Solteropolitanos ( Salvador natives) are very friendly. There are not a lot of English-speakers, so try to learn a little Portuguese before you arrive. A good phrase book helps as well, or some usful phrases jotted down where you can easily access them.
The tropical sun is strong. Bring sunblock with a high SPF and apply it even if you are just planning to walk around. It can be purchased on arrival, but is generally more expensive than at home. Also bring good sunglasses with UVF protection. They are expensive to purchase inBrazil, although cheap, low quality sunglasses are available.
Salvador is a safe spot for single females traveling. It is usually safe to walk alone through the heavily-policed historic district during the day, and in the other tourist neighborhood of Barra, as well as at most of the beaches and tourist sights. In the areas with restaurants and music, it is not uncomfortable at most hours and things do run late. There also is a pretty good police presence around late in the historic district.
Crime against tourists
Salvador is the fourth largest city in Brazil . Some Brazilians go out of there way to tell you how they purposely moved back to Salvador from what they describe as the violence and danger of the southern cities of Rio and Sao Paulo . Still, like other major cities worldwide, crime occurs.
Be respectful of the city's size and the fact that there are major extremes in wealth. The minimum salary is about R$400 a month and a local newspaper recently reported that 3 out of 4 people in Bahia survive, and support families, on that amount alone. Many people without fixed or official jobs survive on even less. That is not to say that the people surviving on the minimum or less are the ones committing crime; rather, it is to point out the context that you, the visitor, are entering. Also, unemployment and underemployment are high. There are many overqualified individuals for too few jobs.
Tourists may expect to be targets of sorts, especially for petty crimes like pick-pocketing etc. How to avoid this? It’s not too hard. Just do what Brazilians do!
- When you go to the beach, don't bring a lot with you. Bring just enough cash to rent a chair and umbrella, and a few reis for an agua de coco. Many Brazilians just go to the beach in a sunga or a bikini and canga. When you go in the water, ask your neighbor to watch your flip flops for you. S/he will do the same for you.
- Don't wear expensive jewelry. If you wear a watch, get a cheap one you wouldn't mind losing..
- Be discrete with your cash. Don't pull it out and count out your wad of bills in the open air. That's just disrespectful, and, well, stupid. Instead, anticipate what you might need and have it ready in your pocket or wallet in advance. Or go into the bathroom and organize your money. Don't bring a lot of cash out with you. Try to change your large bills at the supermarket or a fancy restaurant. Don’t keep a lot of cash in your pockets where it can easily be removed by pickpockets.
- Don't wear flashy, expensive clothes. In Salvador , it’s usually warm, and clean shorts or a skirt and a tanktop and flip flops are perfectly acceptable just about anywhere. You can buy it all in Brazil if you need to.
- Use your digital camera with discretion. In the touristy areas, it shouldn't be a problem. Carry your camera in an inconspicuous and well–secured bag..
- When you are walking around, act like you know where you are going. Be aware of your surroundings, on occasion turn around and look at folks, and let them pass you. If you are walking somewhere, particularly at night, walk with people. Avoid empty streets or alleys, especially at night, and be particularly careful not to use the ladeiras (steep alleys) and any other deserted streets on the edges of Pelourinho. .Avoid the area behind the Farol in Barra.
- Some people try to get your attention; usually, they are asking for money. Some may be children. (There is probably some genuine need involved, but using children to beg is also considered somewhat of a scam.) You can choose to ignore them, repeat nao if they approach you or wave your extended index finger from side to side. On the other hand, you could choose to have some change ready to give people. Also consider locating some legitimate charities in Salvador which would be grateful for your donations.
- All that being said, don't get too intimidated by all the scare stories! Its like most big cities. Respect the place and it is easy to have a safe and enjoyable trip to Salvador !
There are plenty of street vendors with excellent standards. Just scope things out and use your judgment. Water
You can buy cold bottled water (agua mineral or agua com gas) on the street for R$1, as well as soda (refrigerante
) usually R$1.5. Liter–sized bottles of water are readily available in the supermarket. Ice is not often a major issue, since it is usually made with filtered water. Juices in hotels and restaurants are fine for the same reason. Or get a beer, cerveja, bem gelado.
Hotel tap water, and that of many homes, is filtered. It is OK to brush your teeth with the tap water. Popsicles that appear home-made should be avoided, but there are many tempting ones that let you safely sample the wonderful tropical fruit flavors, including the local Capelina brand made right in Salvador .
: The best advice is to consult a travel medicine specialist, ideally one who has personal experience in Brazil )
(Note: Any information given here is not by a professional and is not to be regarded as such.)
Vaccinations for Hepatitis are recommended.
Make sure your tetanus shots are up to date.
Here is a link from mdtravelhealth.com that should cover most vaccination questions in detail. http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/destina... Mosquito borne illnesses
Bringing some potent mosquito repellent with a high percentage of Deet can come in handy. It is hard to finding Brazil . It may come in handy, especially if you are travelling into the interior
Regarding Yellow Fever
(febre amarelo), there are two reasons for getting vaccinated; to protect yourself from outbreaks in Brazil and to protect Brazilians when arriving from a country where Yellow Fever exists, as required for entry. The site mdtravelhealth.com
says : " Yellow fever
vaccine is recommended for all those greater than nine months of age traveling to areas in Brazil where yellow fever occurs (Acre, Amapa, Amazones, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sol, Minas Gerais, Para, Rondonia, Roraima, and Tocantins, and parts of the states of Bahia, Parana, Piaui, Rio Grande do Sul, and Sao Paulo) See the CDC map
for details. Yellow fever vaccine is recommended for Iguacu Falls, but is not necessary for the coastal cities, including Rio de Janeiro , Sao Paulo , Salvador , Recife , and Fortaleza . Yellow fever vaccine is required
for travelers greater than nine months of age arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country in Africa
(Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Sudan) or the Americas
, (Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru) Malaria
is not generally a problem in the Salvador area. Consult the CDC site for more information.Dengue
fever is an intermittent problem, especially during the rainy season. There is no injection to prevent dengue. Most large cities and smaller towns have a program to spray, including Salvador . Mosquitos that carry dengue are active in the morning, as well as at night. Use repellent. Symptoms may resemble flu and show up about 10 days after being bitten. Fluids and bed rest are used for most cases, but some may be of a more severe type. Consult a physician and tell him/her where you have been travelling.
Hospitals, doctors, dentists, pharmacies
Salvador has some excellent doctors and hospitals, if you have an emergency. Ask at your accommodation for the nearest one. You will be asked to pay for your care when seen.
Pharmacies sell over-the-counter medicine for a variety of conditions, some of which might be more regulated in other countries. Counter personnel are generally well informed.
Emergency dental problems, as well as routine ones, are often more economical to treat in Brazil , which has many dentists who do good-quality work. In Salvador , one English speaking dentist can be reached at 3332-3420.