Where the most famous parade happens

   Sambadrome, as the gringos say, or Samb√≥dromo, as the Brazilians say, is where the main and most famous parade of the world happens every year. It is impossible to talk about Rio carnival without talking about this place. This place is fantastic. The architecture is phenomenal, besides is a nice and must place to visit even if you visit Rio before or after Carnival. Other names you will hear for this place is Apoteose Square (Praca da Apoteose) and Marques de Sapucai.

   The Sambadrome completed this year (2010) its 26th anniversary. It is a very robust construction made entirely of concrete. It can hold around 62,000 people sitting, and around 90,000 people total. The total extension is of 700 meters.

   This is where most music shows happen. Many music groups as A-ha, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Kiss, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), Hillsong, Avril Lavigne, Pearl Jam, Roxette Santana, Jack Johnson, Nirvana, Hollywood Rock, Iron Maiden, Radiohead, Elton John, Coldplay, Jonas Brothers and Guns N' Roses have played here. The next show event will take place in October 2010 with Bon Jovi again.

   The main event though takes place during Rio Carnival. The samba schools every year have their parades here as a type of tournament. The parades take place on the Sunday to Monday and Monday to Tuesday before the Ash Wednesday. On the Ash Wednesday, the carnival judges decide which school won the tournament. This is a day to go as well because you can see the anxiety of all participating in the parades and the cheers as well. After the announcement of the champions a big party happens right there and in the headquarters of the champion schools.

   On the Saturday after the champions were announced, the parade takes place again with only the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places champions and some others invited. So, if you missed the parade, you can still enjoy it on the Saturday after. The prices for the main parades and the champions parade this year varied from R$ 10.00 to R$ 4,000 and $70.000 to R$ 350.000 respectively (Convert to your currency using the tool on the right). The ticket sales for these events usually start on January and go by fast. Honestly, it can be a hassle to buy it, especially the cheap ones, if you are not there in Rio. The options you would have are to buy online, or by phone, but the services for buying the tickets have mostly being in Portuguese, which makes pretty hard if you do not speak the language.

   Your best option, in case you do not speak Portuguese, is to buy through your hotel reservation. They could buy for you and charge a little more expensive. If you try to buy a ticket on the day of the event, you will most likely find people selling them around the entrance, but be prepared to pay very expensive for it. Those guys are usually disguised as well because this practice is crime in Brazil. What happen is that those guys buys cheaper price whenever the event organizers start to sell the tickets, and then those guys sell it much more expensive. You should avoid buying from them. They are referred as cambistas, which translates to moneychanger.

   In 2011, the city has a project to make available a free wi-fi. So, if you have your smart phone with you, or a lap top, you will be able to send photos and even live stream images from the sambadrome. If you ask me if you should bring your lap top, I would answer you, no. Unless, you can secure it extremely well, and have more people with you, preferably big guys.

   You can visit the sambadrome for free during the periods out of Carnival or shows. Again, the architectural structure makes it worth it to visit.

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