Brazil offers a great many things for visitors to see and do. There are varied landscapes, world class beaches, lively cities, numerous attractions, great food, areas of lively nightlife …. And more! Many potential visitors have concerns about safety in Brazil. It is important to remember that most visits pass without incident. Brazil is, however, known for having high crime rates, with Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro ranked amongst the most dangerous cities in South America. Crimes can be fairly violent.
There are a few pointers to ensure your safety in Brazil, and to make sure that you have a wonderful trip that you will remember for all the right reasons:
Be Prepared Before You Leave
Before embarking on your Brazilian adventure, make sure that you have good travel insurance that covers all your possessions and the activities that you plan on doing. Check the small print before committing to a policy. Don’t pack jewellery, or other non-essential valuables. Consider leaving electrical items at home. An iPod, laptop, iPad, Kindle, and the likes may make long journeys more bearable, but they will also make you more of a target for thieves. Consider using disposable cameras rather than flashy expensive gadgets.
Consider Your Appearance
A main reason that thieves are attracted to people is the belief that they are wealthy. A person’s appearance goes some way towards making them stand out and become more of a target. Consider buying clothes in Brazil to wear on your trip to make you less conspicuous. Look at how the locals dress and follow suit. Avoid baseball caps – these scream tourist! A day backpack or a big bag also implies that you may be toting around expensive possessions. Use a concealed money belt, and consider carrying other items in a plastic carrier bag from a local shop. Make sure that you have a small amount of cash handy in case you are approached by a would-be mugger – there have been reports of thieves becoming aggressive if a person has nothing to hand over. It is better to lose $20 than take a beating!
Be Cash Savvy
Even when using a coin belt, only carry enough cash to last you through the day. Don’t use ATM’s at night, and try to use cash machines that are within bank buildings. Always make sure that any cash machine you use is in a busy, well-lit, public location. Conceal your pin code and watch out for people acting suspiciously nearby. If you feel under any threat, don’t make the transaction – leave and use a different ATM later on.
Favelas are areas of shanty town housing. They are deprived areas, where crime is rife. There may be drugs and weapons. They are not safe places to enter. You should only visit a favela as part of an organized tour – and even then safety is not completely guaranteed. If you find yourself in a shady looking part of town, quickly leave.
Don’t Walk Around in the Dark
As well as at night time, some areas are not safe in the early mornings before local police and security guards arrive. This is true of city streets, beaches, shopping centres, and similar. If there are very few people around, you must question why? Wait until places get a bit busier before exploring. Be aware of your surroundings.
Another safety consideration in Brazil is the threat of car-jackings. If you are thinking about hiring a car, make sure that you are aware of the trouble hot spots.
A little caution can go a long way towards staying safe in Brazil. It is better to be safe than sorry. Remember these tips about safety in Brazil, and have a wonderful adventure!