When February arrives, there is a buzz throughout Brazil as the time for Carnaval quickly approaches. This is a time of year when people loosen their laces, rules become more like suggestions and things get wild! The actual event of Carnaval is chaotic, vivacious and overwhelming, so it’s best to feel nice and secure with all of your accommodations, belongings and costumes squared away before hand. Check out these ten tips on how to get ready for Carnaval!
Book all transportation and accommodations as far in advance as possible because not only will hotels get full and flight tickets sell out, but they are sure to be increasingly expensive the closer you get to the date. Hotels and pousadas, which are small hotels similar to a bed and breakfast establishment, will usually, only accept a minimum of 5-7 nights during this time period.
Protect Your Valuables
The numbers of pick pockets, muggings and assaults increases during this chaotic party, so keep your wits about you and manage your valuable responsibly. If you cherish it, you may not want to bring it to Carnaval as the chances that someone will attempt to steal it are likely. With money and important cards, hide them away in a discreet location like your shoes or underwear.
Brazil’s location in the southern hemisphere means that summer occurs opposite to that of the North, so summer is in full swing by February. However, summer means rain in Rio, which is where one of the most renowned celebrations happens. If you plan to go to Rio, skip the umbrellas and mountaineering rain jackets, and just bring along a light poncho to keep you dry. Anything more than a poncho is likely to cause you to overheat!
Whether you’re drowned in rain or drenched in sweat, you will be wet one way or another. The humid heat of Brazil will test your clothing choices, so make sure to wear breathable pieces that allow to store your valuables safely and comfortably. Many people prefer to cut corners and wear as few clothes as possible.
As popular as Havaianas flip flops are in Brazil, you’ll see people making the practical choice when it comes to footwear at Carnaval. Close toed shoes will protect you from stomping samba dancers and clambering tourists and usually offer you more support to help sustain the countless hours of being on your feet.
The vibrant spectacle that will be the feathers, masks, colors and more at Carnaval absolutely warrants photography, but what about your camera’s wellbeing? If you are too concerned with it being damaged or stolen, bring a few disposable cameras from home. If you think they will be cheaper in Brazil, think again because disposable cameras are a hot commodity as others share the same mindset about protecting their cameras but reserving memories as you do.
Get ready to get funky! There are no limits when it comes to what you wear (or don’t wear) at Carnaval. Bring some of your craziest outfits from home so that you know you’ll have something great to wear each day. You can also buy additional fancy Carnaval costume additions during the event. Just be prepared that some people might not be wearing anything besides paint, which can be a good thing when you either forgot to bring or can’t find a costume.
With all of the scantily clad bodies, live dance music and a few drinks, there is bound to be some bodily contact that could lead to other happenings. Brazilians can be forth coming with attention so you can expect to get hit on at least a hundred times during the festival. A game that many people play during Carnaval is “how many people can you kiss in one night” which has no further intentions than gathering kisses for the winning score. They will walk up to complete strangers and pop a kiss on their lips before they even know what’s going on. If you are not as keen on this level of physical contact, refrain from making eye contact as this is the acceptance of an invitation for ‘more’.
Carnaval is like a festival on steroids, but that doesn’t mean you need to be on drugs. Avoid taking any drugs, especially from strangers, as you could put yourself in a dangerously vulnerable position where your belongings and self may be at risk. Several dealers will approach you in the street with unknown combinations of drugs like MDMA, cocaine and Ecstacy, but if you keep your wits about you, you can have a great time without sketchy substances!
Heading to Carnaval in Brazil is the opportunity of a lifetime- so make sure that once you square away all of the previously mentioned preparations, be present in your experience at Carnaval! These are some of the biggest celebrations in the world, so be a part of the energy and rage!