By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – New Year’s Eve, or Réveillon as it is known, is easily Rio’s second most popular holiday after Carnival. While famous for the expected two million party-goers who gather at Copacabana Beach for the fireworks display and festivities, many other celebrations take place throughout the city to welcome in the new year.
For one of the best views from above, many head to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), one of Rio’s famous tourist destinations. From there both Copacabana Beach and Praia do Flamengo (Flamengo Beach) can be seen.
The 7th edition of “Réveillon do Morro” will take place there this year with entertainers including the bateria (percussion section) from the Salgueiro Samba School. Ticket prices range from R$728 to R$1,205 with drinks and food included.
Down below at Aterro do Flamengo (Flamengo Park) will be another fireworks display, and while not as famous as Copacabana, it lasts a little longer at an estimated 25 minutes. Admission is free and entertainers will include Seu Cuca, Queima de fogos and the sounds of samba from both the São Clemente and Beija Flor Samba Schools.
Close by at Avenida Infante Dom Henrique in Aterro do Flamengo, MAM (Museum of Modern Art) will hold its famous all inclusive New Year’s Eve party featuring live DJs (DJ Tartaruga, Anselmo e Rafael, DJ Sany Pitbull, DJ Daniel das Micaretas, Gui Boratto, DJ Rodrigo Loyolla, DJ Dri.k and Marie Bouret) and all you can eat and drink included in the ticket price. The firework displays from Copacabana, Praia do Flamengo and Niterói (see below) can be viewed from the museum with tickets going for R$250.
The Jockey Club on Praça Santos Dumont in Gávea will also host a private event, “Rio Réveillon 2012″. Monobloco, Banda Groove Box and Dj Kabul will perform with ticket options starting at around R$400 per person.
For a different New Year’s Eve experience some take a short ferry ride from Centro’s Praça XV to small island named Ilha de Paquetá located in Guanabara Bay. Fireworks can be viewed from the island and admission is free. The samba school Inocentes de Belford Roxo, this year’s new addition to Carnival’s Grupo Especial (Special Group) will be performing.
Traveling all the way across the bay to Niterói, the city’s neighborhood of Icarai has its own twenty minute fireworks display that yearly draws a large crowd. An estimated 500,000 spectators are expected to attend this year’s show.
Back in Rio in the city’s Zona Norte (North Zone) in the neighborhood of Penha, party-goers can attend a free show including a performance by the drum section from the samba school Imperatriz Leopoldinense and live music from Toda Hora and Celebrare. At midnight fireworks will be launched from the top of Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Penha lighting up the famous church.
Not to be left out is Rio’s Zona Oeste, (West Zone) which also hosts a Réveillon fireworks display that can be viewed free from Barra da Tijuca’s Praça do Ó. There will also be live entertainment including music from Farofa Carioca, Biquini Cavadão and Mumuzinho.
“I went to a private Réveillon party in Barra da Tijuca once,” says says Rio resident Andie Santos. “I went to the sand to watch fireworks and then went back into the air conditioned party which had everything you could possibly eat and drink. It was a the best of both worlds.”
“I love Réveillon at Copacabana but sometimes the crowd is just too much,” says Santos. “Some years I like to watch the fireworks from rooftop parties instead.”
For more information about the many events taking place on New Year’s Eve in Rio see here.