Watch your back!, São Paulo
My husband was on a business trip in Brazil last year. He was travelling with a business partner. They stopped to take a picture on the Anchieta Highway (from my understanding, a well-travelled toll road) in the middle of the day. They were robbed at gunpoint. My husband was shot and killed. I have read that thieves only want your money and possessions. This has shattered our lives. As a tourist, you think it can never happen to you... think again. Please take these warnings seriously.
São Paulo has its problems but is not different from any other big city all over the world... New York has 9/11, London 7/7 bombings, Madrid 3/11... I was born and raised in São Paulo, don't have a bullet proof car and I'm still alive to come here and write this review. If you know where to go, nothing will happen to you.
IT IS NOT LIKE ANY OTHER BIG CITY! IT IS ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS CITIES IN THE WORLD!!!! IT IS SO COMMON TO BE ROBBED OR KIDNAPPED THAT THERE IS NO "SHOCKED" REACTION WHEN YOU TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT!
I'm from SP - in my family (5 people) there have been 3 kidnappings, 4 armed robberies (while in car), 2 cars stolen and 3 cars broken into. IT IS COMMON TO HAVE THIS MANY OR MORE CASES LIKE THIS IN A FAMILY - and it happens to rich or poor, doesn't matter!!!!!
PLEASE BE ALERT!!!! TAKE PRECAUTIONS!!!!!
when you are walking thorugh some São Paulo´s streets, you have to be aware...
folow simple instructions:
-Never walk with jewelry,watches,notebooks through São Paulo streets, day or night..you can be an easy target for " trombadinhas"
-when you go to Ibirapuera´s Park hide your money very well
-inside cars: when car stops, never be distracted...be aware of anything surround you and close the windows..it´s better..it´s a huge city with a lot of social distortion..
-i prefer to use taxi instead bus...if you want to use São Paulo´s metrô ( subway), if you don´t know it, go there with someone who knows target..São Paulo subway is very good, one of the good things made here...
Do be careful. In Sao Paulo, as in many cities, there are many people who will take advantage if given the opportunity.
I had the misfortune of being stalked during my short visit there, but was lucky to be able to shake my pursuer.
Standard precautions are a must:
-Do not travel alone, if at all possible
-Do not walk about after dark
-Keep to public places where there are others around
If you follow these precautions, you will probably have a very enjoyable visit!
Sao Paolo is a big city and lots of tourist come here each year, some people have good experiences and the rest are not lucky. This place has high level of crime activity especially in tourist areas. The area around Se Cathedral is dangerous, be extra careful when stepping out of your car to get a photo of something. Lots of people are already watching you, so take care of your belongings all the time. Police are no where in sight so when you need help, no one will respond.
Homeless people hang around places like Luz station, Se Cathedral, Municipal theatre, Liberdade Avenue, Sao Bento monastery. Parks are not that safe either, don't stroll parks by yourself. When visiting flea markets be wary of pickpockets.
When buying bags, they might look like leather but ask first before buying, they would tell you if it's not real leather.
Taxi drivers don't have change, so carry enough small bills with you. Hire only taxi or tour guides from your hotel don't hail a taxi anywhere.
Well, SP has 16 million people, of which about 40% are poor. It means it's a violent city.
People talk a lot about violence in Brazil.. I have to admit, it's not the safest place to be in the world. Still not the worse one!
So, what I suggest, specially for typical turists: don't show off your camera(s). Don't talk to strangers, unless it's in a store, etc. People love robbing foreigners because they're nayve, so be aware on the streets and in bars.
Important thing: DON'T buy drugs in the streets (nor bars). Really. A friend of mine got ripped off by the police in Rio because he bought marijuana from a hippie in a boteco.
About traffic... well, traffic is BUSY in SP. Be carefull when crossing the streets!
Oh, and when you arrive in the airport, you can get a special bus to the city or get a taxi. Although, be sure to get a taxi related to the airport, which means you pay for your ride BEFORE (inside the airport). --> this works just in the airport. In the city, you pay the taxidriver like anywhere else in the world.
Sao Paulo is a dangerous city. Always be in the look out. As traveler we stand out and people may take an advantage. It is very comon for cars to have bullet proof windows wsuch as these Toyota Corolla.
It's not a new tip for big cities, you have to be careful with your belongings. If you are a tourist and look like one...the best thing to do is wear a moneybelt. backbags are practic to walk around, but are easy to be opened! When u r in malls or restaurants u don't have to be as careful as in the street, bus, walking, in the car...don't wear too fancy clothes to take a bus...
I used many buses and the subways...I don't look brazilian and well...nothing happened to me...but u have always to be careful, look around...try not to go to dark places alone and so on ...u probably know all this, but being careful is never too much!
Sao Paulo is unfortunately a dangerous city. High unemployment rates and social problems have led to very high crime rates, mostly in the poorer areas of the city. However, crime´s all over! But don´t worry, it´s not like you go out on the streets and you´re robbed. Shopping malls, supermarkets, banks and public buildings are safe. If you´re driving, don´t have your windows all open if you´re driving through an area which you might consider kind of suspicious. Public buses are a danger!!!! Subways are very safe. Police number... 190.
if you use common sense you'll be OK, but be alert. the city is always full of bustling crowds so just go with the flow. i did wander into some seedy neighborhoods alone... and i'm not a large woman, so it was not a good idea. A beggar attacked me, but it wasn't a big deal, just shaken nerves on my part. I normally otherwise have decent street sense, and felt pretty safe during my trip. There are lots of muggings.
DO NOT look like the 'typical tourist' wandering around, carrying a big camera in places you are not familiar with.
Do not wear gold, watches, or anything to call the attention. And ALWAYS carry a little bit of money in a separate spot where your documents and real money are (hidden). You'll never know when you'll have to 'give away' $$$. Get smart! Do not react EVER if a bandid tries to rob you - He/ She won't think twice to kill you if he/ she finds him/herself in dangerous.
There are pickpockets in Avenida Paulista and surroundings, so be attentive with your belongings. Another favorite place for pickpockets is in the centre of São Paulo (Praça da Sé and surroundings). Usually nobody helps you when someone is robbing you (if you shout for help or something). If you happen to take a bus or subway in rush hours, keep your belongings in front of you. Pickpockets do a trick when you enter a bus (they are also searching for victims in bus stops) and pretend to get on the wrong bus and suddenly decide to get off when you are entering. At this moment he/she takes the advantage to steal your wallet in your purse. If you decide to rent a car in São Paulo (air-conditioned car is better because you can keep the windows closed, also don't forget to lock the doors), be careful when you stop at traffic lights (at night is even worse that many drivers don't stop at traffic lights afraid of being robbed). Don't let bags or purses on the passenger's seat, try to hide them. If it happens that someone robs you, try to keep calm and give what the robber wants. It's advisable to keep a second wallet especially to give to robbers. If you go shopping, be attentive with your belongings, and when using credit cards keep an eye on them.
Sao Paulo is big city, so like all the big cities in the world you have to be carefull especially at night.
Other than be cerefull if the rain start, jump on a taxi or find a good area to wait....