The real essence of celebrating Carnival in Rio is to take part in the many street party festivities, known as bloco. A bloco is probably is one of the words you’re going to listen the most during your stay in Rio in this Carnival period.
A bloco is simply an informal gathering of friends at a neighborhood bar or square with percussion instruments, singing songs and having fun. Most of these blocos are small with hundreds of participants and others became very popular attracting thousands of people.
In 2016 there were in the 5 days of Carnaval more than 508 blocos. So the questions are, which bloco to pick and have fun? What to bring? What are the precautions?
In this crazy marathon of almost 24 hours during five days of Carnival
Here I list 10 tips that I believe will help you a lot.
And if you want to join Bravietour to experience the Blocos together with us in a group, you can join us at the " The Real Street Carnaval of Rio Tour". We have made a hand-picked selection of cool blocos making a route every single day of the carnaval from Friday to Tuesday. For more info just click here.
1- Come with the craziest costume.
Carnaval is the festivity of fantasy, that being said you can be anyone you want and dress in whatever you feel like. Think of the most weird, thematic, colorful, not matching clothes you can have; now it’s the time to wear it.
Some ideas are: superheroes, Indians, firefighter, Viking, version of folklore clothes of your country, nun, you grandma’s old dress, etc.
But don’t forget as well to dress light. Otherwise the heat will melt you.
If you haven’t got any costume yet, go quick to the city center in the streets Rua da Alfandega or the parallel Rua Senhor dos Passos, the so called Saara area (popular discount shopping streets). The shops are open there until 01:00pm Saturday 25th of feb.
Recommended shops are:
Rua da Alfândega, 171/173, Saara, Centro
Rua Senhor dos Passos, 153, Saara, Centro
Rua Senhor dos Passos, 124, Saara, Centro
2- Use and bring sunscreen
Carnaval is during the hot tropical summer, and Rio is known for its super high temperatures and the sun burns you quicker than you can imagine. Even for people with darker skin it is extremely advised to bring and to use loads of sunscreen, especially on your neck, shoulders and arms.
3- Hydrate yourself
Although having an ice-cold beer and many caipirinhas is great and delicious! Keep in mind to drink large quantities of water to keep in you hydrated. If you can find coconut water it is even better as it recovers your intake of minerals and electrolytes; perfect if you want to stay energized and take the most out of the crazy Carnaval bloco marathon without a serious hangover.
4- Tennis shoes (sneakers)
Please leave your flip-slops at home. The best way to go on the blocos is wearing tennis shoes (sneakers). The streets are crowded with people, so it’s really that you can lose your flip-flops; also there’s much cans, broken bottles that you risk to get hurt.
Since you’ll be walking a lot put on the most confortable sneakers you have. Your feet will thank you!
5- Be safe!
Unfortunately when its carnaval and the streets are really full it’s very common in the crowded blocos that pickpockets use the opportunity that you’re distracted and having fun to rob you.
Following these advices will help you a lot to minimize the risks.
Leave your best camera at home, bring a mobile to take picture or a very cheap old camera instead and make sure to look around and protect the phone with your body when taking pictures.
Make sure you have some changed money to buy drinks and food. Money belt is perfect to wear and don’t bring in any case a wallet. Bring a copy of your ID or passport and leave valuable things at home.
6- Metro card
Undoubtedly the best way to navigate through the many blocos, avoiding heavy traffic, and the enjoying the festive atmosphere is to get the metro. Rio’s Metro is relatively well organized and clean.
The best is that you get a pre paid card from the machines, I would advice to put at least R$50,00 credit since you’re going to use it many times and you will avoid the long queues at the counter to buy tickets any time.
Also good to know that although it's very warm, the Metro administration doesn't allow people to enter without t-shirt.
The metro during the carnaval is from Friday 05:00am to Tuesday midnight. So 24 hours the whole carnaval time.
7- Take a good rest
Don’t overdo it , respect your body and have some good rest. There are many people that over party the first days and then afterwards get sick or too hangover to continue partying. Take a good rest. The street carnaval parties are mostly during the day, starting sometimes even early in the mornings at 07:00am!
Expect Lapa district, that every night is busy with bands playing everywhere.
Although the city administration sets many chemical toilets everywhere along the blocos, with so many people and loads of beers, the effect is explosive and all the toilets are not enough for the masses.
So you will see that many party-goers will alleviate themselves and pee at any place they can find. Which caused a lot of problems and some years ago the city administration started to give heavy fines (over R$500,00!) and even bring people to the police station. That being said I wouldn’t advice you the doing the same and have the risk of being caught.
If the chemical toilets are too crowded, there are always many bars and restaurants on the bloco route that charges for toilet use, or you can even just buy something inside the restaurant/bar and simply use their restroom.
For the ladies; the cleanliness of the chemical toilets are not the best at all, so its advised to bring a small hand cleanser gel (anti bacterial) and Kleenex.
For the ones willing to meet cool people to party with and go to the fun bloco parties without thinking of which one to choose. You can join us at the " The Real Street Carnaval of Rio Tour".
We have made a hand-picked selection of cool blocos making a route every single day of the carnaval from Friday to Tuesday. For more info just click here.