For hardcore partiers, Rio Carnival can’t be beat. For four days and nights the entire city sheds its (admittely few) inhibitions, and the streets are a right of colour and music.
Believe it or not, though, there are times when all that hedonism starts to take its toll – particularly if you’ve been enthusiastically joining in the many pre-carnival parties.
If you have a suspicion that your party spirit may start to flag after a couple of days, it may well be worth splitting your carnival time between the rampant festivities of Rio and the lower key celebrations that take place in surrounding towns.
Coach services continue to run throughout carnival, so it is easy to jump on a bus down the beautiful Costa Verde and head to the beautiful island of llha Grande, or the historic town of Paraty. Both these locations throw their own carnival parties and parades, but the event is lower-key and more family oriented.
The beaches of Ilha Grande and those of Trindade, close to Paraty, are ideal for recharging your batteries after one carnival party too many, and you can return to Rio refreshed and raring to go. As the parties tend to carry on for several days after Carnival has officially come to an end, you needn’t worry that you will have missed all the fun.
The good news for budget travelers is that while the price of accommodation in Rio shoots up over Carnival, prices in Ilha Grande, Paraty and other coastal destinations in Rio de Janeiro state tend only to go up by a little, if at all, so your money will go further than in Rio itself.
Accommodation tends to be easier to come by, too, although booking in advance is still advisable.