How safe is Brazil? Do's and don'ts?
  • I plan on spending 3 months in Brazil this summer but am increasingly concerned about safety. I have heard there is hostility and even aggression towwards Americans, and plenty of mugging and violent crime in the big cities. For example if go the beach myself is it crazy to leave my stuff under my towel on the sand whilei swim?? Walking about walking alone at night exploring the city? I also want to drive a car down the coast - is hijacking and bad driving a big problem? Any advice or tips and do's and don'ts much appreciated. Thanks.
  • The cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are one of the most dangerous cities in South America in terms of mugging, petty theft, etc. I would never walk alone, in the daytime or at night, and would not wear any type of jewelry. In no case should you leave your items unattended anywhere, whether on the beach or anywhere else. If you are spending several months there, hopefully it's at someone's home. They should give you guidance on what you should or should not do while there. If you don't speak Portugese, that's another roadblock. I hope this helps.

    Lilliam Larsen
  • Hi there,

    I came across your post while browsing the net, I'm am planning to make a 2 - 3 week trip over Argentina and Brazil and was planning to spend 5 days in rio. As a lone female traveller, by reading your comments it seems this isn't too wise?
  • sorry about the double problems..

  • How safe is Brazil? Millions of people travel to brazil and thousands from all over the world for carnaval.

    Although crime exists everywhere, it is good to be aware and SMART but not paranoid..

    As somebody who grew up in Rio, I never had a problem. Being that I grew up in a favela, I have a little more fears of places like Copacabana because the criminals will look for victims there. They are going to go to tourist areas first because that is where the money is.

    But many people have been to Rio and had a wonderful, be aware and smart, but please do not be paranoid...Rio has lots to offer..
  • I have been to S
  • Dear friend
    don't be concerned about the safety! very nice palce you will not forget
    I just came from Rio, only take care like in any big city and that is it
    go walk in Copa at night and drink beer wonderfull!
  • Hi There,

    Next week Im traveling to Sao Paulo on a business trip for 4 week.

    So I want to know the posible way to spend my weekends thr with low cost.
    and aslo im planning to visit Rio for 2days 1 night.

    Please suggest me on the same
  • Hello ! SOS :I need help from anyone please, I like to go to Sao Paulo couple weeks I living in England for 30 Years ! my Passport is from Belgium . Anyone can tell me if I can travel to Brasil with Passport only ? And how much time I can I stay please in Brasil ? Also how many injections ? and how much time I must wait before I can travel after have all injections ? Can I buy a open Ticket for have a long stay. make a good deal just for Plane ticket and fast arrive ?? PLEASE ANYONE DO HELP ME. The men I love living in Brasil .
    Tyou to anyone for read me and help me. Mouchette xx
    My Email is
  • You have many questions about Brazil. Read through the Word Travels guide to Brazil here and most of them will be answered!
  • Hi there- Re safety cities in Brazil are just like cities anywhere in the world. You have to keep out of dangerous areas like favelas (shanty towns) and you have to be careful with your belongings - particularly flashy jewellery, laptops and large cameras. Outside cities and particlarly when travelling off the beaten track Brazil is actually one of the safest countries to be in. In 30 years travelling here I have never had a problem.

    If you want more info on travelling safely in Brazil check out this posting on my blog:


  • As mentioned before, Brazil is quite safe as long as you stay away from the danger areas, which as far as I am aware are mainly the favelas. In S
  • one should be concerned with safety
    always !
    but not necessarily more here in Brazil than in the rest of the world
    always the same basic rule (in the whole world) : stay out of the spotlight, do not attract / create any attention
    and you will automatically feel a lot safer

    I am living in Bahia for 5 years now (
    and never had major problems, of course I have been robbed, of course the my ship has been burglared but could happen at any place where I went ...

    greetz from the tropIX
  • I see that most of the comments here are about Rio. I would like to hear of any experiences in Natal & Fortaleza. Special insights about safety and criminality. I read on a Wiki page about Fortaleza that crime was not only confined to the Favelas, with the tourist areas also a target. What worries me is their murder rate, which was 35 per 100,000 residents (in my country it's 1). Also that car jacking was a big problem.

