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Rio Safety

Los Angeles, CA
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Rio Safety

This topic is discussed often on Tripadvisor forums, but I wanted to add my two cents after benefiting from so many others' writings on this forum. My wife and I [early 30s] recently returned from a week in Rio [Trip Report forthcoming]. We live in Los Angeles and this was our first trip to South America, so I relied heavily on reports posted in this space. Based on certain posts, you would think you were walking into a warzone! Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, I didn't feel unsafe at any point while in Rio, though I can understand guide book recommendations against wandering around in Lapa during the day since it does have a seedy feel to it.

To be clear: We were staying in Leblon, which is a very nice area where security is not an issue. We walked from Leblon to Copacabana during day with no issues and walked around Leblon at night with no problems. [I only mention these unremarkable facts because so many people recommend taking cabs for the shortest of distances.] The metro was safe and clean as well. In many ways, safety/security in Rio compared favorably to Los Angeles. That's not to say that there aren't pockets of questionable blocks, but you get that in any city.

I would venture to guess that Rio's reputation for tourist crime comes primarily from the fact that so many tourists stay in Copacabana. Ipanema and Leblon seem nicer and other areas like Niteroi and Botafogo seem more democratic and less touristy.

One post in this space made a big deal of the fact that Rio police/guidebooks/etc. recommend against walking alone on the beach at night. To put this in perspective, I heard the same thing from locals in Oahu.

Rio is fantastic. I can't wait to go back.

Rio Maximo
Boat Tours, City Tours, Private Tours, Day Trips, Sightseeing Tours
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Bernard - Rio de Janeiro Private Tours
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Rio de Janeiro
Destination Expert
for Rio de Janeiro
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2,785 posts
16 reviews
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1. Re: Rio Safety

thanks, man.

your opinion really help us to change this fake idea about Rio as a hell in the earth.

Welcome,

Brazil Rio

memphis
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386 posts
1 review
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2. Re: Rio Safety

"Fortis fortuna adiuvat".

Lunenburg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu National Park
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3. Re: Rio Safety

Bravo, LA!

What you saw with your own eyes is what we found. We stayed in Barra da Tijuca, overlooking the beach. Everything was safe and friendly.

We walked at night. Our hotelier told us it was OK, and she was right.

Some writers on this Trip Advisor site seem constantly at work trying to discourage people from going to Rio, citing police crime statistics and TV news reports. As you well know, though, you would never visit Los Angeles if all you had to go on were police dope sheets and the Eleven O'clock News.

The truth is far different, as I found and as you have now seen for yourself. Keep up the good work!

David

memphis
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386 posts
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4. Re: Rio Safety

Barra da Tijuca?? you weren't even in Rio...lol

Lunenburg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu National Park
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3,838 posts
6 reviews
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5. Re: Rio Safety

That's what you think, Memphis!

We shopped all afternoon in the heart of central Rio, both in the fashionable shops and in the little laneways of discount markets. We walked with our arms loaded with parcels. No one made a move for our purchases or our valuables.

Lots of other people were shopping too. Evidently, they weren't in fear either.

We parked our rental car in one of the bigger public parking lots, the one with attendants carrying mylar parasol umbrellas. We deposited purchases in the back seat, locked the car and then went looking for more. No one raided our rental car either, thanks to the security guys under the silvered bumbershoots.

We felt quite safe, everywhere we went in Rio.

In fact, on our way down from Christ of Corcovado, we made a wrong turn and wound up in one of the favelas, those projects that guide books say no tourist should dare enter under any circumstances. No one paid us any attention. We didn't stop to do an impromptu walk-about, but even the favelas are not nearly as bad as the fear mongerers would have you believe.

David

Salvador, BA
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8,202 posts
1 review
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6. Re: Rio Safety

I am not hardly one of the subscribers to the "Rio as Sodom" school, but it only takes one second for "we never felt in fear" to change. For example, we were strolling tranquilly not long ago in one of the areas touted as safe above, amongst numbers of shoppers and folks returning from work, when a youth came pelting down the center of the street pursued by two middle-aged well-dressed guys. It appeared they had been robbed. Probably they hadn't been anticipating it. From one moment to the next the situation changed for them. As it could for any one of us.

It is all well and good trumpeting what happened to you in the brief moment you spent in Rio, but this is easily misconstrued to be advice to tourists that they can walk around oblivious.

I am pleased to hear youe solw brief visit was unfazed by problems. Please come back to visit again soon and please remain vigilant when you do.

Sao Paulo,Brazil
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1,932 posts
32 reviews
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7. Re: Rio Safety

And here we go again. For those who advocate the false thesis that all big cities are the same:

"Drug traffickers shot down a police helicopter during a gunbattle between rival gangs Saturday, killing two officers and injuring four in a burst of violence just"

memphis
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386 posts
1 review
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8. Re: Rio Safety

google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5juJkP…

Rome
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1,708 posts
6 reviews
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9. Re: Rio Safety

I feel sympathy towards those affected by recent events in Vila Isabel in Northern Rio BUT hello....Morro dos Macacos favela is not among Rio's tourist attractions.

Brazil
Destination Expert
for Sao Paulo
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7,972 posts
34 reviews
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10. Re: Rio Safety

As sad as it is, my husband spent the weekend in Rio just knew about it the same way you and me...by the papers!

It IS a terrible thing this kind of "civil war" but tourists are hardly affected by it.