Also known as one of the most beautiful NYE (New Year’s Eve, also known as Reveillon) parties in the world, being in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate the arrival of a new year can be somewhat challenging, given the variety and amount of possibilities you may have.
From lavish parties at luxury hotels to all-nighters at clubs, celebrations at the beach, and even some less-crowded options just for two are only a few of the alternatives to choose from. Not to mention the notorious Copacabana celebration, which is considered the biggest fireworks show on the planet, lasting for over 30 minutes straight.
So, the Covid-19 pandemic may have thrown some cold water on the 2020 celebration, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning for a future visit, right?
There are a few things you need to know about, so I decided to compile some concise, valuable information and some ideas to make your planning easier. Get your planner ready!
Before you get to Rio
Before I go into more detail on the party options Rio can offer, this time of the year in the city can be pretty hectic, as a lot of tourists from abroad and from other parts of Brazil choose this destination interested in experiencing the carioca way of celebrating NYE.
Also, we wrote a post on all the meanings the word carioca has, so check that if you want to know more!
Not only it’s the end of the year, but also the beginning of summer in the country, so expect the streets to be more crowded than usual, as well as hotels and NYE parties.
So three magic words that can save you a lot of trouble: plan WAY ahead. Here are some pointers to consider while planning your stay:
Where to Stay in Rio during NYE?
One of the most important decisions to make is where you’ll be staying while in Rio.
My advice would be to stay close to where your NYE plans are, as a lot of streets in Copacabana are closed during this period. Also as there are some traffic changes in the closer neighborhoods such as Ipanema, Flamengo, and Leme.
So if you don’t know the city that well and are worried about getting back to the hotel after the big celebration, staying close to where your party is can buy you a lot of time and save you from ruined plains.
How to move around in Rio during NYE?
As I stated before, traffic can get a little intense around the city during the last couple of days of the year, as many tourists from other states or nearby towns drive to Rio de Janeiro, increasing the number of circulating vehicles and making traffic problematic at times.
So while planning your trip, make sure to check the distances from where you’re staying to your main points of interest, like touristic spots, for example. That way, you can plan on the best way to get to those places, and that will surely save you a lot of time. Here are some of the options:
The local subway can easily get you to most touristic spots or at least, very near them.
Depending on whether your New Year’s Eve celebration is, you can also get there by riding the subway, just be sure to buy your tickets beforehand, as they’re not available for purchase on the 31st due to the massive amount of requests.
The subway lines work 24h during the NYE celebration, being an option most locals in Rio choose to move around on the 31st of December.
Buses are also an option to get you to places, but during this time of the year, maybe not the best choice for tourists.
Aside from many bus routes being changed during this time of the year, buses are more susceptible to robberies and theft, making this a less safe way to move around the city.
Uber & Yellow Cabs
Uber and cabs are great when you don’t know the place too well as they will go straight to your desired destination without you needing to worry too much about the routes.
But be careful with this during New Year’s Eve, as not only are the fees more expensive in comparison to other times of the year, but they can also take a long time to get you where you want to go as traffic jams are a common thing in December.
Be especially mindful of some drivers who may try to charge you a predetermined fee to take you around. The prices they ask for are usually way higher than normal, so make sure they won’t trick you into overpaying.
To give you an estimate on prices, this table should be helpful:
|Category||Single Trip Fare BRL||Single Trip Fare USD|
|Uber Fare (on average)||R$40,00||$8.00|
Where should I spend NYE in Rio?
Now that we’ve got those important pointers cleared, it’s time to finally decide how you’ll actually be celebrating the new year!
There’s really a lot you can do, so I thought I’d give a variety of options for everybody, so make sure you check out the whole list.
NYE in Rio de Janeiro: Touristic Spots
Want to spend the last moments of the year while staring at the Cristo Redentor monument? You got it!
Want to party all night at the Sugarloaf? Well, you can as well! Many touristic spots host year-end celebrations, so if you’re interested, here are a few options:
Morro da Urca / Sugarloaf (Urca)
One of Rio’s most known spots, Morro da Urca is the place of one of the most disputed NYE parties in the city.
With an incredible view, top-notch musical guests, and amazing drinks and food, the Morro da Urca party has been a traditional way of celebrating in Rio for years now.
The charming cableway car ride up to the party also makes this experience all worthwhile.
Just make sure you get your tickets in advance, as locals are also very attracted to the idea of spending the last moments of the year in this very carioca spot.
- How to get there: The best option would be to take the subway to Botafogo and then taking an Uber ride to the Sugarloaf entrance.
- Average Price: From BRL 1000,00 / USD 200.00 to BRL1,700 / USD 340.00 with open bar and buffet included (prices may vary as it gets closer to the date)
- Where to Stay: Copacabana, Botafogo, Leme, Urca
The most famous staple in Rio’s NYE festivities, the beach of Copacabana turns into a massive stage for the night of December 31st. It is also the picture that is the cover of this post.