    So any help or experiences???
  • Most of the comments in this thread area about Rio. I am wondering how safe it is in Fortaleza & Natal. I read in a Wiki article that Fortaleza enjoys a murder rate of 35 per 100,000 residents (in my country it's 1), and car jacking is a problem too. What worried me most is the fact that these problems seems to spill out into the tourist areas too.

    So what is the experience of others for these two cities?? And, by the way, I can well appreciate the advise of being careful; don't flash cash or valuables, etc., etc. I'm looking for for people's experience and feelings while they were there. In other words, what was your level of comfort?? Any help or advice would be gratefully accepted.
  • Most of the comments in this thread area about Rio. I am wondering how safe it is in Fortaleza & Natal. I read in a Wiki article that Fortaleza enjoys a murder rate of 35 per 100,000 residents (in my country it's 1), and car jacking is a problem too. What worried me most is the fact that these problems seems to spill out into the tourist areas too.

    So what is the experience of others for these two cities?? And, by the way, I can well appreciate the advise of being careful; don't flash cash or valuables, etc., etc. I'm looking for for people's experience and feelings while they were there. In other words, what was your level of comfort?? Any help or advice would be gratefully accepted.
  • Most of the comments in this thread area about Rio. I am wondering how safe it is in Fortaleza & Natal. I read in a Wiki article that Fortaleza enjoys a murder rate of 35 per 100,000 residents (in my country it's 1), and car jacking is a problem too. What worried me most is the fact that these problems seems to spill out into the tourist areas too.

    So what is the experience of others for these two cities?? And, by the way, I can well appreciate the advise of being careful; don't flash cash or valuables, etc., etc. I'm looking for for people's experience and feelings while they were there. In other words, what was your level of comfort?? Any help or advice would be gratefully accepted.
  • Hi I was considering going on a volunteer trip to Sao Gabriel, and Manaus, however, safety has become a major concern, can anyone shed some light on these places?
  • I went through all the experiences written here. I felt some what contradictory statements like some people said its safe but some people shared their expereinces of theft etc I am travelling to Sao Paulo in Oct '11, can some help me on the safety on individual travelling and where I can spend the weekend at a cheaper cost? Since I am an Indian I am a pure vegetarian (DONT EAT MEAT) can some help if i get a good vegetarian/Indian restaurants?

