Thank you for subscribing!
Got it! Thank you!

We're upgrading the Forums!

You can now add or change a profile photo. Simply click on your username above and upload an image. User blogs will be added back very soon.


Forums » Brazil » Brazil: Safety and Other Concerns


Brazil: Safety and Other Concerns

by solemn »


We have booked a cruse trip in the Galapagos for May 2014.  Presently we are reviewing our land portion of this vacation.  Originally we were only going to do Peru, however, we were instilled with the idea of doing other locations in South America by our travel agent.  This seems like a good idea, in that, we are not likely to return to South America due to others locations with a higher priority on our travel list.  My concern is Brazil, with safety of a major concern due to the ongoing riot’s currently taking place in the streets.  There are things that in general flag us as easy targets. We are older (near seventy years of age), we like to go on our own, and I generally carry what others perceive to be expensive camera gear.  Specifically our question is: Should Brazil not be considered at this time?  Should we forgo what we like best about traveling and chose group travel for the land arrangement instead of self-directed? And please don’t stop there…tell me what I have failed to ask. Thank you 

RE: Brazil: Safety and Other Concerns

by angelaf »

Hi Solemn.

The key important thing that you have failed to ask is if the media is reporting the events accurately or in the grossly exaggerated manner that “sells” so-called "news". (And if what you seem to have read or heard previous to this also falls into the category of not-really-accurate.)

There are no “riots” in Brazil. People are protesting, are bringing their young children into the streets with them to march in this historic situation, to try to address the severe and entrenched problems with inadequate schools, corrupt politicians, poor healthcare and other important socio-economic issues in Brazil. The media chooses to focus on the very few troublemakers. And yes, some Brazilians do think that disrupting the life of foreign tourists, as in blocking traffic where they may be in transit, brings these issues to the tourists' attention and embarrasses the government; embarrassment, unfortunately, is not going to cause substantial change by a government that in recent history rewrote the constitution and brought in a dictator, but these particular disruptions have at any rate been minor.
Let me save more time and space and point you toward a similar doubt which came up in the middle of this thread:

Brazil can be quite comfortable to travel around, but a great deal of your safety lies in your own actions and judgement. Larger cities, especially Rio, where the socio-economic differences are wider and more side-by-side, are quite different, as in many parts of the world, from smaller seaside towns/beaches, rural areas and smaller cities/towns, which are more tranquil and relaxed. Plan enough time to explore some of these tranquil and often historic places, as well as Rio.

As a resourceful traveler, travel on your own is quite possible and practical in Brazil, no matter your age or appearance. In the cities, taxis are relatively cheap, safe and easy to find. Airport shuttle buses are often available. The intercity bus system is excellent and very comfortable. Flights are available and safe. You can book your own hotel, pousada, or short-term apartment quite easily on your own, according to your budget.

The issue of using your good judgement, mentioned above, includes deliberately choosing to make yourself stand out, to call unnecessary attention to yourself as rich (you may not think you are, but someone who does hard physical labor for about U$200 a month to support an entire family may disagree), and to place yourself in isolated surroundings to become more vulnerable.  If you choose to show items in public that equal what a passerby earns in several months to support his family, this is not using good judgment IMO.

Specifically regarding your expensive camera in Rio, you can take a taxi to the ticketed heights of Corcovado and Sugarloaf (populated only by other tourists), with the camera in a plain plastic Brazilian grocery store bag or similar, take your photos and return by taxi to your hotel. Otherwise, I suggest a small digital camera with a good lens, that you can use discreetly and put away immediately after use. Outside the bigger cities, this is not such an issue.

Let me reassure you that, as a woman of almost your own age who does not look particualrly Brazilian (although Brazilians do  come in all "varieties"), I have been traveling around Brazil, often solo, for decades with no incidents to report. The Brazilian people are warm, welcoming and helpful, the true diamonds of any visit.

