Celebrating Carnival in Brazil is on the bucket list of millions of people. The parties are all over the country, but most famously in Rio de Janeiro. Every year, the city receives over a million tourists and the festivities happen almost everywhere.

The country takes it seriously, and the Carnaval is a five-days national holiday. It doesn't matter the problems Brazilians are facing; when the drums start pounding, they dive into a non-stop celebration. For first-time travelers, it can be tricky to plan a travel to Rio de Janeiro Carnaval – Here is a list of things they should do or avoid during  Carnaval.

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Dos

Why Just Watch When You Can Join The Parade?

The Samba School parade is the highlight of Rio's Carnaval. During a few days, 70 samba schools compete to see which one of the greatest of the year – and they take it seriously. They spend the whole year preparing the parade, and each of them spends nearly $5 million on their performance.

Watching the parade from the bleachers is terrific, as the sambodromo, where the party is held, has a unique energy. Yet, it is possible to make the experience even better by being part of it. Anyone can buy a costume and join the samba schools in one of the wings (parading groups with hundreds of participants).

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Enjoy The Carnaval On Each Corner

The samba school parades are the most well-known side of Rio's Carnaval, but tourists can expect much. During Carnaval, the city is overwhelmed with blocos de Carnaval, street parties that cross the city all day and night. There are over 400 official blocos all over the city, so visitors can expect to find a party on every corner. For those who are more organized, sponsors release an app with the schedule of official street parties that year, the time they start and the number of people they are expecting for each of them.

Hundreds of thousands of people attend the most famous ones, such as Monobloco or Suvaco de Cristo. People who don't feel comfortable among massive crowds should go to less popular ones.

Go The Extra Mile With The Costumes

Brazilians are one of the most creative people in the world and Carnaval is the perfect opportunity for them to show that. Costumes inspired by memes, politics, religion, and pop culture are trendy on the streets. Of course, traditional costumes such as clowns or pirates are also there, but most people try to stand out among the crowd.

While planning a costume, it is important to remember that it is summer and street parties are overwhelmed with people, so avoid heavy customers. Wrap it up with glitter– lots of it – and creative make-up.

Figure Out The Best Way To Get Around Rio de Janeiro

Over six million people live in Rio de Janeiro. The number of people in the city can increase by 1.5 million during Carnival – so navigating through the town demands some planning. As the distances between the blocos can be long, prefer public transportation to avoid traffic jams. The Rio Card ticket is accepted on metros and buses all over the city.

For first-time travelers, there are apps with maps of the metro and others with details about the buses. People looking for strategic locations choose hotels and apartments close to the metro, especially at Copacabana, Ipanema and Santa Teresa.

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Don'ts

Valuable belongings don't match with Carnaval

While dressing up for Carnival, sparkling outfits, glitter, and extravagant accessories are a plus. Yet, party-goers should keep expensive belongings like watches or jewelry at home. Although street parties are often safe, it is better to be safe than sorry. Pickpockets are also common around crowds worldwide, and the Brazilian Carnival is no different.

Wearing a money belt can be practical and it has enough room for everything people need during Carnival: small cash (avoid large notes), the metro card, sunscreen, and phone.

Don't Forget Its Summer

The Brazilian summer happens between December and March, which means Carnaval is celebrated during the year's hottest season. In Brazil, the temperatures can easily be over 40°C, and being among thousands of people doesn't make it better. So, how can Brazilians endure that?

First, choose comfortable and fresh outfits; wearing too many clothes will probably be uncomfortable. It is also common to see people dehydrating due to high temperatures and too many drinks – so it is essential to drink lots of water during the day. Also, avoid sunburns by using sunscreen and reapplying it during the day.

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Don't Expect Exclusive Areas In The Street Parties

Carnival is the most democratic party in Brazil. The blocos are for free and have the power to bring together thousands of people from the most diverse social classes. In a country with an enormous social gap, it means a lot. So while partying on the streets, people should not expect exclusive areas.

For those looking for a different experience, there are also many private parties with live Carnival music and endless amenities, including open-bar, make-up artists, and even massagists. Of course, the price increases accordingly to the number of services available.

Feijoada? Maybe another time

Brazilian cuisine is full of tempting foods. Feijoada, for example, is so important that it is considered a national symbol and is popular all over the country. Yet, many traditional Brazilian dishes are heavy and not the best choice for people going to party all day.

But it doesn't mean that tourists don't get the chance to try Brazilian food, as the street food in Brazil is unique and the bars also have great options of traditional snacks. It is the perfect chance to try the Brazilian hot dog – which includes much more than just bread and sausage –, pastel, coxinha and bolinho de feijoada.

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