How Sambadrome stadium is organized

The Sambadrome is the most exciting place to be in Rio during the Carnival and to get the very best of the extravaganza it is essential to choose a prime location. Due to the variety of seating arrangements available, the stadium is divided into sectors with even numbers on one side of the samba runway and odd numbers on the other. No matter which sector you choose to buy tickets, you are guaranteed to have a great time at the Samba Parade.

Sambadromo Rio de Janeiro

Sector 9 – Sambadrome’s Tourist Zone

Sector 9 signifies Rio’s welcome for tourists from around the world. These are among the privileged seats among the grandstands with numbered seats. The do come at a higher price but saves you the trouble of having to request someone else to look after your seat while you move out to stretch your legs during the breaks. You won’t need to do that much since the sounds of the samba are simply irresistible and will keep you on your feet most of the night. The drummers’ niche is close by so things tend to get hotter real fast as drummers gather between Sectors 9 and 11. On the down side, you won’t find too many cariocas in this sector. They have a knack of getting everyone into the party mood, which means you may enjoy being in another sector. Tickets to this sector are available through travel agents in countries worldwide. Sector 9 is the best area to feel the energy of the Carnival. In addition there are Riotur kiosks and bilingual guides. While it might seem expensive, it is the best sector to enjoy the parade with friends and family.

Sector 1 – For the kids on the block

This sector offers the best view of the samba schools on their entry into the Sambadrome. Although you won’t get to view thesamba schools at full stretch, this sector is one of the loudest and liveliest with a large population of locals. For the younger generations and the young at heart this is a great place to join in the revelry. The tickets for this sector are not for sale. Instead they are given to the local schools who pass them out to their students.

Sectors 2,4,6 and 8 – Grandstand viewing

These are the new grandstands being built in replace of Sector 2 – old brewing company building where before were only the Camarotes. The new structure will be ready for the technical rehearsals and each one of the sectors will have 2,880 grandstands extra seats. Being sector 8 the one closest to where the majority of the judges will be seated, it is considered to have the best view, like sector 7 on the other side.

Sectors 3,5 and 7 – Grandstand viewing

These sectors have grandstand seats with sector 7 being the most expensive in the standards sectors due to its strategic location. The judges’ area is located in front of Sector 7. It is here the schools put on their best possible show as the judges are watching intently. Spectators in Sector 7 can also enjoy the best effort each school has to offer.

The seats aren’t numbered so you need to be an early bird to find the best possible seats. Sectors 3 and 5 are priced lower, but the crowds get livelier. If you are seated at the back, don’t expect to be able to get a great view. The cariocas love to stand up and dance, and so will you. That’s the greatest way to enjoy the Carnival. These sectors are quite popular amongst the Brazilians and Cariocas. Tourists can enjoy rubbing elbows with the locals. It is the perfect opportunity to make new friends, learn the samba and understand how the different samba schools operate. Most of the locals are very happy to take you under their wing and share their experiences of the Carnival.

View from the carnival parade

Sector 10 – Your best view to the drummers’ retreat

The drummers’ players compose one of the alas (section) of a samba school and are the star and heartbeat of the samba parade. At some point of the parade the drummer’s alas retreat to a designated area between sector 9 and 11, so that the alas with no drummers can be all together. After they regroup, the drummers follow them, this time at the end of the samba school. So if you love music, can’t stop singing, are into instruments and want to really feel the power and vibration that trembles the Sambadrome, the best sector to choose is the new sector 10, which also offers great acoustic. In front of the drummers’ retreat area, you will get the best view, either seated at the frisas - which by the way is one of the less expensive ones, grandstand or camarotes.

Sector 11 – Unnumbered

Sector 11 has unnumbered grandstand seating too. Most tickets were booked by travelers on cruise lines. The sector offers a nice view of the parade as the schools gather towards the end of the runway. Many of the seats are given away in a lucky draw by a well known supermarket chain in Rio. The largest food court is also behind Sector 11. This sector has the drummers’ niche nearby so be prepared to get the rhythm flowing through your body much before you expect. If a school’s parade is delayed at sector 11 you will see locals rushing over to the school so they will not lose points. Like Sector 9, Sector 11 is near the area where the drummers gather. It is a great place to actually feel the beat of these drums.

Sector 12,13 – Low budget wing

These sectors are at the Apotheosis Plaza at the very end of the parade. In front of these sectors are the cadeiras (allocated chairs), seats that are numbered, so you can leave to stretch your legs, to buy food and go back to the same place without any hassle or worries of loosing your seat. They are individual seats placed in rows like an open-air-theatre divided by steps, so everybody can have a good look of the parade. Tickets are the cheapest in this sector. However, most often they are distributed by the authorities to people from the neighborhood who cannot afford to buy regular tickets.

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