Carnival season is underway in Brazil where the authorities are keen to put on a safe and impressive show before hosting the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics in 2016.
The “blocos” or neighbourhood carnival groups from the city suburbs set the tone in advance of the official samba parades.
Up to three quarters of a million visitors are expected in Rio de Janeiro alone.
Diogo Lara, from Portugal said: “Street carnival here is very special. There is no comparison. I am already in love with this place. I am not from here. I came here and now I can’t leave.”
Another Portuguese tourist, Marcia Rodrigues said, as she danced in the street: “This is the people’s joy. It’s Rio carnival – everybody loves it. Everybody enjoys it. This is the life. Joy, joy.”
British reveller Steve Coulter said: “It is unbelievable. Everyone is having such a great time dancing in the street, drinking, talking. Everyone is making great friends with each other. Brilliant.”
More than 400 bands are expected to parade through Rio’s streets before the celebrations come to an end on February 17.