Visitors to Rio can greatly minimise their risk by following a few common sense rules. These tips may sound alarmist but they could equally apply to any big city in the world.
In Centro, contrary to popular belief, Sunday is not the best time to stroll around – the streets are usually empty, which means you can be more easily targeted. The area around Praça Mauá, just to the north of Centro, should be avoided after nightfall, and even during the day care should be taken. In the Zona Sul’s Parque do Flamengo it’s also inadvisable to wander unaccompanied after nightfall. Similarly, tourists who choose to walk between Cosme Velho and the Corcovado have been subject to robbery and assault – both of which can be best avoided by taking the train. Copacabana ’s record has improved since the authorities started to floodlight the beach at night, but it’s still not a good idea to remain on the sand after sunset.
Share your itinerary with family or a friend
Write down your itinerary, including flights, hotel information, contact numbers and dates of travel, and give it to a friend or family member who will be able to help if anything happens. Make copies of your passport and any credit cards you'll be carrying, also.
Learn the Language of the Land
In Brazil, the national language is Portuguese, not Spanish or French or English. Learning or having access to some key phrases would be helpful.
Look Like a Local
The temperature in Rio can get into the 90s, but throwing on cutoffs or a Hawaiian shirt is just like stamping “I’m a tourist!” on your forehead. Try to keep beachwear limited to the beach; otherwise, go for the jeans-and-sneakers combo. Do not walk around wearing flashy jewellery or expensive looking items.
Make copies of your passport, driver’s license and any credit cards you are taking with you. Try to take copies with you when you do not particularly need the cards and documents.