Is Rio de Janeiro Safe?
- Wednesday September 7th, 2022
- Posted by: Amanda Ennes
- Category: Rio de Janeiro
When people start to think about coming to Rio to study Portuguese at Caminhos Langage Centre, they often ask us: is Rio de Janeiro safe? Well, we do not blame you at all for being concerned. We know Rio de Janeiro seems scary for lots of tourists because of how the foreign media portrays Brazil.
However, things are not always what it seems. Yes, you need to be careful in Rio — just like in any other big city around the world.
The truth is that Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You will love to visit the stunning beaches, breathtaking attractions, and upbeat nightlife. Brazilians are also fun, friendly, and welcoming. With a little care and common sense, your trip to Rio de Janeiro can be one of the most memorable of your life!
Rio is a big city
Rio is not only the most famous town in Brazil, but it is also the second-largest city in the country. With over 6 million inhabitants, the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Region comprises 22 municipalities and over 13 million people. It is one of the most visited cities in South America, known for its natural beauty, Carnival, music, and famous landmarks.
The city is busy. There are people coming and going all the time. Nonetheless, social inequity is also visible. While there are millionaires living in Copacabana, many homeless people live in the same neighborhood. Moreover, while rich people have all the newest electronics and designer clothing money can buy, people in the favelas struggle to have access to basic needs, such as sewage treatment and electricity. We can not deny crime rates and social inequality are correlated and that is why you must be careful while visiting Rio.
Some areas in Rio are safer than others. In touristic neighborhoods, there are many police patrols around, the streets are always full of people coming and going, and there are subway stations close by, which is the safest way to commute. Neighborhoods like Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Urca, and Barra da Tijuca are fairly safe for tourists. Not only do they have amazing beaches, tourist attractions, and numerous options for nightlife, but police patrolling is also reinforced, especially during peak seasons, like summer, Carnival, and New Year’s eve.
So, when choosing where you are staying, do not think about ‘is Rio de Janeiro safe?’, rather ‘is this neighborhood safe?’
Further reading: Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro: Best Neighborhoods for Tourists.
Basic safety rules
Do not believe everything the foreign media says about Rio de Janeiro. You will be fine following these basic safety rules:
- Be conscious about where to use your smartphone. If you need to check your phone, go inside a drugstore or shopping complex.
- Do not carry your phone in the front pocket of your backpack or in the back pocket of your pants or shorts. Pickpocketing is fairly common in Rio, especially in the Centro area.
- Do not leave your personal belongings unsupervised on the beach.
- Do not go out alone at night, avoid dark streets, and prefer to walk around busy areas.
- Use the subway. The network connects all the main tourist areas, it is safe and well maintained.
- Always have a friend looking out for you if you are drunk.
- Take an Uber to go back home after a night out instead of using the bus or walking home.
- Do not use expensive items on you, such as watches and jewelry.
- Golden tip: be aware of your surroundings and use your common sense.
Ask other travelers
If you are still wondering: ‘is Rio de Janeiro safe?’, just ask other tourists about it. There are many online forums, Facebook groups, and traveler’s profiles on Instagram and YouTube that might be willing to help you. Ask them about your concerns and see if they have any tips on where to stay and what not to do while in Brazil.
Enjoy your trip
Do not believe everything you read about Rio de Janeiro. The city is as dangerous as any other big city in the world, especially in a country with such social inequality. But you will be fine taking basic safety rules.
Act like a local, be cool, and relax. Be aware of your surroundings and you will be fine!
Where to get help
If you have any problems while in Rio de Janeiro, there is a special police department to help tourists. They have police officers who speak fluent English and Spanish.
Delegacia Especial de Apoio ao Turismo – DEAT
Address: Avenida Afrânio de Melo Franco, 159 – Leblon
Phone: +55 21 2332-2924
WhatsApp: +55 21 98596-7474
Caminhos Language Centre is the largest and most exciting Portuguese school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We have an excellent infrastructure, over 15 experienced Brazilian teachers, and a friendly multilingual support staff. We are the only school in Brazil able to offer Portuguese group courses throughout the year on 10 different levels. Moreover, our school also offers more than just Portuguese lessons for foreigners, we offer you the complete Rio de Janeiro experience. Every day we organize 100% free and fun activities for you to socialize and practice your Portuguese. We can also help you with a student visa for Brazil and accommodation in Rio de Janeiro.