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Samba School

Exlusive Experience

The heart of Rio Carnival

The Carnival of Rio would not exist without the presence of the samba schools formed by groups of people from the different bars of the city. The hombres, women and children of each barrio gather independently of their social background to design and carry out everything needed for the Samba Parade, including the composition of their own samba song.

Each school has its own dance group, its musicians and a team of choreographers who, together with the designers of clothing and carriages, create an extraordinary number for the Parade. The competitive spirit of each school remains strong but the companionship remains with each school rivaling for the title of champion at the Sambódromo. Your enthusiasm in Carnival in the country and rarely experience something like this in any other event in the world.

The LIESA Classification
The Independent League of Samba Schools of Rio de Janeiro (LIESA) is in charge of organizing the annual samba parade. According to their rules, the winner of the Access Group / Series A from the previous year leads the Special Group parade on Sunday, while the second group opens the Samba parade on Monday. According to the LIESA classification, based on a 5-year period.

The first “Escolas”
The Deixa Falar school was the first Samba school, created in 1928. It turns out that the members of Deixa Falar met next to the nursery school in the Estacio de Río neighborhood, from which the name of the Samba school comes.

Then the Paraiso school is also one of the first, founded by Esteves and Enrique Da Silva. Portela, Mocidade, and Mangueira are among the oldest schools and top the list of the most famous in Rio.

Samba School performances
Samba Schools generally operate in two physical locations. The Samba halls have percussion bands that perform live Samba music and act as dance clubs, as well as the main administrative center where the school president’s office is located. The other location is the creation center where the costumes and floats are designed and produced.

In any case, since 2005, all Rio Samba schools in the Special Group have a common production facility called the “City of Samba”. This is one of the places that can be visited to see the process of creating the impressive floats, costumes and the rest of the Rio Carnival paraphernalia.

The Schools do not teach samba dance, nor have they created dance schools or give any kind of classes. However, if you want to learn to sambar, don’t miss Samba nights to learn simply by watching others.

Consecrated and Famous Samba Schools of Rio
The most famous schools in Rio are Imperatriz, Portela, Beija-Flor, Uniao da Ilha, Salgueiro, Grande Rio, Porto da Pedra, Vila Isabel, Sao Clemente, Mocidade, Mangueira and Unidos da Tijuca. They widely rival each other for the championship. The Samba parade is a perfectly organized event, where each individual plays a certain role.

Each school represents a particular theme that the judges assess during the Sambadrome contest, determining the schools’ score and their place in the following year’s parade competition. Schools with high scores perform in the best group and those with lower scores in lower groups.

Contests are held throughout the Carnival period in accordance with Access Group / Series A. Small samba schools compete for a spot in the Special Group and the 6 best samba schools of the Special Group perform during the Champions Parade.

If you are passionate about Samba and like to dance, don’t miss the dance workshops. You can also go directly to learn the dance techniques and learn the art of the fast steps of the Samba, called ‘Samba no pe’. If you sign up for the weekly classes, you can parade with the Samba school.

The group of older women who represent the soul of the Samba schools are called Baianas. They perform a spectacular number in their traditional Bahian costumes. They are an exclusive group with a separate wing dedicated to them. The costumes are not available to other people and no one can join these women during their performance.

All Samba schools perform with enormous enthusiasm providing spectators with a fantastic night of continuous fun. The judges carefully observe the performances and score each Samba school. Considering the enthusiasm, the hard work, the year-long rehearsals … All schools are true champions. Year after year, the Brazilian Carnival keeps getting bigger and better, and the Rio Carnival certainly promises plenty of fun. Book your air tickets to Brazil now and make the most of Carnival.

  • Duration

    3-4 hours

  • Availablity


  • Tour Type

    Private Tour

  • Languages




Credential guide in English, Spanish or Portugues

Private transfer to and from your hotel

Covid-19 biosafety protocol



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