Gay Rio Carnaval

February 5-10, 2016
6 days from $3999*

Optional add-on available to Paraty, Brazil


Day One ~ Rio de Janeiro
Late Evening: Welcome Dinner, Cocktails.  Enjoy a sumptuous dinner as well as an open bar of caipirinhas, wine, Brazilian beer, water, soft drinks, and juices throughout the entire evening!  Mix and mingle with fellow Zoom travelers in a beautiful setting. 

Accommodations: The Ipanema Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Welcome dinner and open bar


Day Two ~ Rio de Janeiro
7A to 11A:  Included Buffet Breakfast is served in the Ipanema Plaza Hotel Opium Restaurant

Afternoon: Sugarloaf, helicopter tour, and lunch.
We will begin with a delicious Brazilian buffet lunch at a restaurant with a breathtaking view of Sugar Loaf Mountain. This afternoon we will see Rio from above while on a helicopter tour with breathtaking views of Rio’s best sites.

Accommodations: The Ipanema Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Buffet breakfast


Day Three ~ Rio de Janeiro
7A to 11A:  Included Buffet Breakfast is served in the Ipanema Plaza Hotel Opium Restaurant

6A to 6P:   Handcrafts & Art Fair of Ipanema
The official name is Feira de Artezanato de Ipanema (Handcrafts & Art Fair of Ipanema), but everybody still uses the original name, Hippy Market, reminiscent of the 70´s. Typical foods, handmade art, Brazilian leather goods, paintings, jewelry, and many more attractions are found at this weekly event. It is the perfect place to find a souvenir with local colors. Or just walk around leisurely, and enjoy the moment.  This is a short walk from the hotel, and once there, you may choose to wander on your own within the market plaza and return to the hotel (or beach) whenever you choose.  This market only takes place on Sundays.

Today's optional excursions include a favella tour and tickets to Rio's Sambadromo parade. 

Accommodations: The Ipanema Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Buffet breakfast and lunch


Day Four ~ Rio de Janeiro
7A to 10A:  Included Buffet Breakfast is served in the Ipanema Plaza Hotel Opium Restaurant

Late Morning/Early Afternoon: Carnaval Brunch, poolside
The buffet is situated in a long air-conditioned conservatory, set against the perfect blue swimming pool on one side and the sparkling green of the Atlantic Ocean on the other.  Limitless champagne is served by creaseless waiters who pour with a smile. The ten meter-long buffet awaiting the mixture of Palace guests, well-to-do Cariocas, and intrigued others is straight out of a medieval costume drama, piled high with oysters, caviar, slow-cooked lamb, salmon, hams, and cheeses. A chef dressed in pressed whites cooks pasta on demand. The desert counter is divine, boasting five types of cheesecake.  It really is all about the details.  Suggested attire:  country club casual, no jackets.

Accommodations: The Ipanema Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Buffet breakfast and food and open bar all day


Day Five ~ Rio de Janeiro
7A to 10A:  Included Buffet Breakfast is served in the Ipanema Plaza Hotel Opium Restaurant

4P (approximately):   Banda de Ipanema. There's much more to Carnaval than the Samba Parade. Street Carnivals are loads of fun, free, and happen all over the city. You are more than welcome to watch and participate.   Today the Banda de Ipanema takes Ipanema by storm, starting at around 4 PM at the Hippy Market (Praça General Osório).  The Banda of Ipanema is Rio’s most popular “neighborhood” parade, and the paraders are mostly drag-queens and others in flamboyant costumes.  They come from all parts of the country and from abroad, to make it big in Ipanema.  It was founded in 1964, and today it is listed as part of the city cultural heritage, attracting as many as fifteen thousand people! The end result is a whacky, wild, moving street celebration.  There are many police too, ensuring that the chaos is safe and well, orderly.  The easiest thing to do is to walk to the corner of Rua Farme Amoedo and Avenida Vieira Souto (the street in front of the beach).  You can’t miss it.

Today's optional excursions include tickets to our favorite dance party of the week. 

Accommodations: The Ipanema Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Buffet breakfast


Day Six ~ Rio de Janeiro
7A to 10A:  Included Buffet Breakfast is served in the Ipanema Plaza Hotel Opium Restaurant

9:30A-10A:  Paraty Travelers Only.  Check out of the Ipanema Plaza Hotel early, meet at the Ipanema Plaza Hotel Lobby, and load luggage onto bus for departure to Paraty.
10A (sharp):  Paraty Departure for the group attending the Paraty add-on.

