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Best Carnival Celebrations Around the World

Rio de Janeiro

The world’s largest Carnival drew 850,000 hard-partying tourists in 2012. Imported originally by the Portuguese and later garnished with French embellishments, Rio’s Carnival took on a different flavor when the city’s poorer residents, many of them descendants of African slaves, became involved after abolition in 1888. Now the rivalries between the samba schools are the high point of the Sunday and Monday before Fat Tuesday, with the city’s main parade culminating in the Sambodromo. 

Insider Tip: You can march in costume with a samba school, if you’re in the mood to splurge ($300–$700; costs vary by group; rio-carnival.net).  

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