The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is the largest festival in Brazil. It’s the ultimate annual party that takes over the city for five days straight. The festivities comprise two parts. First, the Sambadromo, or the official stage for the parades, while the other is the Blocos de Carnival – the informal parties on the streets. Your first time at a carnival can be fun and also overwhelming. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make the most of your time at Rio’s legendary Carnival.
Plan it Out
Carnival is all about partying, yes. But planning can be the difference between being completely overwhelmed and enjoying festivities to the maximum. The Sambadromo is where the fun parades are. Check if pickups and drop-offs are included in your price ticket since it will save you the hassle of getting there.
Find Your Bloco
Attending a particular street party or block in the city? Figure out how to get there since many roads remain shut during Carnival. Additionally, select ones that seem more your groove. Some bloco such as Cordão do Bola Preta, are massive with crowds of around 1 million people. If that doesn’t sound like you, opt for low-key blocos like Carmelitas and Suvaco do Cristo. If all else fails, join in the nearest street party and see where that takes you!
Dress Up and Show Up
If there’s one time to be at your fabulous best, it’s during Carnival! Go all out, and we don’t mean in cocktail outfits. Think elaborate costumes in sequins, feathers, or masks. The more outlandish, the better! But do remember that it gets hot and sweaty out there. The dress must dazzle, of course. But we would still recommend wearing shoes that are both beautiful and comfortable to walk in.
Take Care of Your Belongings
Don’t carry too many things with you out on the streets. You’ll need a little cash, your passport copy, the number of your hotel, and emergency contacts. Many choose to carry their phones or a small camera. If you’re planning to do the same, keep these items close to your body in a money belt. They can easily get nicked in the crowd.
Eat Well, Stay Hydrated
Carnival is an experience. Most people describe it as a five-day marathon in the sweltering Brazilian sun. Go easy on the Caipirinhas. Brazil’s national drink is deceptively sweet but is known to hit hard later. Remember to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration or exhaustion, especially if you’re drinking alcohol. While you’re at it, wear a hat and load up on sunscreen. All the dancing and walking around can take a toll on your body. Avoid junk food bingeing and eat healthy meals at regular times. The fresh juices, fruit, and acai in Rio are absolute treats!
Find a Group
Carnival is more fun with other like-minded people. Sharing experiences is one of the best parts of traveling. And at the Carnival, these experiences are magnified a hundred times over – singing and dancing together, walking through festive streets. Traveling in groups is also better in case of emergencies or safety concerns.