There are lots of bars, kiosks, and restaurants if you want to sit down to celebrate, with most of them requiring early reservations due to high demand.
You can also just pick a spot in the sand to stay and watch the fireworks, just make sure to arrive early as a lot of people sunbathe during the day and stay at the beach to party at night, making it very crowded.
By the way, pro tip: avoid going to the beach on January 1st, it will likely be very dirty due to the celebration and full of drunk people sleeping on the sand.
The beach gets cleaned on the 1st January, so you can enjoy it on the following days.
- How to get there: The subway is your best bet, make sure to purchase an early subway stub a few days before NYE and try to get to the beach with a few hours in advance.
- Average Price: It can be as cheap as buying street food to eating at a restaurant
- Where to Stay: Leme, Botafogo, Flamengo
Jockey Club (Lagoa)
The Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon is yet another famous spot in Rio, housing the equestrian site of Jockey Club. In a similar fashion to the Morro da Urca party, you’ll get several musical performances, an open bar, tons of delicious local food, and a lot of fun, of course.
- How to get there: Take the subway to Ipanema or Leblon and then an Uber to Jockey Club’s entrance
- Average Price: BRL 500,00 / USD 100.00 (prices may vary as it gets closer to the date)
- Where to Stay: Leme, Ipanema, Copacabana
NYE in Rio de Janeiro: Luxury Hotels
Want to start the year in an extravagant and exuberant party? Rio has several 5-star hotels hosting some pretty fabulous bashes you’ll remember for years to come.
Copacabana Palace Hotel (Copacabana)
The most famous hotel at the most famous beach in Rio – the Copacabana Palace – hosts an NYE party that is the talk of the town every year. You can opt to stay at the hotel or to attend the party, but either way, you’ll get to watch the firework show from a very privileged spot (provided you get a beachfront room, that is).
The party counts on several ambiances to please the guests, with DJs, live bands, and other musical acts to keep the party going all night.
The open bar includes the best champagne, whiskey, and drinks you can ask for, with a buffet planned by some of the best chefs in Rio.
- How to get there: Subway (Cardeal Arcoverde station is a few blocks away)
- Average Price: BRL 3.200,00 / USD 640.00 for the NYE party only, staying not included (prices may vary as it gets closer to the date)
- Where to Stay: Leme, Ipanema, Leblon
Fasano Hotel (Ipanema)
A favorite amongst various international celebrities, the Fasano Hotel hosts one of the most raging parties on NYE in Rio.
With an open view to the Arpoador beach and the Corcovado, the hotel’s design pays homage to Bossa Nova and Brazilian architecture from the ’50s and ’60s, creating a beautiful landscape to this memorable party.
- How to get there: Subway (General Osorio station)
- Average Price: BRL 2.800,00 / USD 560.00 party only, staying not included (prices may vary as it gets closer to the date)
- Where to Stay: Leme, Copacabana, Leblon
Santa Teresa Hotel (Santa Teresa)
Santa Teresa is a charming neighborhood in downtown Rio with a fantastic view of almost the whole city, so imagine breaking the new year in a place like the Santa Teresa Hotel?
Counting on an amazing buffet and the best DJs in town, the hotel’s two-day staying package also includes breakfast and a beach kit with champagne. If you prefer to go see the fireworks at the beach, they can take you to the nearest subway station on the night of December 31st as well.
- How to get there: Uber (there are no subway stations near the neighborhood)
- Average Price: BRL 4.000,00 / USD 800.00 for 2 nights (prices may vary as it gets closer to the date)
- Where to Stay: You will be staying at the hotel itself if you choose this option
NYE in Rio de Janeiro: Nightclubs
Are you a party monster? Then you’re in for a treat in Rio. If your thing is to dance the night away on the club having the best music to move you, several clubs in the city host NYE parties, here are a few examples:
The Week Rio (Downtown)
The Week is Rio’s most famous LGBTQIA+ nightclub, and also it’s biggest. It has different dance floors, locally renowned DJs, and a lot of entertainment throughout the year, so you can only imagine what a banger the NYE White Party is usually like.
The club’s forte is electronic house music, but it has three different dance floors with different styles of music, so rest assured, you won’t get bored quickly.
- How to get there: Take the subway to Downtown Rio (Central do Brasil and Presidente Vargas are the closer stations) and an Uber to the club’s entrance or just go directly by Uber or taxi
- Average Price: BRL 200,00 / USD 40.00 (prices may vary as it gets closer to the date)
- Where to Stay: Flamengo, Botafogo, Santa Teresa
Bukowski Bar (Urca)
Although the Bukowski bar itself is in Botafogo, the New Year’s Eve party takes place in Urca, a small neighborhood with a privileged view of Guanabara Bay.
This is the most rock’n’roll NYE party you’ll get in Rio, with live bands (like Brazilian rock dinosaurs Paralamas do Sucesso) alternating with DJs to make this a night to remember.
