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Over the past week, the media has blasted us with captivating images of Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities celebrating Carnivale with lavish costumes, scantily clad women (and men) and huge crowds of spectators. Although best known for these pre-Lent festivities, Rio is a magical city to visit at any time of the year and in my opinion, to see the real Rio, you'd be far better off visiting during a quieter period. The first advantage is that the cost will almost definitely be lower (ever if you go during high season which lasts until March), especially for hotels and packaged vacations. Secondly, you won't have to share the city the millions of extra tourists and most importantly, you'll get to experience the city more like the Cariocas (local inhabitants of Rio) do. The weather is gorgeous in Rio for up to nine months of the year and even if you travel in winter (June, July and August), the climate is relatively mild and inviting.

So rather than dreaming of spending next Carnivale in Brazil (and having to book and pay way in advance), consider traveling to Brazil sooner and enjoy the savings.

Go-Today (tel. 800/227-3235; www.go-today.com), the purveyors of discounted package deals to almost everywhere is offering a Rio de Janeiro Supersaver package which is priced from $849 per person based on double occupancy, plus taxes. Travel is valid from March 1 to 13, March 24 to 31 and April 1 to June 26, 2008 but the purchase deadline for this price is February 14, 2008. The package includes round-trip morning flight from either Miami or New York to Rio de Janeiro, airline fuel surcharges, round-trip airport transfers, five nights' accommodations at the Savoy Othon Hotel, breakfast daily plus all hotel taxes and service charges.

Dumonde Travel's (tel. 800/399-6186; www.traveldm.com) Rio Superior package is valid for travel until June 26 or from August 5 to December 9, 2008. Priced from $635 per person plus taxes of approximately $88, it includes round-trip airfare from Miami to Rio flying TAM Airlines, airport transfers, five nights' accommodations at the four-star Copacabana Praia Hotel, a half-day Corcovado tour and breakfast daily. For triple occupancy the price is further reduced to $610 per person.

BR Online Travel (tel. 888/527-2745; www.brol.com) has a four-night, land-only package priced from only $215 per person based on double occupancy. It includes round-trip airport transfers, four night's accommodations at the Bandeirantes Hotel, breakfast daily, hotel taxes and a Corcovado Mountain tour to see the famed Christ the Redeemer statue. The same package is priced from $303 when staying at the two-star Atlantico Copacabana. Valid for travel from March 1 through June 27, 2008.

The six-night deal includes round-trip day flight on TAM Brazilian Airlines from Miami (Monday through Wednesday departures), airport transfers, six nights' accommodations at the Lancaster Hotel including breakfast, hotel taxes and tour to Christ the Redeemer. Travel through Jun 27,2008. This package is priced from $788 or $845 from Miami. Taxes are additional. A six-night Rio and Salvador trip with the same travel dates includes round-trip day flight on TAM Brazilian Airlines from Miami (Monday through Wednesday departures), airport transfers, domestic flight from Rio to Salvador, three nights' accommodations at the Lancaster Hotel in Rio and three at the Bahia Othon Palace Hotel in Salvador, breakfast daily, hotel taxes. The package is priced from $849 from Miami and $952 from New York. Airport taxes, fees, security fees and optional tours are additional.

Brazilian Wave Tours (tel. 800/682-3315; www.brazilianwavetours.com) provides a combination of discounted airfares, accommodation, packages and tours to Brazil. They are currently advertising super low peak season fares starting at $487 plus tax for round-trip flights fro New York to Rio or Sao Paolo. The bets part is that this price is for departures from February 20 to March 8, 2008 -- so get a visa quickly and pack your bags. Their New York Rio Special package is also for travel from February 20 to March 8, 2008. It includes round-trip flights from New York to Rio, airport transfers, five nights' accommodations in three or four-star hotels (Oceano Copacabana, Atlantico Copacabana or Luxor Regente Hotel), a day tour to Corcovado including lunch with an English speaking guide, a dinner and samba show, breakfast daily and hotel taxes. The package is priced at $1,092 per person based on double occupancy.

Other discounted flights currently available through Brazilian Wave for travel from February 20 to March 8, 2008 include:

  • Miami to Salvador $532
  • Miami to Rio $547
  • Boston to Rio $722
  • Los Angeles to Rio $735
  • Detroit to Rio $812
  • Dallas to Rio $851
  • Atlanta to Sao Paolo $904

Taxes are additional.

Talk with other Frommers.com global travelers on our Brazil Message Boards today.