Carnaval 2022

It is “Parabéns” to Acadêmicos do Grande Rio from Duque de Caxias in Rio de Janeiro, that are finally the champions of Rio’s carnival scoring 269.9 points out of a possible 270.

Grande Rio had just missed out in 2020′ and on three other occasions. Beija-Flor came second with 269.6; and Viradouro, champions in 2020, third with 269.4.

Full results were of Rio’s Carnival Parade in 2022 were:

  1. Grande Rio (269.6 out of 270) 
  2. Beija-Flor (269.4)
  3. Viradouro (269.4)
  4. Vila Isabel (269.2)
  5. Portela (269.1) 
  6. Salgueiro (268.3) 
  7. Mangueira (268.2) 
  8. Mocidade (268.2)
  9. Unidos da Tijuca (267.8)
  10. Imperatriz Leopoldinense (266,7) 
  11. Paraíso do Tuiuti (266.4) 
  12. Sao Clemente (263.7)

You can see phots of the parade from DAY ONE and DAY TWO at Critical Divide’s “Rio: The Guide”.

It is also congratulations to Império Serrano, one of Rio’s most traditional schools that has been parading since  1948, that has been promoted from Grupo Série Ouro, or the Grupo de Acesso, and will parade with the other 11 top schools in Rio in the Groupo Especial in 2023. São Clemente has been relegated in their place.

The next parades are scheduled for Sunday, 19 February and Monday, 20 February 2023.

Despite only coming 7th this year, Estação Primeira de Mangueira continues to be the top ranked samba school in Rio de Janeiro based on the results of the last five parades.
The top 12 ranked samba schools in Rio are now:
  1. Mangueira (62 points)
  2. Portela (60)
  3. Salgueiro (48)
  4. Mocidade (36)
  5. Beija-Flor (49)
  6. Viradouro (27)
  7. Grande Rio (34)
  8. Unidos da Tijuca (25)
  9. Vila Isabel (28)
  10. Paraíso do Tuiuti (18)
  11. Imperatriz Leopoldinense (14)
  12. União da Ilha do Governador (5)
  13. São Clemente (4)
Since 1985, and the first parade along the purpose built Sambódromo, 31 schools have paraded in the Grupo Especial.
Based on all those parades G.R.E.S Beija-Flor de Nilópolis, who came second this year, remain the top school and by a healthy margin.
The top ten samba schools in Rio since 1985 are:
  1. Beija-Flor (493 points)
  2. Salgueiro (346)
  3. Mangueira (320)
  4. Imperatriz Leopoldinense (316)
  5. Mocidade (280)
  6. Portela (237)
  7. Unidos da Tijuca (204)
  8. Vila Isabel (186)
  9. Grande Rio (195)
  10. Viradouro (186)

A Decade of “Brazil the Guide”

10 years ago in April 2012 we launched a labour of love, www.braziltheguide.com, which was followed two years later – in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup – by the much more complete www.riotheguide.com

The reason we launched the sites was that we were and still do get consulted about Rio and Brazil on a weekly basis and this seemed an easier way of telling people where to find the information and share it. We were also often asked when we would update “The Insider’s Guide to Rio de Janeiro”, last published in print form in 1995, and the web sites seemed the obvious answer. #brazil #riodejaneiro

Ronnie Biggs’ Rio: No One is Innocent: Documentary

Business Doc Europe’s coverage of our Ronald Biggs documentary “Ronnie Biggs’ Rio: No One is Innocent” that we are currently making with TvZero and Canal Brasil for broadcast in 2023, the 60th anniversary of the “Great Train Robbery”.

Read Here

Critical Divide features Mangueira for 2021


The Critical Divide calendar for 2021 features Estação Primeira de Mangueira’s parade at Rio’s carnival on 24 February 2020.

Sadly our On Parade with Mangueira: Carnival in Rio project will now have to wait until 2022 as it needs a proper full-blown Rio carnival to work, and that won’t now happen in 2021, although there may be parade of the top samba schools in July.

If that parade takes place, Mangueira samba will be “Angenor, José & Laurindo”, which refers to three of the school’s most iconic figures, the great composer, Cartola, (Angenor de Oliveira); the singer, Jamelão (José Bispo Clementino dos Santos); and the dance master or mestre-sala, Delegado (Hélio Laurindo da Silva).

