Been the destination of more than 45% of the foreigner tourists who come to Brazil, it is more than clear that Rio de Janeiro is the favorite Brazilian destination for those coming to visit the country. Home of Brazilian postcards like Cristo Redentor and Pão de Açucar, Rio is a must for any traveler or tourist. However, some security measures are necessary to make sure you will be able to enjoy your trip to Rio de Janeiro and not get a headache instead.
Although Rio is an amazing destination, with stunning landscapes and fun activities all over, it doesn’t prevent it from being a dangerous city, unfortunately. And as a Brazilian, I think it is a duty to give some Brazilian tips for those who are willing to come to visit Rio de Janeiro.
How to enjoy Rio de Janeiro safely
Don’t walk around holding your phone
I know it is a pretty normal thing to do, sometimes you need to call someone, or check something on your phone like a map or something like that, but avoid playing with your phone on the streets. Stealing phone from people on the street is the most common crime we have here. If you feel the need to check your phone, look for a store, supermarket or mall to get in so you can check it.
Don’t wear jewelry/watches
Wearing jewelry or watches in the streets of Rio is a big NO. Don’t wear gold, gems, big watches, nothing valuable. To be honest, it is good to avoid accessories even if they are fake, after all, not everybody knows the difference between original and fake gold.
Wear discreet clothes
I recommend you not to walk around the city wearing brand clothes. Try to be discreet, wear one color clothes, normal ones, don’t try to be fancy if you are not planning to lose your clothes in the middle of your trip. Pick simple shoes, don’t take your Nike shoes for a walk there. It is fine if you are going for a dinner or something, but definitely, don’t take your fancy clothes as a uniform for Rio.
Admire Largo da Lapa from a safe distance
Largo da Lapa is the place in Rio de Janeiro, where you find that famous aqueduct. Really nice, from a certain distance. Unfortunately, it is not a safe zone, on one side you will find nice pubs and many policemen on the street, you can definitely sit there and have some drink. But don’t get too far from the pubs’ area. It is a dangerous place where many thieves stay.
Take the van to climb Cristo Redentor
There are two ways to climb the Cristo. First is by the stairs, second is taking a van. Although it can sound fun to climb the stairs, it is not the safest way, unfortunately, there are many reports of people being robbed in the stairs, so in order to avoid it. Take the van.
South Zone and Central Zone
The best zones in Rio are the South Zone and Central Zone, the South Zone is where you gonna find the best beaches like Ipanema, Copacabana, and Leblon. It is relatively calm and safe part of the city, there are many hotels in both areas where you can stay. Not a reason to don’t have cautions though.
Avoid going out after 7 pm or measure where you are going at night
I know it is inevitable to don’t go out at night sometimes, as we all have to have dinner, also there are some activities that are better to be done at night etc. But if you can avoid it, please do. During the night it tends to be more dangerous. If you do get out during the night, measure where you are going, and try to take a taxi.
Avoid bringing valuable things to the beach
I know that going to the beach is about relaxing yourself, drinking some coconut water and free your mind from worries, but it is always good to take precautions to make sure you will really free your mind. Don’t bring valuable things like expensive gadgets to the beach, don’t bring a million dollars either. Try to bring the essential. If you are in a group, why bringing everybody phones and cameras? Bring one or two instead. Why bringing your whole wallet full of dollars? Bring a credit card for lunch perhaps and some few papers for water and ice cream. Also, don’t leave your belonging alone in the sand while everybody goes swimming.
Pay attention at your sides
When walking on the streets look at your sides and back, pay attention who is around you. I’m not seeing to raise doubts about every single being that comes close to you. But pay attention and watch out. If something doesn’t seem right, or if you start questioning someone action, try to get inside the next shop you see and wait for this person to pass or stop in the street, pretend you are just taking a break and wait for the person to pass by.
All these tips are not made to discourage you from visiting Rio de Janeiro. It is one of the most important cities in Latin America and one of the most famous cities in the world. What you gonna see here, you will not see anywhere else in the world.
These tips are to make people aware that unfortunately, reality hits hard. It is a beautiful place but should be visited with cautions. I know how things are in Europe for example, how safe people feel and how confident they walk on the street playing with their valuable belonging, so it is my duty to let people aware and remember that Latin America is not Europe.
Also, it is important to note that most of these tips don’t apply to Rio de Janeiro only, but also to São Paulo, Bahia and most parts of Brazil as well as many Latin America countries from Argentine to Mexico.