Where should I go for Carnaval in Brazil?

I’ll be in Rio for 10 days next year during Carvanal. Although I’m flying into Rio, I’d like to spend at least half the time somewhere else as well. I’ve gotten a solid recommendation for Olinda and receptive to other suggestions (or further endorsements of Olinda).

While in Rio, it’s been suggested to avoid Copacabana and possibly find a house in Ipanema to rent. Is this a good suggestion?

What about Olinda?

Any and all recommendations are welcome, solicited and appreciated! Thanks to everyone!

I’ve also heard good things about Olinda.

I live in Salvador, and this is the place to be if you like ENORMOUS street parties. Carnaval here is famous for the trios eletricos, giant trucks / floats / sound systems with famous bands performing on them and thousands of people following in the streets. For better or worse. (Don’t bring anything to the streets you wouldn’t want to lose).

Make sure to check the timing; the exact length of Carnaval varies in each city. Here’s an overview of Rio, Salvador, Olinda, and Sao Paulo. You can see that Rio’s events are mostly Feb 5-8, Olinda’s are Feb 5-9, and Salvador’s are Jan 31 - Feb 10 (yeah, they really stretch it out here :smile:). There are often pre- and post- Carnaval parties, though, beyond the official processions.

@shayna - thanks for much for the advice. You’ve convinced me that I want to spend a couple of days in Salvador as well. Do you mind recommending some good places to stay?

Ipanema is by far the best area to stay in Rio. You’ll have lots of bars & restaurants, a great beach (Praia de Ipanema) at one side and Lagoa (lake) at the other.
Carnival in Olinda is great, less tourists vs Rio and more of a ‘authentic’ feel. Salvador is great party wise, but shady (and rather ugly). Also stay away from Salvador if you are looking for something more classy.

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We will be in Rio during Carnival and have a place in Copacabana. I hear great things about the festival and location. We will be having some digital nomad meetups during that time if yall are interested in joining us…PM me

You should definitely go to Olinda. I’m Brazilian and I’ve experienced Carnival in São Paulo, Rio and Olinda.
São Paulo (I lived there for 7 years) looks like a ghost city in carnival holidays. Rio (2 carnivals) is great but most part of the fun is watching to samba schools parade. In Salvador (had friends there) you can pay to join the parades, the music is mostly Brazilian pop music and you have to stay inside the band’s vip area, otherwise is very unsafe.
Olinda (my favourite spot, currently my home town) is very cultural with authentic music played by orchestras on the streets. You don’t need to pay anything to stay close to the presentation and all the fun. In my opinion, is the most traditional carnival in Brazil. Check this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4PvCc-CZvk

Hi, guys. It appears that I will be in Rio on these days. So, I’ve decided to book tickets for Sambodromo event.
Which day is the most promising?
Do you have any recommendations as to the best seats? Grandstands, front box, special areas for tourists - too much information for a person, who have never experienced the Carnaval.
Also, is there any chance to take part in Carnaval?

Sunday and Monday have the best “schools.” This is also why it’s much more expensive that on those days as well.