When the crowds and bright lights of Copacabana or the door tax of the chic all-inclusive parties all get a bit overwhelming on New Year’s Eve, take heart. There are more events than ever for the discerning partygoer who fancies heading away from Zona Sul and saying hello to 2013 in a more unusual setting.
Piscinão de Ramos
If you like your parties a little more on the raw side, the artificial beach/lake/pool at Ramos (pictured above) in the north of Rio will be devoting itself almost entirely to funk carioca for the night. Acts to shake your booty to until the sun comes up include MC K9, XXX-rated funk carioca dance troupe Jaula das Gostosudas and MC Koringa. The drummers from Grande Rio will also be beating in the rhythm of the new year, providing a welcome break from all that bass. Admission free. Starts 7.30pm. Avenida Guanabara (off Avenida Brasil, before the International airport), Ramos.
Alto Vidigal + Rio 180
With their Vidigal home temporarily off-limits in unsavoury circumstances, the Alto Vidigal boys and Pedro Piu have teamed up with the beautiful Rio 180 hotel for what looks a lot like an Ibiza villa party. Sambuca Jam Session headline with their combination of commercial-edged house and live instrumentation, so expect bongo'd-up versions of classics and some flute and sax thrown in for good measure, before Piu toughens things up a bit as the night wears on. Beer, caipirinhas and food are all thrown into the price too, so head uphill for a refreshingly independent take on NYE. Admission R$150-$300. Starts 9.30pm. Rua Dr. Júlio Otoni 254, Santa Teresa
The striking Igreja da Penha will be lit up with fireworks at midnight, a breathtaking sight from miles around thanks to the church’s lofty hilltop position in Vila Cruzeiro. A stage at Praça IAPI hosts the drum troupe from nearby samba school Imperatriz Leopoldinense and music acts including Toda Hora and Celebrare provide the build-up from 8pm. This year's party builds on last year's success (pictured above), in an area previously neglected by the authorities and considered a no-go for tourists but has since been largely pacified. Take a taxi from Inhaúma Metrô station. Admission Free. Starts 8pm. Largo da Penha 19, Penha.
Ilha de Paquetá
The small island a short ferry ride away from Centro's Praça XV offers something rather more refined in its own bygone-age way. Lap up the sounds of samba from Carnival's Grupo Especial newcomers Inocentes de Belford Roxo and Grupo Nascente, and marvel at the fireworks cracking off all around Guanabara Bay. Admission free. Starts 7pm. Rua da Moreninha, Ilha de Paquetá.