Updated on Feb.11, 2013
There are dozens of Fat Tuesday street parades and parties in Rio de Janeiro. Fat Tuesday 2013 starts three great choices at 8 a.m. and has fine blocos going out in the North Side (Zona Norte). On the other hand, Galinha do Meio-Dia, a top Tuesday choice last year, will have a post-Carnival parade in 2013 (Sunday, Feb.17 at noon from the Country Club on Avenida Vieira Souto).
- 8 a.m. – Carmelitas, Santa Teresa
Starting Point: Largo dos Guimarães. One of the great Sebastiana blocos, Carmelitas fills up the narrow streets of Santa Teresa. Lots of revelers wear costumes to this great parade, (they also went out on pre-Carnival Friday, Feb.8).
- 8 p.m. – Rio Maracatu, Ipanema
Starting Point: Avenida Vieira Souto (at the Arpoador end), in front of Colégio São Paulo
You may have been lucky to see a Rio Maracatu parade as you enjoy the nightlife at Fundição Progresso or in the streets of Lapa. During Carnival, you can join this group playing can’t-stand-still maracatu and other Pernambuco rhythms right by the seashore.
- 8 a.m. - Vagalume o Verde, Jardim Botânico
Starting Point: Corner of Rua Pacheco Leão and Rua Jardim Botânic.
Sustainable, cross-generational and inclusive: there's much to like about Firefly the Green, parading right by Rio's wonderful Botanical Garden.
- 9 a.m. – Bagunça meu Coreto, Laranjeiras
Starting Point: Praça São Salvador
Bagunça meu Coreto ("Mess up my Gazebo") is the group which launched the winds of change for Praça São Salvador in Laranjeiras. The pretty square, which besides a gazebo has a fountain topped by a figure of Thetis the Nereid (a work by 19th-century French sculptor Sauvignon, who also created the Thetis sculpture by the water lily lake at the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden), was quite neglected until Bagunça meu Coreto started playing Brazilian music at the gazebo once a month. Other groups followed – now the square and gazebo host chorinho every Sunday morning, an Eastern European music party with Go East Orkestar, maracatu with Maracatu Brasil. The pioneers' party on Fat Tuesday is very high on the list of top picks for street Carnival as a whole if you appreciate Brazil music of great quality.
- Noon - Orquestra Voadora, Flamengo
Starting Point: Avenida Infante Dom Henrique near the Modernist Gazebo
If you're staying at a Flamengo hotel, you have one more reason to be happy about your budget travel choices. Orquestra Voadora ("Flying Orchestra", www.orquestravoadora.com.br), a band with great percussion born and grown at Parque do Flamengo, is here for their Carnival parade towards MAM (the Modern Art Museum). Their eclectic repertoire includes international hits as well as fast-paced Brazilian Carnival and pop songs.
- 3 p.m. - Empurra que Pega, Leblon
Starting Point: Praça Zózimo Barroso do Amaral
Founded in 1990, Empurra que Pega ("Push Start It") is one of the best, always with a fantastic percussion band, original songs and a crowd of thousands.
- 4 p.m. - Meu Bem, Volto Já, Leme
Starting Point: Avenida Princesa Isabel
One of the Sebastiana blocos, "Honey, I'll Be Right Back" is one of the most fun parades in Rio's South Side.
- 3 p.m. – Bloquinho, Leblon
Where: Praça Ministro Romeiro Neto
Leblon Carnival at its best: you'll be parading along families, groups of friends, and neighbors. Bloquinho would almost make you feel like you're crashing a party, except that you'll feel very welcome to join and bring your own crowd along.
- 4 p.m. - Galinha do Meio-Dia, Copacabana
Starting Point: Corner of Avenida Atlântica and Avenida Princesa Isabel
The Midday Hen, a great beach bloco, is just getting started on Fat Tuesday. It will also parade in Rio's post-Carnival (on Feb.26, first at Arpoador at 10 a.m. and then on Avenida Delfim Moreira, Leblon, at 4 p.m.)
- 3 p.m. - Banda da Saens Peña, Tijuca
If a square is emblematic of Tijuca, it's Praça Saens Peña. It's the main background in Praça Saens Peña, a 2008 movie by Tijuca-raised Vinícius Reis, and the place of origin for this bloco founded in 2006 and a member of the area's Sebastião league. The organization founded last year (its name is a good-humored counterpart to Sebastiana) joins several Greater Tijuca blocos - Banda do Tijuca, Bloco Nem Muda Nem Sai de Cima, Banda do Jiló, Banda do Largo da Segunda-Feira, Banda da Praça Afonso Pena, Banda do Chopp Duplo and Bloco Perereca do Grajaú.
- 5 p.m. - Banda Haddock, Tijuca
Where: Rua Afonso Pena
Stay ensconced in the homey streets of Rio's North Side for a band with over 25 years of history, great musicians and dancers from samba schools such as Salgueiro and a loyal crowd.
- 6 p.m. – Banda Sá Ferreira, Copacabana
Starting Point: Corner of Avenida Atlântica and Rua Sá Ferreira
Despite parade growth through the years, Banda Sá Ferreira, in its 41st year, is still a great street Carnival option for families, including young kids and the elderly. The bloco also goes out on all the other Carnival days.
- 7 p.m. - Bafo da Onça, Centro
Starting Point: Candelária
An old-time favorite in Rio de Janeiro Carnival (see vintage photos on G1, Bafo da Onça ("Jaguar's Breath") was founded in 1956 and rivals with Cacique de Ramos for the passions of Centro revelers. The good news is, you don't have to miss one to enjoy the other, as Cacique's parade will only start at 9 p.m.
- 8 p.m. - Acadêmicos dos Arcos, Lapa
Starting Point: Rua Riachuelo
Join one of Rio's best evening street blocos for some nighttime samba in Lapa. The parade will go down Rua Evaristo Veiga and take Avenida Mem de Sá.
- 9 p.m. - Cacique de Ramos, Centro
Starting Point: Av. Rio Branco. The parade will flow from Avenida Presidente Vargas to Cinelândia.
Closing 2013 festivities in style, Cacique de Ramos hosts its third parade this Carnival.