Excitement builds in Rio as carnival approaches

The final touches are added to the Sambadrome before tourists and revellers flock to the stadium and the streets for carnival.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (FEBRUARY 10, 2015) (REUTERS) – Rio de Janeiro is hotting up for the world famous carnival which kicks off at the end of the week, when extravagant parades will stride down the Sambadrome stadium, and street parties will get the city jumping.

Just before the parades each year, the 700-metre walk way of the stadium is painted white, whilst the stands are given a new lease of life for the arrival of its 72,500-strong audience.

For Roberto Rodrigues, working on the preparations of the stadium is a way to share in the enjoyment of the run up to the event.

“It’s like nothing else really, as we take part in the public’s anticipation of the event, we see everything that comes before it, all the party preparations, the exclusive boxes, the public, we see all of this,” Rodrigues told Reuters on Tuesday (February 10).

Soaking up some Vitamin D in the Copacabana sun before the party season, South-African tourist James Stevens is looking forward to celebrations.

“It’s our first time here so we expect to have a great time and just to enjoy ourselves. Like I said everything is already planned and booked to just to have a great time, that’s the best or the most expectation we have,” Stevens said.

Some tourists are escaping the crowds, however, such as Scottish tourist, Maxine Anderson, who has been enjoying the city’s calm before the storm.

“This is a very beautiful place, much more beautiful than I thought it was going to be. Unfortunately we won’t be here for carnival because we are moving on to Iguazu Falls and to Buenos Aires, so it is a bit of a disappointment we won’t see the carnival, but maybe we’ve seen Rio at its best,” Anderson said.

Carnival officially begins on Friday, February 13, and runs until Tuesday, February 17, though street parties have already begun throughout the city.