New Year’s Eve on Copacabana Beach, Rio

The most important thing you need to know if you are planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Rio is to wear white, head to toe white even better.

Somehow my group of 3 had failed to read this in any travel guide, tourist brochure or hotel info, the only hint I had that something was amiss was getting in the lift at the hotel and eavesdropping on 3 guys chatting, 2 Australians and an American, the Aussies were on their way out, decked in white and they were asking the American if he was wearing white as he was still in his bathers and he was like “absolutely, wouldn’t be caught dead in anything else!” They were all gorgeous and gay so I thought it must have been a gay thing to wear white so I stuck to my plan and dressed in my bright blue sundress and Haviainas, as we were heading, as everyone in Rio does, to Copacabana Beach.

Emerging from the lift into the foyer of our hotel we realised it was a not a gay thing at all but a Rio thing to wear white, we went and checked with the concierge who explained that wearing white on New Year’s Eve or Reveillon as the locals say, is good luck for the New Year.

Who doesn’t want good luck so back to our room for a outfit change, having nothing white myself as it is one of those colours that I don’t wear well I had to borrow. Feeling far less glamorous in my borrowed white outfit, one of us actually resorting to the freeby hotel New Year’s Eve tshirt we headed out again.

It was about 9.30pm and it had been raining on and off all day but the skies had cleared which was lucky because in Rio, the locals party outside. Massive stages had been erected along Copacabana beach for the night’s entertainment and a spectacular fireworks display was scheduled.

Our cab driver charged us 5 times the amount to get to the beach because it was New Year’s Eve and we were going at peak time. The first thing you notice is the number of people, Rio has a city population of 6 million approx, and it felt like 6 million people at the beach, in actual fact it was only 2.5mil people approx. We were dropped off a few streets from the beach and we walked with the crowds, taking over the streets.

Friends, families, kids, grandparents, everyone spends New Year’s Eve on the beach. We started with sitting on our Rio purchased sarongs, picnic style, but as we got closer to midnight, the crowds swelled so we were standing. Copacabana Beach is 4km long and a very wide, perfectly level beach with an adjoining promenade, but it is amazing that it has the capacity to hold so many people.

There are bars set up along the beach, entertainment includes famous Brazilian singers, musicians and dancers.

Compared to revellers in Sydney on New Year’s Eve, Cariocoas (Rio residents) are a relaxed crowd, there was none of the drunk behaviour you would see on our streets where we largely have no alcohol zones due to anti social behaviour. There were plenty of children, families and grandparents amongst the crowd and I probably felt safer than in a similar situation in Sydney.

The culmination of the night, the 30 minute fireworks display was spectacular and watched not just by us on the beach but by the passengers on the never ending line of cruiseships that seemed to appear from nowhere an hour before midnight. It created a spectacular backdrop of lights for us sitting on the beach.

I will never forget New Year’s Eve 2010, it was one of those once in a lifetime experiences that I shared with 2.5mil people!

My recommendation if you are thinking of going to Rio for this celebration, try and incorporate a brightly coloured accessory into your outfit as trying to find someone amongst a such a huge crowd of white is tough!


If you enjoyed reading this article, help let the world know about it by sharing it on your favourite social networking site



Loved images 10 and 14. They are the best.
Local knowledge again saves you again.. Wear purple in Florence when their football team is playing, wear white in Rio on NY Eve. Entertaining report.

Say Something