Carnival Health, Safety and Comfort
Carnival can be great fun, but there are a few dangers that can be easily avoided with just a few simple precautions.
Carnival takes place at one of the hottest times of the year, so one of the biggest dangers is the sun and the heat. Wearing a hat makes sense, and sun screen is a must. Also, drink water frequently, not just beer!
Carnival is an incredible experience attended by millions. The vast majority are there to have a good time and the atmosphere is very friendly, but there are, of course, opportunistic thieves who like the big crowds for the wrong reasons.
Given the size of the crowds, the number of incidents during Carnival each year is very low, and very few incidents are violent. Most problems involve petty theft and pickpockets. The best way to stay safe is not to invite trouble, to remain streetwise and to stay aware. You should not feel anxious if you take some sensible precautions.
Leave valuables at home. You really do not need a watch, phone, expensive sunglasses, credit cards, or even much money.
You probably want to take a camera, but don’t carry around an expensive one. Take a small camera that you can keep well concealed when you are not using it, and be very aware who is around you when you do use it. Disposable cameras are perhaps an even better option.
You are required by Brazilian law to carry proof of identity, but take a photocopy of your passport. Leave the real one in a safe place where you are staying.
Carry what you do need in a hidden money belt or zipped pockets. If possible get one big enough to hold your compact camera. Try to take coins and small bank notes, so you do not have to flash big bank notes around.
Comfort is also important. You will probably be on your feet a long time and walking a lot. Wear sensible footwear!
If you are out all day you will need a bathroom. Many houses and bars allow use of their toilet/bathroom, but charge for it (R$1). Look out for the signs “Banheiro.” Carry some toilet paper or wet wipes with you in case there is none.
You are definitely going to get hot, sweaty and sticky. Wet-wipes would be a good idea, but don’t forget to top up on the sun screen when you have used them.
Just in case you get a stomach upset or diarrhea, take a few pills with you. Locally you can buy Imosec; it works really fast and is very cheap.
If you follw these few precautions, you should have a safe and healthy Carnival experience.