Just Back From… Rio Carnival with Ben LineBen Line - Travel Expert
Our Real Latin America Expert
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Bespoke Sales Manager, Ben, answers questions about his whirlwind trip to experience Rio Carnival.
If so… notable differences?
Seeing Rio during Carnival was a completely different experience. The atmosphere was incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it!
How did you get there?
BA business class – it was my first time in business for about 10 years but could definitely get used to it! Very comfortable flatbed, excellent food and services – and an absolute joy to take off with glass of bubbly in hand knowing I would be comfortable for the next 12 hours! Equally it was very comforting knowing that after 5 days of late nights and too many Caipirinhas (is there such a thing?) I would get a tasty meal and then be able to sleep well for the whole overnight journey home.
How long were you there?
Which was your favourite…
Copacabana Palace for the annual Magic Ball. What a party! The incredible banquet spread of food, including salmon, foie gras and pretty much anything you could imagine was equally matched by a great array of included cocktails – available at the various bars throughout the venue.
The Windsor Excelsior has such a fantastic location overlooking Copacabana beach. I loved the rooftop pool and the breakfast was great!
The Carnival Parade was mind blowing!
Appeals to which type of traveller/client?
For me, Rio Carnival is now one of those bucket-list experiences so in that respect I would say it appeals to everyone!
What did you pack/take with you?
A GoPro and good camera with a wide-angle lens as well as a telephoto lens is essential. Otherwise, an eye mask was crucial for the required lie-ins after late nights out. I also discovered P20 sun lotion this time which you genuinely only need apply once a day. It makes the issue of sun cream in a city much more manageable.
Any good food, drinks, restaurants or bars recommendations?
Windsor Marapendi do an annual Feijoada. The food was really good (authentic) and the accompanying party a lot of fun. No tourists, all Brazilians that had headed to Rio for Carnival. Bar do Oswaldo, the home of the coconut batida was a really authentic experience and recommended to anyone who finds themselves either in Barra or wanting something authentic whilst in Rio and happy to travel 40 mins from Rio/Copacabana to get there. It’s nothing luxurious but there is music on certain nights and it’s good fun!
How would you summarise/sum up your trip in a sentence?
‘Party destinations’ are not my thing but this was probably the best 5 days I have had in a foreign city – I love the way Brazilians (perhaps Cariocas in particular?!) are just so up for having fun, it is clearly in their blood and there was nothing but good vibes throughout the city!
I now fully understand why so many people talk about Rio Carnival being one of those absolute bucket-list experiences.
Take a look at our Rio Carnival holiday if I've inspired you to tick Carnival off your bucket-list!