Brazil Travel


Brazil on New Year's Eve

Copacabana Beach overlooking the New Years fireworks in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil The coming of the New Year is a monumental time in all parts of the world, but it is only Rio de Janeiro that has come to host the 2.5 million people who gather on its' beaches on December 31st, with drinks, hot weather, and the ever persistent sounds of drums and Samba that mixes with dancing, laughing and the waving of hands that quietly wash away the world of the old and replace it with the new. Locals and foreigners gather side by side, most dressed in white in honor of the African tradition that is maintained amongst modernity. While the deep blue sea that is covered in flowers and sky envelops the world with traces of Iemanja, the African goddess of the sea, the dazzling white costumes glisten on the bodies of the many colored-skins from all social levels who come to Copacabana Beach in this celebration of life.

The Afro- Brazilian tradition
The New Year in Rio de Janeiro is seeped in a deep tradition of African, Brazilian and Christian origin, and there are many symbols that are paid attention to, and small but important rituals are performed.
New Year's in Rio de Janeiro and the Candomble Faith


Through the Night
Once the sun starts sinking, at about 7 p.m. is when the true party starts. The entire sidewalk and Copacabana area is closed off to cars, and multiple stages are set up with live DJs and bands. Over the 4 km stretch of beach these stages hold separate venues: one stage offers Brazilian popular music that plays Samba and chorro, a rock stage with more contemporary music, and usually a stage for older Carnaval songs and boleros. Come midnight, an extravagant half hour display of fireworks light up the sky all along the beach and up to about 11 miles off the coast. Watching the display from the beach is one of the highlights of the night, for not only is the sky lit up, the city skyline is also all ablaze. On this night, in every house and hotel there is a party, with windows and balconies that are decorated with lots of lights.

Balls and Parties
In the major hotels along Copacabana Beach- Copacabana Palace, Excelsior, Le Meridian and the Sofitel Rio Palace- host humongous and exquisite balls. They vary in price to attend, and tickets can be attained from your travel agent.

Transportation during the New Year Celebration
With such a huge influx of people, getting around might be a bit tricky. The road in front of Copacabana is closed off to traffic from 6 pm on New Years Eve to 4 a.m. January 1st. Hailing taxis is the easiest method to get around in the nearby blocks. Tickets for the metro need to be bought ahead of time; they are sold in the Carioca, Estacio or Pavuna stations and sales close at 6 p.m. on December 31st, or when tickets run out. It is advisable to purchase tickets ahead of time if you have plans to use the metro, for there are half a million tickets available for the approximately 3 million people. There are also tourist buses that drop people off that start and return to Botafogo, north of Copacabana, and regular public buses run freely (but are, of course, crowded).

Making Reservations
After Carnaval, New Year's is the single largest celebration in Rio de Janeiro. Unsurprisingly, reservations need to be made far ahead of time, to ensure you get the hotel, room and accommodations you want. At this time, prices do inflate, and most hotels have minimum night stays. Try to plan ahead. Contact AR Tourism for the best hotels, and packages, and to get details on all the options.

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