By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
February 6, 2016

So you have finally decided to go the legendary Carnival party in Rio and see what the hype is all about. I guarantee you will soon get caught up in the spirit of Carnival and fall in love with Brazil. But before you go, there are a few things you should be aware of. With this is mind, we have compiled some tips so you can enjoy the party to the fullest.

1. Learn some basic words and expressions in Portuguese. As most Brazilians don’t speak English, this will help you a lot with your communication. Also, Brazilians really appreciate when foreigners attempt to speak Portuguese, no matter how badly they do it.

2. Buy your flight in advance. There will be many tourists coming from all over the world to Rio, which causes flights to fill and prices to increase.

3. Book your hostel/hotel in advance as well, as it becomes harder and harder to find accommodation as the Carnival approaches.

4. If you want to watch Carnival, go to the Sambadrome. If you want to be in the thick of the action, take the party to the streets and keep an eye out for the “blocos”, which are foot parades where people dance through the streets to the beat played by a samba band on top of a truck.

5. If you go to the Sambadrome to watch the parade, the best views are from the ground level seats, the terrace seats, and the “camarote” if you are willing to pay a higher price.

6. Watch out for your safety. Don’t wear expensive jewelry and keep an eye out for pickpockets. It is also a good idea to wear a money belt or to keep some emergency money in your underwear or bra. If you are bringing a camera, keep it out of sight. Be aware of where you are going as well, as some areas are extremely unsafe for tourists. Also, avoid getting blackout drunk, as that will make you an easy target.

7. If you are a man looking to hook up with local girls, be respectful in your approach. There is a difference between being direct and being forceful, and you should not cross that line.

8. Banks close during Carnival, and cash machines often run dry. To avoid running out of money, keep a stash in the place where you are staying.

9. If you are hungry, “por kilo” restaurants are a good choice. In these restaurants, you fill up your plate from a buffet and pay according to the weight of your food. These places are cheap and the food is usually tasty.

10. If you are partying in the streets, keep your mobile phone and other electronics inside a plastic bag. Trucks will often spray water into partygoers to offer some relief from the heat.

11. Don’t forget to exchange your money. Although some shops and vendors accept dollars and euros for their products, they will charge you much more than if you use reais.

12. Prepare yourself for high temperatures and lots of sun. Bring sunscreen and don’t forget to drink water, especially if you are plan to drink alcohol.

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