Operators set plans for Carnival in Rio

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NEW YORK -- Carnival celebrations are held throughout the world, but the version in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -- this year, March 4 to 7 -- is considered by many one of the greatest shows on Earth.

During the costumed extravaganza, Carnival's colorful parades and spontaneous street celebrations reflect Brazil's richly intertwined Amerindian, African and European heritages. The celebration also is a weeklong invitation to eat, drink and, of course, do the samba.

The centerpiece of this riotous event is the Carnival Parade, the grand spectacle of Rio's awesome samba schools pulsing through the Sambadromo (the spectators' viewing stadium), where it can take more than an hour for a single samba school to pass from one end to the other.

U.S. tour operators are offering a variety of departures and packages linked to the event. Following are two options:

  • American Airlines' AA Vacations is offering packages from New York or Miami that start either March 3 or 4 and include a five-night minimum hotel stay with breakfast, airport transfers and a half-day city tour that includes Sugarloaf mountain.
  • From New York, the cost per person, based on double occupancy at the Hotel Luxor Regente, is $1,484; at the Rio Othon Palace, $2,099, and at the Hotel Sofitel Rio Palace, $2,199.

    From Miami, prices per person are $1,769 at the Luxor Regente, $2,399 at the Rio Othon Palace and $2,499 at the Sofitel Rio Palace.

    Tickets to the Sambadromo parade are additional and available for March 5 or 6. Admission is $195 for the grandstand or $375 for chair seating in sector 9, which is reserved for foreign visitors.

  • Brazil Nuts of Naples, Fla., has Carnival packages available to both Rio and Salvador da Bahia, from New York, Miami and Los Angeles.
  • Departures are March 2 from the U.S., with returns on March 10. The packages include air from the U.S., seven nights' accommodations with breakfast at most hotels, airport transfers and a half-day Sugarloaf tour. Clients can choose packages from among 10 different hotels. Fares range from $1,206 to $2,980.

    The operator's Salvador packages include hotel for seven nights with breakfast (eight nights from Los Angeles), transfers and a half-day tour.

    Prices are $1,426 to $2,575 from Miami, $1,480 to $2,629 from New York and $1,511 to $2,699 from Los Angeles.

    AA Vacations
    Phone: (800) 321-2121

    Brazil Nuts
    Phone: (800) 553-9959

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