With more than 500 parties taking place across the city before and after Carnival weekend, the
merriment - or folia - will bring Rio to a standstill.
Blocos, sometimes called bandas, are the free street parties that take place around Carnival throughout the city. They are centered on a band, which either parades a pre-determined route through the streets on a sound truck, or remains at a fixed location.
They vary in all aspects, from drawing a few hundred spectators to a million, from 7am starts to sunset parties weaving along Ipanema beach. Some are associated with a neighbourhood restaurant or bar, others with a celebrity or a district. Many have a revered history based on traditional samba, while the more recent blocos have been inspired by more contemporary music like the Beatles-themed Bloco do Sargento Pimenta or the '80s and '90s samba covers performed by New Kids on the Bloco.
Each bloco will have a starting point and time when people will gather before parading through the streets. Fancy dress is optional – but most people will turn up with at least a flower garland or painted face. Be prepared to get swept up in undulating crowds as hundreds or thousands follow and dance to the intoxicating drumbeat under a pulsing sun.