New Year's Eve (Reveillon) is celebrated in many different ways in all regions of Brazil, but nothing can compare with the beauty of festivities on the beach. Fireworks, music concerts and African traditions merge to create the magic of Reveillon.
On New Year's Eve, the Brazilian coast lights up as crowds gather on the beach wearing white for peace, placing candles on the sand and waiting for the fireworks which ring in the New Year.
New Year's Eve in Rio de Janeiro is the greatest Reveillon celebration in Brazil, and Copacabana leads the festivities.
Hotels in Brazil book New Year's Eve in packages which usually range from five to ten days. Some hotels offer guests the option of defining which sequence of days they would like to book.
Packages ranging from December 26 to January 2 are very popular. One advantage of longer packages is that they spread out air and road traffic. Traffic jams immediately before New Year's Eve
Hotel prices soar at Reveillon. While beach hotels feature the greatest raises, resorts in the country also try to make the most of the holiday. Early booking is essential so you have more choices, not only of hotels, but also of rooms. The later you book, the higher the risk of only finding the most expensive suites to choose from.
When to Plan Your Reveillon in Brazil
You will find Reveillon celebrations all over the Brazilian coast. Larger cities have the most amazing fireworks, while at some beaches, festivities will be much more laidback, but still beautiful and fun. No matter where you want to be, you need to start planning months in advance.
Traditionally, hotels issue their New Year's Eve prices in July. However, some of the most popular beach destinations in Brazil, such as Trancoso, in Bahia, have started taking reservations for the next year's Reveillon much earlier. Capim Santo, one of the area's most popular pousadas (inns), told me in early August that they had started taking reservations for Reveillon in early May.
That doesn't mean the hotel is definitively booked out. A lot of people make reservations, but wait till later in the year to start making payments. Before you're placed on a waiting list, check with the hotel of your choice if their reservations are final. Maybe your down payment will make a difference.
One of the advantages of booking early for New Year's Eve in Brazil is the fact that some hotels allow guests to pay for their Reveillon stay in monthly installments, usually by money transfers. Hotels which offer that option will usually send you a detailed explanation of how the system works upon request.
Don't Wait for Online Prices
Even though Reveillon is such an important event in Brazil, a great number of hotels don't update their New Year's Eve packages online. Zero in on a beach destination and e-mail or call hotels as early in the year as possible, asking them when they expect to release information about their Reveillon packages. Call if you don't get a prompt reply to e-mail messages.
Once prices are out, some hotels book incredibly fast. The SESC Copacabana Hotel in Rio de Janeiro is an example. Being part of the SESC (Social Commerce Service) network, which affords associates discounts, makes SESC Copacabana one of the best budget options in Rio, but getting the reservation number (55-11-2549-1616) to answer is nearly impossible once the list of prices is out, usually in early August.
Reveillon Packages at Brazil Hostels
July is also a good time to start looking for Reveillon package prices at Brazil's hostels, especially in Rio de Janeiro. You may have more time to book a hostel elsewhere. For example, in Maresias, one of the top beach destinations in São Paulo, the Maresias Hostel hadn't issued their Reveillon prices by August 2008.
Again, contacting hostels is essential if you want to be in the loop about Reveillon prices, especially if you're looking for double or family rooms, which are not as common at Brazil hostels as collective rooms.
Reveillon at Brazil Campgrounds
Camping during Reveillon should also be planned early. MaCamp, one of the best online resources for camping in Brazil, has a Campground Guide with contact information and links to campground websites (when available).
To view campground options, click on a state, choose a city from a menu to the left of the page and see what campground options show up, also on the left.