RIO’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – CARNIVAL EDITION
1- Uruguaiana-Saara: carnival’s paradise
If you are looking for costumes (from the most elaborate to just regular carnival paraphernalia), here is the place! Not only by the variety of the wackiest items you can find, but also by the price that is always very cheap. Incidentally, sellers are usually quite open to bargaining, especially if you’re buying a lot of things. So don’t feel ashamed to bargain!
2 – Did I say water? WATEEEER!!
Carnival always happens in the middle of Rio’s summer, so it’s impossible to escape the heat and sun of 40 degrees. Although beer is the main protagonist of the party, don’t forget to drink lots of water! If you hydrate well, you will enjoy the party to the fullest through the streets of Rio.
3 – Everybody’s free advice: sunscreen!
The tip is valid for the whole summer, but especially for the carnival. If there’s one thing that nobody wants to catch at the biggest popular party in the world, it’s sunstroke, right? Another thing: try to not get heavy costumes (Batman black cap isn’t the best idea, take notice) and always prefer cool clothes.
4 – Last but not least (on the protection department)…
Carnival since its origins is considered the party of the flesh. It was considered the last period before Catholic Lent that one could eat meat, followed subsequently by strict fasting and abstinence from food of animal origin. #OurBlogIsAlsoCulture. But all this prologue is primarily to say that carnival also became synonymous with flesh festival in the figurative sense, so don’t be silly and use condoms!
5 – Money belt (or a funny pack): adding value and smartness to your fantasy
That tip that we already gave in the last Survivor’s Guide about the beach is worth double in the carnival: only go out to the blocks with essential items and little money. Jewelry, cell phones, watches and things of value? Nopes. Passport? Leave the original and take a copy with you. The best way to keep your money safe and secure is by carrying a money belt.
6 – Remember: it’s carnival!
The city will be crowded with tourists, several streets blocked for the parade of blocks, so having patience is fundamental. And mentally prepare to go through some “perrengues” (it’s a Brazilian slang that means go to a fair amount of trouble to accomplish something) as well. That’s why it’s important to go full carnival mode, carry the glitter, the confetti and the serpentine and have tons of fun!
7 – R-e-s-p-e-c-t!
Flirting is a super part of the carnival experience. You’ll meet a lot of beautiful girls and handsome guys, so falling in love really hard or just for 30 seconds is as present as the glitter that will stick glued to your body even after 20 baths. In the carnival, people feel more free to love, escape from social ties and enjoy a moment of happiness without remembering everyday problems. So, please don’t play out of the samba tune with demonstrations of homophobia, racism and especially sexual harassment. It is always good to remember that no is no!
8 – “Are you in the mood to pee?! Don’t do it here, don’t do it here! “
The city of Rio has a municipal law that is usually heavily applied at this time of year, so be careful: throwing garbage or pee on the streets is subject to a trip to the police station and payment of a fine. To give you an idea, in the last Carnival, more than 2,000 people were fined for committing one of this two infractions. The fine for peeing on the street is R$ 510. For those who throw trash on the floor, fines range from R$ 115 to R$ 3,693, depending on the infraction.
9 – Mobile Apps and the carnival magic
It’s a great way to get your blocks schedule ready. Smartphone applications such as CarnaBloco and Carnaval O Globo reveal times and routes of all blocks registered in the official listing of the city of Rio. But be aware that the times can sometimes be changed without any great warning, which makes the next tip fundamental.
10 – The Carioca’s Customer Service
Which block should I go? What kind of music it’s played on it? It’s super crowded? The best way to find out more about the blocks is to make friends with the locals and ask them a lot of questions: which is a very simple task. What will not be missing is people wanting to tell you about some remarkable carnaval experience and explain exactly the amount of people, paths and type of music each block has on it.
11 – Spontaneity rules
Some carnival blocks don’t belong on the official list of Rio’s City Hall. They’re called by some people as illegal blocks, but most people here prefer to call them alternative or secret blocks. One of the reasons for the secret, besides avoiding the supervision of the local authorities, is to keep the atmosphere of the block more intimate, since the amount of people who will know about it is small. These blocks tend to make surreal journeys, such as crossing Santos Dumont airport from end to end, and are a lot of fun. So the previous tip is also worth here: always ask the locals.
12 – Samba School of the Subway … A+!
With many streets closed, the traffic of the city is even more chaotic and, in addition, as the demand for taxis and Uber is very large, the rates charged for each race will be very high. The solution to this is to use and abuse of the metro: you can get in and out of virtually all of the city’s most famous blocks via the subway. Is it full? Yes, certainly. But it’s by far the fastest and most efficient way to get to the blocks. Oh, and to get out of the blocks too: the city subway runs 24 hours during the carnival holiday.