Safety and Brazil: What You Need To Know

Be careful, Brazil is dangerous. This is the resounding consensus of everyone I spoke to about Brazil prior to my trip. None of the advice I received was from people who actually visited Rio, but instead I heard multiple recounts of safety precautions from friends-of-friends. By the time the trip came around, I was fully prepared to be robbed, kidnapped, kidneys stolen… Not a great feeling prior to your holiday, right?

But I’d like to set the record straight. Rio and Salvador were no more dangerous then any other foreign country I’ve traveled to. Sure, if you walk into a favela (slum) with a big wad of cash out and your LV purse, you might get mugged. But if you practice common travel smarts, you’re no more likely to get into trouble than any other tourist destination in the world. I would even go as far as to say I felt safer on the streets of Brazil than other more popular destinations in Asia, Europe, and even the U.S. In Brazil I was not once hassled on the street, and that’s more than I can say for my daily commute in New York.

I could rant on this forever because Brazil’s overly generalized safety precautions really strike a nerve. That is not to say that there aren’t bad things that go on there, but from my experiences it just does not extend to the tourism realm in cities like Rio and Salvador. It’s sad that the country gets such a bad wrap when the people and culture are so kind, and more genuine than many of the countries I’ve traveled to. So I’ll leave it at that. If you have any sense of adventure and are willing to open your mind to a new place, I highly recommend this South American gem.

Post updated on August 1, 2018.