I’ll be honest; I’m not a massive fan of New Year’s Eve. Hanging out in the rain and cold on the streets of London, tactically balancing the consumption of a pack of drinks bought for extortionate price from a newsagent against the time it’ll take to deal with the inevitable ‘broken seal’. Then, at midnight, standing on your tiptoes to get a glimpse of the fireworks over the sea of camera phones held at arms length, followed by the sodden slump home. Nah, I’d rather watch from my sofa thanks.
However, if like me, you’ve watched the New Years celebrations from around the world on TV from the comfort of your own home, Rio is probably one of the parties that you’d see and think, “yeah, I could do that.” Free flowing cocktails, golden sand and warm Atlantic waters seem a million miles away from the London rain experience.
So, if you’ve got the opportunity to fly to the southern hemisphere summer and spend this party on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, it’s not an opportunity to miss.
New Year’s Eve in Rio is a big thing. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over Brazil (and the world in fact) descend on South America’s most famous party town to bring in the New Year in style. The main party is down on Copacobanna Beach where 4 miles of sand plays host to 2million people partying the night away.
Where to Stay
The city pretty much grinds to a halt during the day on the 31st with streets blocked off and restrictions placed on traffic flow so if you want to be at the heart of it all, you’re best being walking distance from the beach. There are of course a number of hotels and Air BnB apartments along the beach front but be prepared to pay a small fortune for the convenience. A better option is to find a place in the nearby Botofogo area. Just a twenty-minute walk to Copacobana, join the hoards of locals as you sing your way through the streets down to the party on the beach.
What to Wear
If you really want to feel part of the fiesta, spend a little time before you leave thinking about your outfit. It’s not so much the style of what you wear which speaks volumes, it’s the colour. Most people wear white, a sign for peace but if you want to make a bit more of a statement, you can wear red, or pink or green or blue – you can hazard a guess as to what they represent. Shorts and flip-flops are of course the order of the night – this is just one massive informal party with friends.
Where to Party
The beach of course is the obvious location. Fill a cooler box with drinks and snacks, sort yourself a good Spotify playlist and set up camp on the soft sand for the evening. Crowds tend to be bigger towards the centre of the beach, where a large stage featuring some of Brazil’s biggest musical artists sets the beat for the night so if you want something with a little more space, I’d suggest heading down to the Leme end of the beach.
However, if you want the real once-in-a-lifetime experience, get yourself to a roof top party at the one of the hotels along the beachfront. Tickets don’t come cheap (expect to pay anything from £100 up to £500 per person) but I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. Not only do most places include food and drinks for the entire night, they also provide you with unrivalled views over the masses on the beach for one of the best fireworks shows you’ll ever see.
Eleven barges moored in the shallow water along the beach burst into life as the clock strikes midnight, filling the air with a barrage of explosions of light and screams of joy from the crowds. The show is so good that massive cruise ships line up in the water beyond them, giving their passengers a night on the ship that they’ll never forget.
This is without doubt the best New Years Eve I’ve ever had and I really can’t recommend it enough. If you fancy trying it for yourself, I suggest you book early. Flights and hotels get super busy and with that, prices tend to skyrocket. Get your flights and accommodation sorted early and give yourself something to look forward to away from the rainy streets of the UK!