By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The heart of Carnival in Rio is the famous parade of the city’s best samba schools at the Sambódromo, which this year will take place on February 15th and 16th. Tickets to watch the spectacle from the arquibancada (stands) or individual chairs have gone on sale by the official organizer LIESA this morning, January 7th at 9AM.
The stands make up the biggest part of the Sambódromo and they consist of thirteen sectors of concrete steps with no allocated seats (except in Sector 9, which is known as the tourist sector). The stands in Sector 12 and 13 are further away from the parading street and known as popular stands, as here the tickets only cost R$10. In front of the popular stands, one can purchase individual seats on reclining steps.
Other sectors in the Sambódromo such as the Camarotes (VIP balconies) and Frisas (front boxes) have already partly sold out with LIESA. The front boxes consist of around fifty boxes per row in a sector in front of the stands, with six numbered chairs per box. The VIP balconies are in between the boxes and the stands and considered the best place to watch the spectacle. They are also the only covered seats in the arena.
Tickets for the stands and chairs can be bought with LIESA via an automatic telephone system (calling 3445-00XX and the number of the desired sector). However, a CPF number is necessary. Four tickets out of the more than 40,000 available can be purchased per CPF.
The tickets cost from R$220 to R$320 in the stands (with half-prices available). The middle Sector 8 is the most expensive and the beginning and ending Sectors 2, 3 and 10, 11 the cheapest. Tickets for the tourist sector 9 are not sold by LIESA.
Tickets for the Champions Parade on Saturday, February 21st will go on sale with LIESA on January 26th.
An alternative to buying parade tickets with LIESA are the travel agencies in the city, although they often ask for extra charges. A good one is Rio-Carnival.net, which offers the tickets with a 35 percent administration fee, but allows to buy in foreign currency and to pay with credit card. Tickets are available in all categories, although Sector 9 has sold out for the Sunday parade and front boxes are only available in some sectors.