2021 marks the centenary of the birth of Mestre Delegado who performed for the school from 1948 through to 1984, when he retired as the Mestre-Sala after Mangueira had won the Super-Championship to mark the first year of the Sambódromo. In that period Delegado had always scored a maximum 10 for his presentation.

Hopefully good things come to those that wait, but until then you can keep up to date on carnival and Rio at www.riotheguide.com.

Flying Down to Rio with British United



A blast from the past when British United flew between the UK and Brazil.

British United took over BOAC’s South American routes to Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay on 5 November 1964. Those routes, flying VC10s via Madrid, Lisbon, Las Palmas or Freetown, became profitable for United by late-1968. In November 1970, the airline was sold and merged into Caledonian to form British Caledonian that continued to fly to South America, replacing the VC10s with Boeing 707s in 1972, which allowed for a non-stop service between London Gatwick and Rio.

British Airways took over the routes from British Caledonian in 1985.

Brazil – COVID-19 – Carnival 2021

As in many countries, COVID-19 has had a major and disruptive impact on life in Brazil and in Rio de Janeiro.

Given the size of the population, and the country, Brazil has had one of the highest number of COVID cases and deaths in the world after the US, and access to and around the country has been restricted. As a result a number of hotels, restaurants, bars, stores, attractions, and even beaches, have been closed or offer limit access. So please check before you plan a visit to Brazil or Rio for leisure purposes. We are trying to update our sites at Rio: The Guide and Brazil: The Guide just as soon as it is clear which businesses have re-opened and survived.

It also looks as if there will be major disruption to Rio’s carnival in 2021 with few or none of the major parades and group activities taking place.  If you want to truly experience carnival in Rio, or any other part of Brazil, you will be better to wait until 2022. 

Wallpaper Magazine picks two from Brazil amongst world top eight urban hotels

Brazil is home to two of the eight hotels chosen by Wallpaper* magazine from a short list of 37 as the best urban hotels in the world for 2019.

The chosen hotels in Brazil, the only in Latin America, are the Janeiro hotel in Rio, which fills the building on the beachfront in Leblon that many will remember as the Marina Rio, and the B Hotel in Brasilia.

The other hotels listed by Wallpaper were The Jaffa in Tel Aviv; Trunk House in Tokyo; Soho House in Mumbai; Rosewood in Hong Kong; Raffles in Singapore; and The August in Antwerp.

As Wallpaper noted: “These destination hotels demonstrate flexibility in a brave and competitive new world.  There’s never been a more exciting time to check in.”

Full story in the December edition of Wallpaper. Click Here

TV Globo expands studio complex in Rio

Brazil’s largest media group, Grupo Globo, has inaugurated three new studios and an expanded backlot to make Estúdios Globo in Jacarepagua in Rio de Janeiro the largest TV production centre in Latin America.

Between them the three new wireless studios cover an area equivalent to four football pitches. In total the complex now has thirteen studios, including two for shows involving an audience.

The first production to use the new facility in October will be the TV Globo novela “Amor de Mãe”, written by Manuela Dias and directed by José Luiz Villamarim.

Mangueira is 2019 Champion of Rio’s Carnival

Estação Primeira de Mangueira is the champion of Rio’s top samba schools for the 20th time in its illustrious history after scoring a perfect total of 270 in 2019. Second, with 269.7 points, was Viraduro which has only just returned to the elite competition.

The results of Rio’s Carnival Parade in 2019 were:

  • Mangueira (270 points out of 270)
  • Viraduro (269.7)
  • Vila Isabel (269.4)
  • Salgueiro (269.3)
  • Portela (269.3)
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (269.0)
  • Unidos da Tijuca (268.8)
  • Paraíso do Tuiuti (268.5)
  • Grande Rio (267.9)
  • União da Ilha (267.7)
  • Beija-Flor (267.6)
  • São Clemente (267.4)
  • Imperatriz Leopoldinense (266,6)
  • Imperio Serrano (263.8)

You can read and learn more about Rio’s carnival on Critical Divide’s Rio: The Guide.

Photos courtesy of RioTur – the city of Rio Tourist Authority.