Safety monitor - Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro has high crime ratescompared to other cities of this size and some crime is aimed at tourists. However, do not forget the majority of all foreign visitors of Brazil come to Rio de Janeiro, so chances are high that at least a few get involved. In a city with a vast number of people living in desperate poverty, it is inevitable crime rates are high.
What makes Rio de Janeiro extra complicated, is the fact that upscale and poor areas are blending into each otherin an irregular way. As it happens, even the most wealthy suburbs have their own favelas (slum areas): ‘Pavão’ and ‘Cantagalo’ in Ipanema, ‘Rocinha’ in Leblon and ‘Ladeira dos Tabajaras’ and ‘Cabritos’ in Copacabana. While Brazilian society is very much a class system, the geography of many metropolitan areas, among them very much Rio de Janeiro, provide for inevitable encounters between the classes in the streets.
This means in practice that it is not always clear to a visitor where one neighbourhood ends and the other begins: before you know it you are in a dodgy area. Ask at the reception of your accommodation one can point out the unsafe areas around.
Here is some more specific safety advice concerning Rio de Janeiro (beside our general safety advice, which should be examined thoroughly by every Rio visitor):
• Lapa and Santa Teresa are lovely neighbourhoods but unfortunately also areas where you must have your guards up. Avoid walking in empty streets here at all times.
• Centro is packed on weekdays during the day and fairly safe to explore on foot (but avoid quiet areas). However, stay clear of this area after dusk and in the weekends, when it becomes deserted.
• On the contrary, a visit to National Park Tijuca is best planned on weekends, because then it is a popular destination for Rio families. Make sure you do not wander off to deserted parts anyhow.
• The least safe parts in Copacabana are roughly between Posto 2 and 3 and around some high end hotels, especially after dusk.
• Jogging along Copacabana beach in the morning is popular, but joggers are vulnerable as long as the police is not around. Do not go too early.
Never go to any of the beaches between dusk and dawn.
• Never walk into a favela (shanty town), unless accompanied by someone reliable you know and who knows the area by heart. Otherwise, you can only
visit favelas safely on guided tours.
Move around by taxi (or the combination of metro and taxi), especially at night.
More safety advice
Specific safety advice concerning Rio de Janeiro Street Carnival