12 Noon:  Hotel Check Out.  If you are leaving Rio today and not joining Zoom on the Paraty extension, the Ipanema Plaza Hotel will gladly store your luggage while you explore the day in Rio prior to your flight.  Please be sure to put your Zoom Luggage tags on your bags to help them identify your bags easily.  As the hotel will be sold out on this night a late check out is unlikely unless you prepay the night of January 2.  However, you are welcome to use the showers in the gym area if you wish to freshen up before your flight home.

Meals Included: Buffet breakfast


Carnaval is Rio's main event. It happens at the peak of summer, when Cariocas are at their best. Festivities attract thousands of people from all corners of the world. Carnaval, as spelled in Portuguese, is a 4-day celebration. It starts on Saturday, and ends on FatTuesday, or Mardi-Gras. Dates change every year, and Carnaval Sunday is seven weeks before Easter Sunday.   The origins of Carnaval are unclear, but most agree that it started as a pagan celebration in ancient Rome, or Greece. Carnaval balls were imported from Italy in the late nineteenth century, and had their golden era in the thirties, with legendary balls at the Copacabana Palace, and the Municipal Theater.   The Samba Parade began in the 30's - first timidly at Praça XI, and later on Av. Presidente Vargas. It found a permanent home in 1984 at the Sambodrome, in the downtown area. Today the event is broadcast to dozens of countries, and all Brazilian states. Many people think of it as the greatest show on earth.  


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Luxury Accommodations:

• Ipanema Plaza Hotel. This 4 star property is the closest hotel to the gay beach, and is truly the hot spot for the week!

Hotel Amenities:

Business Center
24 Hour Front Desk
Hairdryers Available
Room Service
Safe Deposit Box
Fitness Center
Laundry/Valet Services
AM/FM Alarm Clock Modem Lines in Room
Free Newspaper
Television with Cable

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Air: Airfare not included.

Passports: Your valid passport should have at least two blank pages and should be valid for at least six months after your planned departure from the country you are visiting.

Visas: Please note that currently US citizens must have a Brazilian Visa to enter Brazil. If you are not a US citizen, please contact your nearest Brazilian Consulate to determine your visa requirements.

While Zoom Vacations will assist when possible, please note that passport, visa, and vaccination requirements vary from country to country and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. If you are a US resident, you may click here for more information on passport, visa, and vaccination requirements for various countries.

*Land only Introductory rate, based on double occupancy. Prices are subject to change. Need a roommate? Zoom Vacations® is happy to match you with someone, at no additional charge. Or, you may pay a single supplement and go as a single.

Please read Terms and Conditions prior to booking.

Watch our Zoom Vacations® Rio Carnaval Video

Zoom Vacations®' gay group tour to Rio for Carnaval gives our travelers the most incredible experience in Rio de Janeiro. Events unique to Zoom Vacations®, plus front row seats at the Sambadromo and tickets to the best party in town make this an amazing experience one will never forget. Our upcoming trips to Rio for New Years and Carnaval promise to be equally extraordinary.

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Paraty Add-on Trip
The Colonial Jewel of Brazil

February 10-13, 2016
3 nights from $1499, including transportation*

View photos from prior trips
to Paraty

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Paraty is a small gay-friendly colonial town on the west coast between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. With beautiful beaches and undisturbed nature it also boasts over 400 years of history. It was one of the most important ports of Brazil and it's name was synonymous with cachaça. Today, it is known as one of the most gay-friendly places in Brazil, largely because of its openly gay mayor!

Paraty was one of the most important towns in Brazil during the Gold Cycle. Today Paraty is a small historic town with elegant stores and many quaint hotels and inns that receive visitors from all over the world. From Paraty, one can easily get to over 65 islands, many with private beaches, swimming coves, and charming, rustic restaurants.

Paraty (para-chee) is a popular destination for European tourists but is unknown by most Americans. The old colonial homes are white-washed, embellished with intricate colored moldings. The roads are paved with river stone and cars are not allowed on the streets in the historic center. In the evenings, jazz music spills out from yellow-lit doorways, and impeccable cuisine abounds in authentic restaurants.

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Package Highlights:

Round trip transfer by luxury motorcoach (about 3.5 hours through stunning scenery) with tons of food, drinks, movies, etc.

Fabulous Boutique Accommodations in the historic city center.

Island hopping by boat among 65 scenic islands.

A fabulous lunch on a private island.

