5 Safety Tips for Attending Carnival in Rio, Brazil
You’re ready to samba it up at Brazil’s largest party, but be sure to follow these tips to ensure you stay safe and out of harm’s way.
From the music, to the parties, to the atmosphere, to the parades, it’s easy to see why around two million people descend on Rio each day during Carnival. The celebration lasts a week and this year will take place from February 21 to 26, 2020.
If you’re planning to attend South America’s most famed celebration, get ready to have the time of your life. But take note, unfortunately, crime is also high during the Carnival festivities. It doesn’t mean you can’t still go and have a great time; it’s just best to be prepared and take certain safety precautions.
You won’t want to bring a lot with you every day, but you can pack everything you’ll need in a duffel and leave your valuables in the hotel or apartment safe.
Here’s how to keep yourself and your belongings safe during Rio’s Carnival so you can relax, enjoy, and party!
1. Only Carry the Absolute Essentials
Thievery is alive and well during Carnival, especially in large crowds and when tourists have their guard down. When you leave your hotel or apartment, only bring the absolute essentials that you need for the day, like a little bit of cash and an old cell phone. (You may also need to carry your passport or ID.) Leave all of your other valuables at home and don’t carry anything you wouldn’t be upset if you lose or it gets stolen.
2. Keep Your Cash Hidden
You’ll want to carry a little cash with you during the day for essentials. But be sure to keep it hidden in a neck pouch or cross body bag. If you do need to spend money, be sure to be discreet when pulling it out and keep your eye on it when you’re in a crowd of other Carnival revelers.
3. Don’t Go out Alone at Night
It’s important to stay in well lit areas with people and police around during Rio’s Carnival, especially at night. If you go out at night, stick with the locals. Ask them about where it’s safe to go and which transportation is safe to use. Women also shouldn’t go out alone, especially at night. Avoid remote areas.
4. Tell Others About your Plans
Whenever you go out, be sure to let others know what your plan is and where you plan to be throughout the day and night. You can also let them track you via an app, if you plan to keep your phone with you. Try to have a general plan of where you will be and an idea of when you will be back.
5. Stay with a Local, If Possible
If you can stay with someone local in Rio, they will be your guide to all internal knowledge about Carnival. They will know the safe areas to go and where to avoid. They also will know about all the best parties and where you can get the best deals! If you don't know anyone local, try staying in a private room on Airbnb at someone’s home. You can also sign up for tour groups.
The two core tenets of Rio Carnival safety in 2020 come down to keeping yourself safe by making careful choices, and keeping your personal essentials safe by using undercover wallets and waist bags that keep everything close to your body. Beyond that, enjoy the festivities of this once in a lifetime experience!
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By Jane Chertoff on January 15, 2020
Jane Chertoff is a freelance lifestyle writer who enjoys traveling and exploring with her Chihuahua, Cesar. Follow her adventures on Instagram.