as well ensure that you get the best view.
Sector 1 possesses grandstand seats and is located at the area where the different samba schools would meet and prepare for their parade. You will never get to sit here because the tickets are not sold, but distributed among the participants, or sometimes sold for a very cheap price. You may not also want it as it doesn’t really give you anything except the dancers in their non-carnival mode.
Sector 2 is where you can find the luxury suites, which takes three floors.
Sector 4 is not ideal if you don’t like too much noise as it’s already close to the drummer’s niche, right after the Sector 2. You cannot also easily see the participants, only they are passing thru you. But it is considered the best of the most affordable sectors.
The best seats are then those that are found in the middle, such as sectors 5, 7 and 9. The views are completely unobstructed. Nevertheless, they are also more expensive, according to the position on the runaway. Sector 9 is the most expensive since it is the tourist sector, and the seats are numbered.
If you’re looking for cheap tickets, you should choose sectors 3 or 11. The Sector 3 is on the beginning and the 11 at the end of the runaway. Like the sector 4, you will only see the parade when it is approaching or passing thru your sector, but the experience is the same. The Sector 11 is right next to the drummer’s niche.
Sector 6, right after the Sector 4, at the end of the runaway, are the allocated chairs. They are also boxes but less expensive than the other sector because of the location. A great option for the ones that want to be more comfortable and don’t pay too much.
Sector 13 like sector 6 have better prices, but the view is not so great.