Staying Safe at Rio De Janeiro Carnival

Safety at Rio De Janeiro Carnival

Framed by the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro is a gigantic seaside city on the South Atlantic coast of Brazil. Filled with characteristic sites like the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado, Sugar Loaf mountain, Corcovado Peak, and the hills of Tijuca, this city attracts millions of visitors and tourists every year. And, on top of that these wonderful features work together to collectively make the harbor one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Known as the “marvelous city” to locals and foreigners, Rio de Janeiro is also famous for its breathtaking landscape, a party atmosphere, and its incredible annual carnival. However, Rio is also known for its sprawling “Favelas”, and crime and drug cartels that cause concerns for safety at Rio De Janeiro Carnival. So how do you stay safe and still have fun? We’re here with your guide. 

Carnival is a giant festival held every year right before Lent and is considered the biggest and most extravagant carnival in the world. Over two million people take over the streets every day during the carnival. The tradition dates back all the way to 1723. Contagious samba music, flamboyant costumes, and beautiful samba dancers are the main attractions as the samba schools parade all through the “Sambodromo” and start a party that is insanely big and fun.

As mentioned, millions of tourists visit Rio and its Carnival every year, making themselves an easy target for all sorts of crime that take place in the city, from muggins and robberies to more serious stuff like kidnappings, fights, and even murders. So, to enjoy this beautiful country and its amazing carnival while staying safe and having fun, every traveler should take a few precautions that are common sense and a few that are more “Rio sense”.

Don’t Need it? Don’t Bring it!

Safety at Rio De Janeiro Carnival

If you’ve decided to take part in the biggest carnival in the world, start your preparations before you travel, including taking precautions for your safety. Make sure you bring everything you really need, but no more than what you really need. Basic essentials, like your passport, make up the obvious checklist of things to pack. However, leave your expensive watch and don’t bring jewelry or unnecessary electronics. This way you’ll avoid some problems right from the start.

Don’t Show it Off

Some necessities are expensive, but keeping them hidden is in your best interest. Only take out your phone when necessary and be sure to scan your surroundings before you take it out. Never count your money or take out your wallet unless you’re paying for something. Even then, check your surroundings. It might even be a good idea to buy a cheap local cell phone to stay connected so as not to use your iPhone X on the streets of Rio while surrounded by millions of people.

When in Rio, Do as Cariocas

Staying Safe at Rio De Janeiro Carnival

The wise old saying “when in Rome…” should be applied everywhere you travel, not only Rio De Janeiro. To start, you will not only be safer if you behave and dress like the locals, you will also have more fun and immerse yourself better in the culture. It gets very hot in Rio, so dressing down is a must. Try to dress like the locals and walk like you know where you are and where you’re going. Avoid empty streets and if someone tries to stop you, especially someone sketchy-looking, look busy and keep going. Having local friends is obviously a major plus. 

Curiosity Killed The Cat

Remember those shanty-looking neighborhoods made famous by Michael Jackson’s music videos? They’re called “Favelas” and should be avoided at all times if possible. If you really feel that your Carnival trip would not be complete without visiting one of these Favelas, book a tour with an official guide and stay inside the designated route and crowded areas; and try to act as local as possible. Remember, the bigger the tour company, the safer you’ll be.

Common Sense Rules the Day

Staying Safe at Rio De Janeiro Carnival

The key to enjoying your trip to this year’s Carnival in Rio De Janerio is using common sense. If you’ve traveled before, especially to South America, you know that this is the best tool you can use to avoid having any troubles. Use common sense when crossing the street as drivers are usually not very concerned with pedestrian safety. Use common sense when carrying around money, jewelry, documents or electronics. Finally, use common sense when having fun. It’s never a good idea to abuse drugs or alcohol, especially when visiting foreign countries, and always put safe-sex practices in practice. If you follow this advice and use your head, you’ll have a wonderful time in Rio and you’ll fall in love with its beautiful landscapes, its friendly people, and its incredible culture.