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a VirtualTourist member

Rio de Janeiro

Tips for tourists

i'm English and me and partner want to go on holiday to Rio this year, i've never been before and the travel agent basically told us not to go due to risk factors. I've looked online and all i can see are the obvious ones of not making yourself look like a tourist and flashing valuables around, which is surely a common sense you would follow when visiting any city, even cities in the UK you would be a bit careful. I am fascinated by Brazil and i really really want to go. If any one has any useful tips- travellers or locals, then i'd be so grateful. The things i'm looking for are; the best places to visit in Rio, safety risks, places to avoid, tips on how to blend in, the right clothes to wear, and how to be respectful to the culture. Any answers would really be appreciated, thank you.

7 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Sacramento

It has been a couple of years since my visit to Rio. Having traveled extensively I personally did not feel unsafe in the central areas of the city are on the beach. There is still significant gang crime in the City but the police (they are called the PM or Policia Militar there) have done a good job in keeping it out of the tourist areas and most of downtown.

Some things I would suggest however are things I would do anywhere including is to avoid stopping in the middle of the street and looking at maps, wear a neck wallet, in bars and restaurants never leave a backpack or purse unattended if even under the table, don't wear expensive clothes or jewelry, at night walk around with someone as opposed to alone, and just use common sense.

For an excellent source of information please review; "Warnings and Dangers in Rio," written by VT members. As you will see by these descriptions few members have had any problems at all in Rio. Here is the link;

[original VT link]

Have a great time and just use common sense.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member

I have spent a good part of the past 30 years in Rio. Fascinating culture & well worth visiting. Stay in the nicer neigborhoods. If any place or anybody looks dangerous, keep your distance. Dress casual. No longer cheap. I live in Leblon, so I am partial. Two places in Leblon for delicious buffet lunch are La Cigale & Fellini. Ipanema nice, but more commerical. Copacabana even more so. I'm hearing that the Ipanema beach & sidewalk are getting more petty-crime ridden. Don't know about Copacabana. Lots of construction going on extension, etc, so traffic is a mess. For me less cars are a delight. Public buses can be dangeous. Higher-priced ones are safer. Metro is safe, but still having functional problems. Downtown has supposedly gotten much more interesting. Need a car to get around Barra da Tijuca. Big tourist destinations are Corcavado, Sugar Loaf, Jardim Botanico. Great music, but you need to find out where.

Good guide: Ricardo, [email]

Good guide book will fill in many of the points I'm making. May, June, & July are good months to visit. Not as hot. Draught beer chopp is absolutely delicious. Limit your intake of cachca. It will rot your gut. Locals prefer vodka. Caipiriha lime juice, sugar, & ice & caipirowska vodka, are popular drinks. Better using "lima" instead of lime. Less tart. Hope you enjoy yourself.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Denmark

Rio has become a lot safer in recent years so you need to worry less these days compared to just 5-10 years ago but you should still try to avoid empty streets at night and stay out of obvious slum areas.

And trying to dress a little like a brazilian is always good as it will make the brazilians laugh a little less at you but forget about looking like a local the first few weeks in Rio.
The locals have their own style of dressing and walking and talking and they can all pick a foreigner a mile away just by looking at their general attitude, but don't worry about it as brazilians in general really like foreign visitors and will generally protect you towards the few who might wanna rob you.
Of the +70 countries i have been to it's probaply the country where people had the most positive attitude towards complete strangers coming from abroad.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Puerto Princesa

As Brazil has all types of race it is easy to blend in with the locals whether you are black, white or of mixed race, just get an idea of the casual wear that the locals dress themselves in and buy the same. As stated stay away from the favelas unless you are accompanied and just use your common sense as you would in parts of London at night. On the whole the Brazilians are friendly people and i or my friends never had a problem when we were there, On the beaches there are thefts so either deposit your valuables in the hotel safe (good idea, maybe!!) or only one of you go swimming at a time while the other stays on the beach. When walking around just keep enough money for the day in your pocket, perhaps not in a wallet but in a cigarette packet. Sew pockets on the inside of your shorts and keep ur credit cards, cash and passport hidden there in a plastic bag. Don't wear these big money belts that send a message to the thieves "Here are all my valuables, take me"
Enjoy Brazil---it is a great country, and try and get out of RIO to the smaller places on the coast.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Dubai

agree with most of the posts above Rio (+ Brazil) has improved it's image dramatically in recent years

ask your travel agent when was the last time he (she) visited Rio? likely they have not

I would never travel anywhere if I listened to all the 'armchair adventurers' who tell me this place or that place is unsafe for travel.

the biggest key to not being seen as a tourist anywhere is to just 'shut up', if nobody hears you speaking your language, they will have no idea where you are from

Brazil is a fabulous place!

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Rio de Janeiro

Change your travel agent! I have lived in Rio for a total of over ten years (divided over four decades), and the only crime I've ever suffered here was the cloning of my credit card. (Don't ever let yours out of your sight.) Yes, follow the common-sense advice above - I always dress down (shorts, sandals and a polo shirt) - but I haven't felt under threat here for many years. In the 80s and 90s the city was distinctly edgy, but (thank Goodness) not any more. The only place in thew world where was my wife (who's from here) has had her handbag stolen was in the King's Road, Chelsea, London!

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Rio de Janeiro

Dont listen to your travel agency : just come easy , without fear. Take the basic cares , as mentioned above and enjoy your staying. I was born here and can affirm that it is the right time to come.

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