They also have an open bar and open food buffet, two dancefloors, a game room, a massage parlor, and an area for kids.
- How to get there: Take the subway to Botafogo and an Uber to the club’s entrance
- Average Price: BRL 850,00 / USD 170.00 (prices may vary as it gets closer to the date)
- Where to Stay: Flamengo, Botafogo, Santa Teresa
Bella Vista Party (Glória)
With a view to the Guanabara Bay, the Cristo Redentor monument, and the Sugarloaf, the Bella Vista is a party venue that is a pretty nice choice if you don’t want to spend a lot of money but still have an excellent time during NYE.
The place offers all the essentials, with an open bar and open food services as well as DJs and live bands playing Brazil’s best samba, funk and pagode throughout the night.
- How to get there: Take the subway to Glória and an Uber to the club’s entrance
- Average Price: BRL 250,00 / USD 50.00 (prices may vary as it gets closer to the date)
- Where to Stay: Flamengo, Botafogo, Copacabana
NYE in Rio de Janeiro: Less Crowded Options
Not a fan of big parties or big crowds? Yes, surprisingly you can find options in Rio if you want to attend a less crowded party or just enjoy some peace & quiet for reflection during the last moments of the year:
Parting from the Marina da Glória harbor at 9 PM and returning only after 3 AM, the boat rides will give you a different perspective on several places in Rio, such as the Flamengo and Botafogo beaches, Morro da Urca and the Sugarloaf as a few examples.
You’ll also be able to watch the fireworks from an entirely different point of view, making this a unique experience.
While onboard, you’ll be able to enjoy fairly small parties, as the boats usually only take up to 100 people inside. They also serve some delicious food and drinks while you forget about last year’s dancing to the sound of the DJ.
- How to get there: Take the subway to Glória and an Uber to the harbor (Marina da Glória)
- Average Price: BRL 1260,00 / USD 250.00 (prices may vary as it gets closer to the date)
- Where to Stay: Flamengo, Botafogo, Copacabana
Ilha Grande is a paradisiac island, which is about 2 hours away from Rio de Janeiro county. It attracts an increasing number of tourists throughout the whole year, and it’s a pretty laid back place.
On the night of December 31st, you can enjoy the fireworks at Abraão beach while enjoying the musical guests turning up the party or head to Palmas or Aventureiro for some quiet time.
- How to get there: Take the bus to Angra dos Reis and the boat to the island
- Average Price: BRL 250,00 / USD 50.00 (prices may vary as it gets closer to the date) (Hotel prices per night per person)
- Where to Stay: You should stay in one of the hotels available on the island
Renting an Apartment facing the beach
This is actually my favorite way to spend NYE here in Rio. If you want a small party with just your friends, maybe investing in renting a nice apartment close to the beach is your best option.
While you can rent something right in front of the Copacabana beach for convenience purposes, you can also find less expensive places in close neighborhoods like Botafogo and Flamengo and take the subway to watch the fireworks at the beach if you want.
Most locals like to start the night at the apartment, have some drinks with friends, head down to the beach to watch the fireworks at midnight, and get back to the house to continue partying. So if you like to spend NYE with close friends, this could be an excellent option for you.
- How to get there: varies according to your choice. We suggest somewhere close to the subway to easily move around the city.
- Average Price: BRL 350,00 / USD 70.00 per night (prices may vary as it gets closer to the date) on Airbnb
- Where to Stay: The choice is yours but for a truly unique experience, we suggest renting a place right in front of Copacabana beach, although it comes with a price tag.
I hope this post was able to shed some light on the many options Rio has to offer for you to have the best New Year’s Eve of your life. Just don’t forget to get your tickets beforehand if you’re thinking about attending any of the parties I mentioned above and most of all, don’t forget to have fun!
We have a few other posts that can help you in planning your trip to Rio to make sure you are fully prepared for a fantastic trip:
- Are there mosquitoes in Rio?
- Can I Go To A Casino In Rio?
- Rio: How much spending money do I need?
- Celebrating a Bday in Rio
Why do Brazilians wear white on New Year’s Eve?
It is not clear why Brazilians wear colors during the New Year’s celebration, but each color symbolizes a wish for the year to come. The white is the most traditional color and symbolizes peace.
People also choose other colors according to what you want to attract: yellow (money), pink (love), blue (prosperity), and green (hope). You can mix and match, and it is not unusual to even have underwear in colorful hues!
What are some Brazilian New Year’s Eve traditions?
Brazilians have several traditions and superstitions and the New Year’s rituals are no different. Below some of them:
- Wear colors according to what they wish for the year to come;
- All clothes worn during party need to be brand new (at the moment it turns midnight to be precise);
- We also wait for midnight to pop the champagne, not before, not after;
- Eating lentils for bringing luck;
- Skipping seven waves at sea for luck as well;
- Partying hard until dawn is also pretty traditional.