Safety monitor - Salvador
While being in Salvador, you will notice the
heavily patrolled streets in Pelourinhoand in some spots of the Lower Town (around Mercado Modelo for instance). This is not for nothing; the inequality between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ is enormous in Salvador, even to Brazilian standards.
The city has been suffering for years from the reputation being an
unsafe destination. In contrary to other
large cities in Brazil, crime was very much also aimed at tourists, so the local authorities, keen on not losing the tourist buck, had to do something. They succeeded to some extent, but Salvador is still a city where you have to keep your wits: check thoroughly our general safety advice.
Specific safety advice for Salvador:
– Never count solely on the protection of police officers. Their presence in the tourist areas certainly is a preventive remedy, but it does not automatically mean they are effective in case of a calamity.
– If travelling between Pelourinho/ Upper Town and Lower Town, never do this on foot; always use either a taxi or the elevator and cable cart.
– Beware of pickpockets in Pelourinho, especially during
Carnavaland on the busy Tuesday nights. Salvadorian pickpockets are not into age discrimination: they come and go from very young to very old.
– Mentioning Carnaval: The festival in Salvador is very lively, but not for the faint-hearted. More information on the Salvador Carnival page.
– Some areas in the Pelourinho can be dodgy and unsafe, also in daytime; stick to reasonably crowded parts.
– Avoid the Lower Town entirely on foot at night and on weekends.
– Avoid the beaches between dusk and dawn.
– Women should ignore unwanted attention from men entirely, in order to avoid further harassment.
– Salvador is notorious for begging, directly and indirectly. If you are approached involuntarily, the best thing is to ignore the person or you will be hassled more.
More safety advice
Specific safety advice concerning Salvador Street Carnival