Sambodromo – Stadium of Samba Parades in Rio de Janeiro
To capture the most electrifying, sizzling and scintillating parades of Rio carnival, you know where to go to – the Sambodromo!
Sambodromo Marquez de Sapucai, home of Carnival parades and competitions, was designed by Niemeyer, Brazil’s most famous architect. This 700 meters stretch has bleachers or independent concrete structures built on both sides for spectators. Inaugurated in 1984, Sambodromo Rio has the capacity to accommodate 90,000 people. The street pavement with a runway or passarela is painted a few days before carnival. It stretches all the way to Apoteose Square which is often used to hold concerts by international artists during non Carnival times.
The Sambodromo is divided into different sectors, each sector having a variety of seating styles.
Camarotes are the most desired seats in Sambodromo, with international socialites, stars, politicians, soccer players and diplomats rubbing shoulders together. However, they are quite expensive and the windows are not wide enough to accommodate everybody simultaneously.
Runway boxes or frisas are sets of 6 seats and have a small coffee table. As they are located on the ground level, they offer close views of the parade. The number of seats is limited and there are 4 rows from A to D, A being the front row and most expensive.
Bleachers or Arquibancadas are by far the most popular and reasonably priced tickets. Their elevated positions give a good view of all samba schools. There are no chairs, only big concrete steps from which you stand or dance to the music. Sector 9 has assigned seats and is more expensive, but the unnumbered standard seats are lower priced.
Sambodromo Rio also has facilities for refreshments and snacks. Restrooms can be located at all sectors of Sambodromo.
The samba parades are held over 5 days with shows starting at 9 PM and ending around 5 AM the next morning. Every school has close to 90 minutes to showcase its floats and dancers from one end to the other. The schools are awarded grades by a jury and on Ash Wednesday, the final winner is declared.