  • No worries, Sydney/AU is also a dangerous place to live. If you want to go to a safe place, go to Debrecen / Hungary, here nothing happens, but it is very safe.
  • You find violence anywhere you go, just be smart and you wont have troubles...but take necessary care with your stuffs. Brazil is as safe as Paris, London or New York. Otherwise, you still have the option to do not come !
  • You find violence anywhere you go, just be smart and you wont have troubles...but take necessary care with your stuffs. Brazil is as safe as Paris, London or New York. Otherwise, you still have the option to do not come !
  • Everywhere is safe if you walk in the light !
    Most murder cases in Brazil are related to consumption of drugs.
    Those who walk in the light will have no problem, even in slums.
    I am sure 99% of people in slums are simple and honest workers.
    It is simple, pay attention to your belongs and stay in the light.
  • Hi,
    I am going on a holiday to Brazil in 2014..
    my family doesnt know exactly which places we are going to in Brazil but i dont want to go anywhere that if i walk outside i will get mugged!!
    so can someone please tell me where the SAFEST place is in Brazil to help my family out.. we have a big family, young kids and i dont want them to be kidnapped if i take my eye off them for 5 seconds! PLEASE HELP ME!
    :D thanks xx
  • Have fun in 2014! Because that will be an insane year to go, im sure the thieves will be going out like crazy. BUT that does not mean u need to act crazy. I have been to brazil once and it was the most amazing time of my life. i am going again in summer. Here are some general tips: brazilians are incredibly friendly, they will all say hello and give u kisses, dont be shy. u will notice, clothing is laid back, and there is very little of it. DO NOT OVER-DRESS. that will scream tourist. especially with tons of jewelry (bad idea) this is a time to relax, so dress relaxed. When I go, I am with people who live in Brazil, so luckily, I am the only tourist-loking person in the group. It is a good idea to not put out there that u are american. not saying u have to keep your mouth shut, but don't put it all out there. Just face it, any1 can get mugged anywhere in this basically dont be stupid. U should NOT walk alone at dark. EVER. even be cautious in small groups. Most people take taxis and the bus in the evening. Avoid sketchy places, dont go anywhere near what are called "favela" aka. the ghetto slums. Fantastic places are: Buzios, Rio, Copacabana, and Impanema. they are always busy places as well. WONDERFUL food, shopping and sight seeing. Just sitting on the beach is like being in a postcard. Just make sure u talk to your children clearly about the trip telling them never to talk to strangers, and to keep an eye on one another. as always. The places I listed previously are great. u will love all of them. this will be a trip of a life time. I am hoping to go that year as well if i can afford it! just be smart, have fun, dont carry many valuables, (don't have too much cash on u ever) take only as much as u will need for each day. no jewelry. obviously dont wear clothing that has like american flags on it haha. people love to talk to americans because many brazilians wish to be us. they look at us like WOWWWWWW UR SO COOL (not kidding) so they may be a bit infatuated. just make sure if they seem sketchy u remain nice and leave. I dont mean to scare u but seriously it is heaven. and worst case scenario, if u do get mugged, give them the money. they will become violent if u fight back. valuables are better off stolen than you. i spent 2 months there and nothing bad happend, i didnt meet any weird people at all, no violence. didnt even see any crimes happen. honestly im sure nothing will happen.
    just dont go alone at night
    stay in populated places at night
    dress laid back
    keep that u r american on the down lo (some people say they dont like americans, that is not true, they are obsessed with us. they may even ask funny questions, like "do u really have this there?) the only ones who "dont like" us is the thieves because they think all americans are rich spoiled...theyre basically jealous.
    dont let your children talk to strangers, make sure they are well behaved enough to listen to u...if it was me i would start talking to them about 6 months before the trip, telling them cool facts about brazil, such as they dont speak english, etc. so they can get a gist of what it will be like. and go over safety rules with no talking to strangers, etc. u should make a code word if anything happens.
  • if u have more questions feel free to ask. :) sorry 4 the essay!
  • I'm sorry jbsdhibcd, but brazilians never wanted to be "american" as all of us who were born in AMERICA south or north will always be american... anyway... you had a wrong point of view saying that brazilians wants to be like noth americans. Brazil could be quite safe if you take some nice care such explained above, you just got to be smart and your trip will be amazing. Hope you have a great one down in Brazil.

    PS: if i could i would love to buy a house there.


  • Almost everyone I know who's been to Barcelona has been mugged but I was not given a second look by the locals. My simple advice is just don't look too much like a tourist. Walk with confidence and purpose and dont have big expensive cameras dangling on your shoulder. Most 'street hustlers' are north african and any who would begin to approach were met with 'Lo Shokram' which is Arabic for 'no thanks'.
    The only time I had a scary encounter was in Marrakesh when a group of teenagers started following me then eventually surrounded me. When their demand for money wasn't met I simply shouted very loudly at them and they backed off. I suppose it's all about calling their bluff. If you start to show weakness, people will exploit it.
  • jbsdhibcd....your the reason why americans are hated when they travel with that attitude. Absolutly horrible they don't think your to think your to cool. obssessed they are, are u half mental? Most Countries travel and get love cause we don't think with a mentality of bullshit. I've been everywhere. You say don't where the red white and blue in brazil. Your ego spits it brother. From a canadian with love for americans and all. Happy travels guys!
  • I've also had experiences in my travels where locals were very excited and inquisitive about meeting an American. It tends to happen more in areas that get little tourist traffic, but I think the same feeling applies to meeting a person from any country for the first time... just like I was very interested the first time I met someone from Ecuador. We're all curious about the world:-)
  • I am traveling to Brazil (Divinopolis Minas Gerais) and curious about its safety! Any experiences anyone? Your comments are very appreciated. Thanks so much!
  • Brazil is safe for can travel and enjoy the trip without any problem.
  • Go to Brazil at your own it be robbed, tortured, killed or raped.

