Rio de Janeiro is one of the most busiest cities on the planet. When my baby smiles at me, where do you go? That’s right Rio… De Janeiro. Corny, but let me have it. But there are plenty of warnings or doubts that are built into our minds when going to Rio due to safety. So is Rio Safe? Here is the safety advice when traveling there.
First and foremost, do not cross Rio off your list when I say it can be dangerous. Why? Because where in the world are we safe? Proper precaution needs to be taken here like any other place when traveling. Safety was a high concern for me before I arrived there, and I was right. I spent about a week in Rio for the infamous Rio Carnival (read about my experience) and it was scary at times. Read below for your safety and take this advice with you.
Are they as dangerous as they make out to be? Kind of. At the end of the day Favelas are neighbourhoods where locals live that have always been considered for ‘the poor.’ They are also known as slums, shanty towns or ghettos. I say they are somewhat dangerous because gangs and criminals have a lot of power in them. I would never recommend to a tourist/traveler to go into one on your own, especially at night. You are kind of asking for trouble. At the same time, these neighbourhoods are everyday suburbs and have advanced along way since they were built. The biggest in Rio, Rochina, has a hospital, schools, fresh produce and many businesses/shops. I will be posting more on the history of favelas in Rio.
Have concerns about pickpockets while here? You should. Again, this can happen in many big tourist destinations around the world but they can be a little more likely or aggressive here. During carnival there were so, so, so many people at my hostel who were being robbed or pick-pocketed or saw it happen to others. This was during carnival (again) which is like giving a golden ticket to thieves. They know it is chaotic and tourists flood the city with all our smart phones, camera, jewellery, cash, credit cards, passport etc.
During my stay in Rio, the transport I utilised was taxi, train and uber. I felt safe on all three modes. I had heard to watch yourself on buses, but that is also a general warning in South America, Europe, anywhere really. What you are best to do is ask your accommodation when you arrive of any areas to avoid. This will give you more confidence of when you should be proceeding with extra caution.
VIOLENCE ON THE STREET
During carnival, this was slightly present. We saw and heard about police beating up criminals, criminals attacking other criminals and criminals targeting tourists with knives. Again, this is at a high crime time when the city floods with tourists. Compared to other destinations, I felt I needed and wanted to exercise more attention.
IS RIO SAFE OVERALL?
Yes! It is as safe as the other places you have traveled, but be careful. This is the safety motto of the world. You always need to (or try) pay attention and look out for danger. The reality is in certain places it is dangerous in Rio De Janeiro. This is the same for Los Angeles, Mexico, Paris, Athens and Egypt, whichever country or city. My heightened awareness was due to other people scaring me before arriving and never being to this country before & hearing of prior violence.
Whoever I met I would tell them to go visit Rio. Truth is, it was an absolutely brilliant city and I really fell in love with it. The icons are incredible. Standing at the top at Christ the Redeemer is an unbelievable feeling. Going up to Sugar Loaf mountain and seeing the shore, the city, the lagoon and mountains was second to none. These are just a couple of reasons why I fell in love with it. You are missing out if you cross this city off your travel bucket list!
Make sure you read 5 Icons You Must See When Visiting Rio De Janeiro.