Unique dining experience with a famous Brazilian chief using local ingredients from the Brazilian Amazon. You are invited into the private home of Yara Castro Roberts, where using local ingredients, Yara demonstrates the preparation of a typical Brazilian meal.  The experience is enhanced as guests participate and share in the preparation of this incredible culinary experience. The stories, the fun and the drink flow to make this a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Dinner, drinks, and wine included!

Optional horseback riding through the tropical rainforest, past beautiful waterfalls

Testimonials From Past Zoom Rio Vacations

All I can say about my experience with Zoom and Rio is that my friends and family are sick and tired of my stories of how wonderful everything was.  You can hear it, read it or even see pictures/video, but it will never even come close to living it...thank you for an incredible memory!

Mark, LA: Zoom Rio Vacation


Man, did I have a blast! Thanks for hanging with me and making this trip so great. I want to go again next year. I have been telling all my friends about how great Zoom Vacations® treated us and how they should take part.

Juan, Phoenix: Zoom Rio Vacation


We had a blast.  It was the best vacation I have ever taken.   I thought being in a group might be stifling or a drag-- but having 70 instant friends was awesome.  (I am very shy and find it hard to meet folks…  LOL). You do GREAT work. 


Craig, Sacramento: Zoom Rio Vacation


I sincerely want to thank you for what could possibly be the best trip of my life. I knew that I was going to like it but I never expected to be as GREAT as it was. You guys gave us the best New Years (and I'm talking also from many, many great comments that I heard from some of the other guys of our group). I'm very happy that I made the decision of going to Rio with ZOOM, and I also know that this is just the first of many vacations that I'm going to put in your hands.

Eddy, San Jose, Costa Rica: Zoom Rio Vacation


I had a wonderful time! Truly the best vacation I ever had!

Mark, Maryville, TN: Zoom Rio Vacation


I had the good fortune of meeting Joel Cabrera here in New York during PRIDE 2004 and I said that if I ever went to Brazil, which I have been dying (my hair) to do for years, that I would give him a call.  Fate stepped in and I had the best vacation ever.

Carson Kressley, New York City: Zoom Rio Vacation


Dear Joel and Bryan,

I want to thank you for a marvelous trip. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have recommended Zoom Vacations® to numerous people. I appreciate all the hard work you put into the adventure to make it one of the most pleasurable and memorable vacations I’ve ever had. I especially enjoyed all the new friends I met.

Michael, New York City: Zoom Rio Vacation


Dear Bryan and Joel,

Please receive our thanks for arranging such a wonderful trip. In addition to making new friendships and enjoying Rio de Janeiro, you helped us make our seventh anniversary a happy occasion. We hope to see you in our travels in 2005.

Alex and Matt, New York City: Zoom Rio Vacation


Dear Zoom Vacations®,

We want to thank you for a much needed and wonderful vacation in Rio. We had an amazing time! You sure do know how to put together an incredible adventure we will remember for the rest of our lives. The itinerary of events, the friendships and the amazing men made for an experience we would recommend to everyone. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Meade, Miami: Zoom Rio Vacation


At least I still have my Brazilian tan to show for the phenomenal time that you guys provided for all of us. I can't thank you guys enough for all of the amazing care and special touches you thought of to bring 2003 to a great end and to make the new year start off in the best possible way!

Will, LA: Zoom Rio Vacation


Just wanted to say thanks for putting together such a fantastic itinerary and trip to Rio. It was truly one of the best vacations I have had in several years....the weather, the activities, and the people too...a really nice group of people came together for the trip. You guys really out did (is that a word?) yourselves on the activities. I'll definitely be giving you a glowing review to anyone who asks about my experience with your travel company.

Greg, New York City: Zoom Rio Vacation


Just a quick note to let you know how much fun we had in Brazil. THANK YOU for doing such a fantastic job for us. Your planning and the choices you made were perfect, but it was the personal touches, your warmth, and the ease with which you handled each day that really made a lasting impression with us. There had to be a lot of behind-the-scenes stress that you never showed, and that is truly amazing considering the detail involved, and the high expectations of your clientele.

John and Jeff, Detroit: Zoom Rio Vacation


Dear Zoom Vacations®,

Thanks for organizing a great time in Rio. We both had a fun and relaxing time. We’re not the best tourists as we often like to do our own thing, at our own pace. But your organization allowed us to do just that, so thank you for making our Rio Adventure another great experience.

Steve and Greg, Wisconsin: Zoom Rio Vacation

Click here to read more testimonials on our testimonials page.


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