    Play with fire and you will soon get burnt.

    Women travelers who get raped in spite of the warnings...people who get mugged and hurt in spite of the warnings must not whinge about being victimised. They must be secretly seeking it.

    Brazil may be a nice place but I do not like the fact how I'm, probability-speaking, going to be violated while I'm there.

    No thanks!! There are so many other beautiful places around the world where being harmed is not as (almost) guaranteed as in Brazil.

    And yeah, funny how it seems those here who try to downplay the situation and even encourage people not to be too concerned are like barkers for the muggers, rapists and killers.
  • What a negative view! And utter nonsense. I have many (female) friends who have both lived and travelled in Brazil and found the country warm and wonderful.

    As a South African especially, I can say that there will always be doomsayers bent on destroying a country's reputation entirely, while completely ignoring the best parts of it.
  • Poor Bert.

    I've heard in Thailand, keeping your belongings in your hotel/hostel to avoid being robbed on the beach results in... your hotel room being robbed. Having heard this story, I never know where I should keep my money/passport. Better on my person or locked up somewhere? It sounds paranoid, but it's hard to know such things before u get there hey? I am guessing it is nothing like this in Brazil?

    As for the oh-so-cool Americans, there is some fascination because of your overrepresentation on TV. But arrogance is the thing that bothers people. Pay attention to the local culture, simmer down and try to follow the rules of the space. The one thing I noticed that really frustrates me is how loud they insist on speaking. It's worse when they feel their liberal rules of discussion subjects which might be sensitive in the local country, out loud just because hey it's ok in America. U have to play by the local rules, that's why you are travelling. U don't have to pretend to be somebody else, just pay attention and don't be too stubborn abt doing things your way. Not all Americans are like that of course, this is just the most obvious/common bad trait that we come across. So just keep that in mind.
  • I’m an American from California, and I have traveled to Brazil various times over the years, to São Paulo, Rio, Bahia, Paraty, Parana, Porto Alegre, among other places. Generally speaking, you need to watch yourself anywhere you go in Brazil. Always stay aware of your surroundings, day or night, inside or out. Now, some regions are more dangerous than others. The city that I really felt this the most was in Sao Paulo. Honestly, São Paulo is very dangerous, even in the best neighborhoods like Jardins, where I always stayed in the finest hotels. Unless you have local friends to drive you around to clubs, restaurants, etc, you will be in your hotel, in a taxi, and at your final destinations, and that’s it! It’s isn’t safe to walk around too much on your own in Sao Paulo. It’s so easy to get mugged there. If you’re with a group of locals walking around, that’s a different story. Your friends will keep the muggers away, just by being locals. But a lot of crazy things happen in São Paulo: fancy restaurants getting robbed, with all customers being robbed at gunpoint, express kidnappings (where one is forced to withdraw cash from an atm), credit card numbers being stolen by workers in stores, among other things. In fact, I really don’t recommend staying in Sao Paulo for more than 3 or 4 days. There are much nicer places in Brazil to see. However, like I said, crime is everywhere in Brazil, so even in the most remote and picturesque places, you need to always be on guard. Trust me, you need to.

    Make sure that at EVERY HOTEL that you stay at, that it as a “cofre”, or safe (to store valuables, money, passport, etc) IN THE HOTEL ROOM. If the hotel does not have a lockable safe in the room, do not stay there. Some hotels only have a safe at the front desk reception area; stay away from these hotels!
  • How cute that there are people who think Brazil is as safe as Paris or New York! I've been all over Europe and I've been to Brazil. I feel safer driving through Oakland at night than I do in the daytime in Brazil.

