The most important thing to know about Carnival is that during this time of year, anything and everything could happen – and it most often does! It’s a crazy time of year, a time when people let their hair down, throw their inhibitions out the window and do things that they maybe wouldn’t normally do! Anything and everything goes and there are very few rules… BUT, you might want to take note of a few things:
– Make sure you book your flights and accommodation well in advance and expect it to be expensive! Most hotels, pousadas and hostels will only sell packages with a minimum of 5, 6 or 7 night blocks during the Carnival week (the same goes for New Year’s week as well).
– Carnival is known to be the time when most muggings and assaults take place in Brazil. It’s recommended not to wear or take out with you anything of value (both of sentimental or monetary) as there is a good chance it will be stolen from you – this being during broad daylight or during the night. Only take the money you need for the night’s festivities and try to hide it somewhere that no-one would think to look – bras, underwear, shoes, etc!
– Be prepared for rain in Rio!!! Carnival falls during Brazilian summer which is the rainy season in Rio, whereas it’s the dry season in Bahia where Salvador is. Even though it could still rain in Salvador, it’s more likely to rain in Rio – so bring your ponchos!
– Be ready for HEAT! Rain or no rain, it is guaranteed to be hot and humid in both Rio and Salvador for the full duration of Carnival, therefore make sure you bring with you clothes which breathe. As a matter of fact, the least amount of clothes you have on the better!
– Bring comfortable and practical foot-wear. Being in Brazil you’ll of course be able to buy havianna flip-flops very easily, but you might also want to bring some closed-in shoes from home if you don’t like being trampled on by crowds. Something like Dunlop Volley’s, tennis shoes, Converse or an old pair of sneakers would be perfect!
– If you’re worried about your camera being damaged or stolen, consider bringing a disposable camera or two from back home. Disposable cameras can be purchased in Brazil but at this time of year they are ‘hot property’ and may be difficult (or expensive!) to find. Best to be prepared in advance.