If you have any further questions, or would like more help planning your Brazil visit, please post again. I would be happy to assist you to discover a country I am passionate about.

alice w

RE: Brazil: Safety and Other Concerns

by alice w »

Hi Angela,

thanks for your great and insightfuo post about safety, the so-called "riots," social inequalities etc. etc.  I am a solo traveler right now in Brazil, going to Ouru Preto and Brasilia a few days each, with a few more for Rio.  I would welcome your suggestions.  Your post gave me courage to be a little more advenurous than I usually am.  Many thanks.  


RE: Brazil: Safety and Other Concerns

by angelaf »

In Response to Re: Brazil: Safety and Other Concerns:[QUOTE]Hi Angela, thanks for your great and insightfuo post about safety, the so-called "riots," social inequalities etc. etc.  I am a solo traveler right now in Brazil, going to Ouru Preto and Brasilia a few days each, with a few more for Rio.  I would welcome your suggestions.  Your post gave me courage to be a little more advenurous than I usually am.  Many thanks.  Posted by Alice W[/QUOTE]

Hi Alice.

You should have no problems traveling in Brasilia, nor in Ouro Preto. 

Brasilia is a bit hard to get around if you don't have a car, so maybe book some sort of tour or hire a taxi. I am not overly fond of the architecture, but I do like the huge swimming pools in the National Park at the far end of the Asa Norte. Sometimes the art museum has a  decent show. The JK Bridge is the best piece of architecture in town IMO. The TV tower, inthe middle of the hotel zone, gives a good view of the city, and there is a gem/rock museum in the building too. 

Ouro Preto is good for walking (although watch out for the cobblestones!). The Colonial town of Mariana and a visit-able gold mne are close by also. Downtown in Belo Horozinte, including around the bus station (rodoviaria)  from where you might pick up the bus to Ouro Preto, you should be vigilant, but not worried. If you are in B.H. on a Sunday, go to the huge feira downtown, with everything from food to clothes to house decoration. Sabara is another of the Colonial towns, one that evolved into a suburb of B.H. and is accessible by local bus. See the beautiful little Chapel of O among other things.

You could take the bus from O.P. south to Sao Joao del Rey/Tiradentes (there is a weekend steam train/Maria Fumaca between them) and I believe fromthere to Rio on a 6-7 hour bus or an overnight sleeper bus. Consult for schedules. Buses are very comfortable, but bring some warmer clothes as the AC can be very cold. You could also add a quick stop in Congonhas to see the famous sculptures dramatically overlooking the valley.

A good introductory site to Rio is

One of my favorite things is the commuter ferry ride from Praca XV downtown (near the Santos Dumont in-town airport) across the bay to Niteroi (12 minute ride, leaves every 15, great views back over to Rio). You can take more photos in the city park near the dock, see the Neimeyer designed art museum and eat lunch at the fish market. Be vigilant, don't show valuables, and take taxis at night from place to place, although the main streets of Copacabana and Ipanema arebusy and  Ok to stroll even after dark.

I've been traveling in Brazil for a couple of decades, often solo, and haven't run into problems with safety or sexual harrassment, so if you have good judgement, and use it, you too should be fine and have a memorable trip.

Post if you have additional questions. (This forum is so slow these days, it's nice to have your 'live' voice.)



RE: Brazil: Safety and Other Concerns

by melissaD »

Good afternoon!

In reading these earlier posts I wanted to ask if you had any suggestions regarding travel from Salvador to Manaus this July. I'm worried as I will be traveling alone but I'd like to see the amazon river, etc. I read that the bus system will probably not be operating due to the world cup and that buses are expensive. After reading an older edition of Frommer's I was hoping there may be some sort of transportation by boat?

Thank you very much!


RE: Brazil: Safety and Other Concerns

by RioManagement »

Brazil is a changing. The country has begun to be more safe, especially during large sport events like the World Cup in 2014. Nothing went wrong and no incidents accurate because everybody was prepared. Next year, this country will host the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and I'm sure everything will be fine for the tourist!