    Brazil IS extremely dangerous, in many ways. Call the police or an ambulance there for an energency, and it could take them up to 45 minutes before they arrive. Oh, and watch out for dangling live electric wires left unattended by the electric company: a cousin of mine who lives in Recife was electrocuted and killed this last Tuesday while walking his dog when a broken wire fell on him. Muggings of tourists are commonplace in all big cities in Brazil...and while you might get pickpocketed in tourist spots in Paris, Barcelona, and (maybe) in New York, Brazil is different in that in Rio, Recife, Fortaleza or São Paulo they won't just pickpocket you...they may just put a knife or other sharp object like a shard of glass up to your neck and demand all your money and jewelry. Watch your camera...or better yet, don't take it out to take pictures unless you are with a tour guide in a large group who says it is ok.(We don't have to worry about that in New York, Barcelona, Rome, or Paris).

    Be careful crossing the street. Oh, and don't think a red light will keep cars from running you over in a crosswalk. RUN across the street. Cars have the right of way. (We don't have to worry about that in New York, Barcelona, Rome, or Paris).And watch out for drive-by shootings and stray bullets in places like São Paulo and Rio. (We don't have to worry about that in New York, Barcelona, Rome, or Paris).

    At night, drivers in cities like Recife won't remain waiting stopped at a red light if there is no on-coming cross traffic...they will stop and then go, running the red light. Why? Because sitting at a red light at night in most cities is much too dangerous and one risks getting mugged (thieves have been known to come up to car windows and point a gun at the driver)...(We don't have to worry about that in New York, Barcelona, Rome, or Paris).

    Unless you are staying with a local, Brazil is best visited on an organized tour. Unlike Florence, Tokyo, Paris, San Francisco, Rome, and New York, Brazil is no place for a foreigner to visit on his/her own...there are very few cities there where the average tourist can just leave the hotel and go "exploring"...I was born there and speak Portuguese fluently (but have lived here in California most of my life and am very thankful for that), and I won't go out by myself when I am there visiting family.

    If you MUST go to Brazil, either stay with locals (if you know any) or go on an organized tour....otherwise, the world has many other equallly (if not more) beautiful places to see which are also much safer
  • I want to ask a question here?? Is that true that Brazil are violence area...  Actually i am  moving  Brazil in this month north and Even I Order to pack or move my all accessories  for moving to my new address...   Is this safe for me and my family or not give me advice?????
  • Hello Everyone! Brazil is one of the best places in the world to visit. As for safety, its all about your city and your neighborhood, just like any other country. Mooca, for example, is a very safe neighborhood in São Paulo, even  for foreigners. 
  • Safety is much depending on yourself.
    Here in Salvador da Bahia for example one needs to be as discrete as possible, in other words : do not show off in any possible way and you'll be pretty safe.
    Also : do not walk where you are having doubts, in case of doubts just take a guide.
    Greetz from Salvador da Bahia
  • OK, it looks that the main doubts about Brazil concern to safety, that's right?

    Starting with the good news, Brazil is gifted with a very extensive coast where beautiful beaches excel. In addition to the sea shore, it is rewarding traveling to places like Iguaçu Falls, Pantanal, Amazon, and many other attractions deserving a stay. This is all to say that if safety real matters, one can find worthwhile touristic spots skipping big cities like Rio, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Recife, to mention places where the odds to face mugging are unfavourable, even though these areas are visited by lots of foreigners who have felt unbothered all the time. In the nice state of Santa Catarina it is possible to find beaches and nature as beautiful as those in Rio or in the northeast, and there one can enjoy the trip with much less concerns. The islands of Fernando de Noronha are environmental protected and far away from mainland, therefore their maritim treasures can be explored peacefully.

    Now the bad news. Rio has been considered one of the most wonderful cities in Earth, with breathtaking landscapes from its mountains, wilderness, beaches, not to mention the beauty of the girls sunbathing in Ipanema beach. Although crime may ocurr everywhere in town, and having fearful figures about that, it would be a pity preventing oneself to be indulged in this unique place, provided that rules and advices are followed. Sao Paulo is the brazilian powerhouse, and the main finantial  center. It is a big city, ugly at first sight, but very sophisticated, with a broad array of restaurants, clubs, music halls, theaters, and imposing malls, but very unsafe to hanging out far from the most populated areas; it is not surprising that luxury shopping is conveniently located into its flourish net of malls, where people fill safer than anywhere in town.

