Located in the heart of Rio de Janeiro, the Passarela do Samba Darcy Ribeiro or the Sambodromo can easily be accessed from Rio’s International airport. It is located right at the heart of Rio and thus close to various hotels, cultural centers, restaurants, metro stations and also to other Carnival festivities such as the Cinelandia street parties and the street bands competition. It is also close to the South Zone where a lot of the parties and balls, such as the Scala balls take place.
Recognised as the biggest stage in the world, the Sambodrome is designed to accommodate large numbers of people, which usually comprises of close to 100000 spectators and participants. This permanent structure is used for other cultural events during the year as well as for shows by international artists that perform in Rio.
Tickets for the 2014 Samba parade can be bought online or via a travel agent. Though the tickets can be purchased well in advance, they will only be issued a week before Carnival, for fear of duplicates being made and also for security reasons.
Depending on what your budget is and what you would like to see, there are a variety of options to choose from. Seats can be right next to the parade at ground level or elevated for those who prefer a broader view, while seat types range from economical concrete bleachers to expensive, plush suites, offering 5 star amenities.
An overview of the Sambodromo map will give you a good understanding of where each category of seats is located, in terms of closeness to the Samba parade runway, as well as in terms of how close to or far away from the Apotheosis Square – the end of the runway – they are.
The venue contains restrooms, a taxi stand comprising of official taxis whose sole purpose is to take spectators to and from the Sambodrome, a souvenir shop and a number of vendors selling food and refreshments. The luxury suite package includes buffet meals and also has a waiter service.
Security measures are high and the venue is considered to be the safest place in the whole of South America, during Carnival. The presence of a number of high profile visitors ensures this. The Brazilian government takes extensive security measures to ensure that this event that attracts a huge number of tourists every year goes off without any untoward incidents.
The official name of the venue is Passarela do Samba Darcy Ribeiro. It is most popularly known simply as Sambodromo, but also as Sambadrome Marques de Sapucai, after the street of the same name on which the venue was built. Another name it is known by is the Apotheosis Square, which is actually the name of the square at the end of the parade runway where participants finish the parade and also where the results of each Samba school is tabulated and announced on Ash Wednesday.