The last time Rio De Janeiro went without a full fledged Carnival, the world renowned street festival, it was 1912. Even then, they managed to offer a delayed event. In 2020, the Carnival luck may have finally run out.
Rio Carnival is not just a celebration, it’s a way of life, bringing over 7 million annual visitors, with many from the far reaches of the globe. It’s totally packed, invigorating, flamboyant and everything vital, but in the era of covid-19, it’s at odds with health and safety. Though some street parties may exist, it’s now mostly cancelled, or postponed in the best case.
Samba Pulls Out Of Carnival
Samba is at the heart of every Carnival celebration, with ornately dressed dancers spending months, even years preparing routines which showcase the life of Brazilian culture. For months though, samba schools have warned it would be impossible to safely prepare routines under the current conditions.
That’s now confirmed, with the main festivities on hold until further notice. No further date has been given, pending the ever changing epidemiological situation. The news is expected to cost Brazil 2 million international tourism arrivals.
Official samba party or not, Rio is a city that likes to have a good time, and street parties are said to still mostly be on. In other words, if you’re in the city during that magical 5 days in February, expect a rowdy time. Rio is a city unlike any other, with dramatic vantage points at every turn, two of the world’s most famous “name drop” beaches and a buzzing dining scene.
Despite virus concerns, Brazil reopened to visitors on the 29th of July, and tourism is possible for most international visitors without quarantine. Travel health insurance with potential coverage of at least 30,000 BRL, circa $5400 USD is the only current ask, according to the official IATA travel resource used by airlines.
Flights have resumed from many international gateways and connectivity via other South American cities is also possible. South America is a mixed bag as tourism reopens, with countries including Colombia already open, while others have banned all international flights through the end of the year.