    To summarize, even with all the drawbacks Brazil is a touristic  destination to be seriously taken into account, for those who want to experience the tropical atmosphere, multicultured and ethnic diverse population, who is friendly and nice with people coming from abroad, and to make their best to network even with their lack of ability to speak other tongues but portuguese
  • Hello everyone!

    I lived in Brazil for 16 years, I'm 33 now. I'm half Brazilian and half Polish. Well, definitely Brazil in not a safe country. Off course there is a normal life going on there. I mean in Brazil a lot of people never got in touch the local violence and they are living a normal life. I was robbed already 3 times in Brazil. The last time my house was robbed by a group of fully armed trollers. I was inside in my house with my mother and 3 more people. They closed us in my room, got everything they could and left. The Police couldn't do to much and to be honest the Police does not care that much about violence, cause this is common here for them and they are kinda involved in all this sh...t. So, it is not easy to live in Brazil for longer. But if you want to travel, visit then this is a totally different story :) I would always recommend Brazil for everyone. This is just the best place to travel. You just need to avoid to travel without plan in Brazil. Is better to book all your tickets, hostel or hotel before travelling to Brazil. You can use a very well known and safe website: They have the English version also and you can write them to help you with your plan. Well, off course try to find as much information about Brazil, maps, local city tips and may try to find some Brazilian friends on facebook. You know, the more you search you can travel better and safe!
  • Well, do you know how many people were murdered in Brazil along 2012? 52.000 people! Do you know how many murders were not officialy registered? about 8.600. So there were about 60.000 murders just in a single year. I hope you can have an idea of how safe is Brazil! Ah, take this tip: take care with pickpockets in the streets. These criminals  are usually teens and here they are not punished by laws. Yeah, you´ve read right: criminals teens are not punished by brazilian laws. At the most, I wish God protect you in Brazil!
  • Not safe at all. I´m brazilian and don´t feel safe here. 2014 is the worst year to come here. Do not come.
    If you HAVE to come, stay in contact with local friends before coming. Women please, do not travel alone. I wish lucky to you all, God bless you. 
  • I also thought that South America is generally dangerous but recently I had a couple of friends staying in Colombia for a year. According to them it is not that dangerouos if you know where to go and where don't. Of course, it is highly probable that you will be shot while visiting some particulary danegerous neighbourhoods but still, it is possible for two young ladies to survive a year without any particular harm;)
  • I'm brazilian, i've been traveling to many countries, Brazil is by far the most dangerous place i know. We have beautiful places, but you want to come, take care, mainly in big cities, criminals are really cruel and evil, they kill for no reason.
    Never walk or drive alone during the night.
    The south is safer, clean, and beautiful, people are polite and educated, but during the winter (may to august) its cold, but can be even better in the mountains.
    Brazil is not just soccer, sex and carnival, in the south we have a wonderful beaches, mountains and amazing and safety cities.
    Rio is really beautiful, but if i were you i will to another and safety place.
  • Now a days cities like Fortaleza, Recife, Natal and Maceio are more dangerous then Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, due to the low education level.

  • I'm actually from Rio but I have a friend who lives in the area. And I
    guess you'll be as safe there as anywhere. But don't worry too much
    about you safeness. Brazil is really not as dangerous as it's pictured.
  • Hi,

    Generally Brazilians don't wear anything that shows wealth. This includes expensive watches, trainers, handbags and phones. You should do the same. Also, make sure you don't carry a lot of money on you, just enough for the day. I wouldn't recommend taking the bus at night. It is safer to take a taxi. Do leave your documents, including your passport at the hotel or in a safe place. Carrying a copy of your I.D should be okay. 
    I've written a blog post about this 

  • I am completely agreed to Kattyfluentglobe 'While in Roam do the Roman's'. Your safety almost depends upon you how you show yourself among the others. Showing your richness may lead you to danger. So Enjoy very wisely. 
  • hi, 
    being a young girl traveler, i wanted to know if the city chapeco is safe?
    and any important things that i should keep in mind while travelling.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion