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Concerned

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Nova Scotia
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Concerned

Hi everyone We recently booked a two week trip to Copacabana Palace in Rio, but have been reading the Canadian Government traveller website and are concerned if we really should be even going here. It sounds really dangerous. We have travelled quite a bit in the south and the carribean but always to an allinclusive so this will be our first venture to a city and not an allinclusive. We are really worried that things are not going to go well. I know street sense and good old common sense goes a long way but is this all it takes here? Thanks for your input, you guys are a wealth of information.

San Diego...
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1. Re: Concerned

you've got to be kidding me !!!!!!!!! please tell us you are joking.

first of all, where there no canadians in the pan-am games last month??? were there no canadian press people here in rio , either??

i find this to be incredulous.

tell this forum just what the canadian government traveller website has to say.

DJ
Princeton, New...
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2. Re: Concerned

Go to Rio and enjoy this completely unique and beautiful city. It's not free of problems, but millions of people visit Rio every year and leave with a sense of awe (and all of their belongings).

Cambs
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3. Re: Concerned

I must say that I was quite wary before my first trip to Rio. I’d read that it was a dangerous city, that you had to watch your back all the time, and that you should be prepared for a possible attack or mugging to happen. I must admit I did get into a couple of awkward situations which were brought about by my responding to people who came up to me on the seafront. I thought they were being friendly but it turned out they wanted money from me. It was a bit of a hassle. In fact it was quite annoying to have people hassling me. In the end I decided to ignore them (rude I know) but it was the only way I could cope the situation. So, if someone comes up you and tries to engage you in conversation be careful – just smile and move on or repond to them in a language they couldn’t possibly know and they should just move on. Another thing to watch out for – unconnected I know – is the state of the pavements in Rio. You find many loose/missing paving slaps, and sometimes parts of pavements stick up or out at awkward angles so do be aware of that. Most of the hassly experiences I had took place on the seafront. Away from there, it’s different although I did get stuff placed on my shoe a couple of times, with someone then coming after me offering to clean it off, on the Avenida de Nossa Senora. I just grimaced and moved on and the guy went away (slightly shame-faced).

I think most tourists come to Rio and leave happy, having had no adverse experiences. Just be aware of your surroundings and if you feel you want to get out of a situation, just do it – don’t feel awkward or if you’re being rude. Contrary to what some people believe, I have the impression that violent attacks on tourists are rare. At worst, certain unscrupulous people may try to take advantage of the fact that you are new to Rio and Brazil but if you are aware of this then the chances of it happening are much reduced!

I would advise you to see other parts of the city as well as the beach area. I went to Niteroi on the ferry and took a taxi to the Museum of Modern Art. Don't forget your camera if you do this. You'll get some stunning photos from the terrace of the museum.

London
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4. Re: Concerned

Rio's a touch racier that Nova Scotia I daresay, but I know which I prefer! Incidentally I was once panhandled on Rio by, er, a Canadian.

Seattle, Washington
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193 posts
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5. Re: Concerned

I was in Rio for the first time last month (2.5 weeks, for the Pan Am Games partly). We went to so many different parts of the city - from Buzios to Centro, Niteroi, Barra de Tijuca, Tijuca Forest, Pedra de Guaratiba, Botanical Garden, Sugar Loaf, Corcovado, Leme, Lapa, Ipanema, Leblon... I know it sounds exhausting, but it WAS over 2 and a half weeks! - and it was amazing! Don't let the fearmongers keep you from going!!!!

We (US citizens) had no problems whatsoever. Our gov't also posts safety warnings (which another athlete parent was "kind" enough to email to us...whole other story) and I had read enough before we went to know that safety might be an issue, but wasn't overly concerned. We stayed with friends in the Tijuca neighborhood so we had our own personal tour guide and guard, but never did I really feel nervous or unsafe - even on the subway coming back from Centro in the evening. Our hostess did stop us a couple of times as we were walking downtown so that we could avoid someone she felt was unsavory; and once she steered us over to stand near one of the ubiquitous policy officers for a few minutes to let someone go past that she didn't like - but other than that all seemed very safe.

We of course did not wear jewelry, flash wallets or cameras without being very aware of what was around us. We also don't dress all that well :~) so didn't look very wealthy, I'm sure.

Oh, one other thing - when we were in the crowd heading into the closing ceremonies of the games (at the Maracana), our friend had a small backpack type purse - she switched it around to the front saying "I know my people". You just have to be smart!!

Atlanta, Ga
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424 posts
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6. Re: Concerned

how many times must we go through this?? Search the archives

DJ
Princeton, New...
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7. Re: Concerned

Probably as many times as we have to answer questions about whether to bring USD or Sterling or use travelers cheques or ATM cards or tell horndogs whether to go HELP or a terma.

ottawa
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8. Re: Concerned

Hi, just returned from 1 week stay in rio. I stayed in the barra area but also did the regular tours everywhere else. Just use common sense stick to the regular travelled paths If you do wonder a couple streets back start watching for cream on your shoe and then you know your about as deep in the city as you want to go,hehe. Go to rio have a good time it's an amazing city, mountains,ocean, beautiful. You'll know the places to stay away from when you get there for instance I don't recommend a walk in the favela's. Have a good trip it really is a must see.

Lunenburg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu National Park
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9. Re: Concerned

Hi Gypsy!

I see that the fear mongerers are at it again. Time to reprint a posting I've done for others about our November 2006 trip to Rio, and elsewhere in Brazil. My apologies to those who may already have read it:

We're Canadians from Nova Scotia.

I've read several of the writings that others sent in reply to your question. I'm sure all of them mean well, but they tend to leave indelibly the impression that Brazil is scary and that your safety is largely a matter of luck. It's not. It's safe. We loved it, and we'll definitely be back.

We just finished our first (but absolutely not our last!) two week trip to Brazil.

Before we left Canada, we saw the same doleful fear stories you're now getting. Like you, we debated whether we should back out. Well now I'm home, so let me tell you what things are really like. For ordinary travelers, that is, who stay in ordinary hotels and don't go with tour groups and guides.

We found everywhere we went in Rio safe and friendly. (And the same for Sao Paulo. We stayed on Paulista Avenue.) We saw no crime, nor did we ever once find ourselves in a situation where we feared we were about to become a statistic. And I emphasize: it was not just that nothing happened to us. Everywhere, we found people out and about, not in the least worried about the wildly prevalent crime that those who have never been to Brazil are telling you about. The happy ambience everyplace we went convinces me that we actually were safe, all the time.

We stayed in Barra da Tijuca, about 30 minutes or so from the heart of Rio de Janeiro. When we arrived, we started out frightened from all the horror stories. They all turned out to be false. We walked the streets of Barra at night. Our hotelier said we'd be OK. No problems. No bad guys. We went up to Sugarloaf at night. No trouble.

We drove up to the famous Christ statue atop Corcovado. Coming down, we made a wrong turn and wound up in a favela (the kind they say no tourist should dare enter, under any circumstances). No one even bothered to look at us.

We parked the car in a lot in Rio. There are at least a half-dozen uniformed parking attendants to watch the cars (carrying reflective solar umbrellas to shade their heads). We shopped for five hours in the stores and the little shops of the walking quarter. (With frequent hydration and snack stops.) Everything was safe, even with our arms loaded with parcels.

Don't believe any of the foolishness you read in guide books (and from some writers) about buying special Brazilian wardrobes and leaving your wedding ring at home. These yarns may sell books, but they don't reflect reality in the least. Ordinary Brazilians wear their rings and dress for warm weather the same as you do (only, the men are less likely to wear shorts). Short of wearing knee socks with your sandals, you'll blend right in.

From Rio south, the majority of Brazilians are Europeans, including redheads. You won't stand out, any more than the other tens of millions of European-Brazilians do. (If you happen to be a member of another ethnic group, such as Chinese to give one example, you'll find your number well represented in multi-ethnic Brazil too.) I found that lots of Brazilian women color their hair blonde, much as anyplace else.

I'm convinced that a lot of the wild fear mongering you've read comes from people who've never been to Brazil, but rather post excerpts out of guide books, perhaps after watching the TV news. You can become a victim of crime anywhere, in London or Toronto as easily as in Rio. But everywhere we went in Brazil, Rio included, we found people friendly and the streets safe. Having actually been there, I'm convinced you will too.

I invite you to e-mail if I can help further. If I'm wrong, I promise to make a 100 dollar memorial donation in your name to the charity of your choice. But seriously, in 17 days, we never had a single moment when we felt nervous in Brazil. I know you'll love it!

David

capetien10@gmail.com

San Diego...
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10. Re: Concerned

ah yes, i believe i ask you to keep that report handy and repost it as needed.

THANKS AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!

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