Rio de Janeiro Warnings and Dangers

  • Warnings and Dangers
    by easterntrekker
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by JohnniOmani
  • Can't show beautiful night view, camera stolen
    Can't show beautiful night view, camera...
    by sejj

Most Recent Warnings and Dangers in Rio de Janeiro

  • Rio is A LOT SAFER than you think : keep cool.

    by axelexa Updated May 26, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When I read your messages about Danger in Rio I am very sad and I feel quite angry about that. I have been living in Rio for 3 years, in the nice district of Santa Teresa. I am a 26 years old french guy and I have a "typical french looking". I have never suffered from any kind of robbery or attack in Rio. I go out at night several times a week and I have no fear to walk in any district of the city, at any time of the night or day... 40 friends and relatives visited me during these 3 years, and I never had to go to the PoliceStation with one of them. Never. New Year's Eve and Carnival including.
    SO, I am quite fed up to read your messages, which frighten future visitors. I am a tour guide and I feel very sorry when tourists always ask me : Copacabana "is it safe?". Lapa? "is it safe?". Santa teresa "is it safe?". Maracana Stadium "is it safe?" come on ...
    !!! YES IT IS !!!
    Rio is an amazing city, with a wonderful people. Like EVERY big city in the world, you might be careful with your belongings and your behaviour. And everything is going to be fine. Rio suffers from a violent image because of its past, but most of people who visited the city didnt have problems and didnt complain at all. Yes of course some visitors might be robbed, but that happens also in Barcelona, Paris, New York, isn't it? I would like people to stop this paranoia thing that Rio is "the most dangerous city in South America". If you have this idea in mind when visiting the city, it will be written on your face "I am scared", and if I were a thief, for sure I will attack you! Keep cool and natural, just be "zen"! and it will be more than ok. Trust Me.
    The City is making a lot of efforts to better the safety in Rio, and it is working quite well so far. Crimes are decreasing a lot thanks to a new Police Program called "UPP", which is a new Police Unit, pacifying the favelas/slums.

    see below just to give you an example:

    it says that murders decreased to 32% compared to 2009, that stolen cars decreased to 27,7% compared to 2000 and so on.

    Come and Enjoy Rio, I am sure you will have a wonderful time in this city, which will be THE place to be in 2014 (final of the football world cup) and 2016 (Olympics Games).

    "um forte abraço"

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Santa Teresa - muggers on the look out

    by xellebelx Written May 26, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Me and my friend stayed in a hostel in Santa Teresa, beautiful looking area. But the problem is, is that it's fairly quiet and it is also very close to the favelas.
    On our first day there, we went for a walk in broad daylight, and as soon as we were on a pretty much deserted part (there were only a few older ladies around), two guys came up to us holding a huge knife. and they started pulling at our bags. We weren't flashing anything valuable, I think the bag just screamed : take me!
    Needless to say the next three days we were there we only took taxi's and we didn't want to set any foot in that area again, as we were pretty much traumatised.
    Surprisingly enough a couple of hours later the police did find my bag, but of course my camera and (little) money was taken from it. The police later that day even brought 'a suspect' around our hostel in their car for us to identify.

    I think you can NOT be careful enough walking around in that area esp when you are very european looking and are quite obviously a tourist... DO NOT take any bag, not even a plastic one (like was suggested by our hostel), IF you want to bring your camera put it in your pocket and make sure it's not visible you are carrying it. Also make sure you carry some money with you, little enough that could make a mugger satisfied, as they WILL use their weapon.

    Was this review helpful?

  • madtraveller's Profile Photo

    Rio. Santa Teresa neighborhood. Mugging!

    by madtraveller Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Above Lapa, to the west, is the hilly Santa Teresa neighbourhood, with its narrow, winding streets, stone stairs and turn-of-the-century homes. A favorite among artists and intellectuals, Santa Teresa also hosts an annual arts festival. A nice way to visit the area is to take the scenic Bondinho de Santa Teresa (Santa Teresa streetcar), which has been in operation since 1896. (Don’t take along valuables or cameras—passengers are occasionally mugged.)

    Just returned form a trip to Rio. My girlfriend and I were mugged in The Santa Teresa neighbourhood. We lost our camera and I was stabbed in the left shoulder.

    Was this review helpful?

  • MartaBotelho's Profile Photo


    by MartaBotelho Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Rio de Janeiro's downtown has always been associated with danger. During the week a lot of people go there to work on the many building companies. The neighbourhoods around are great places to shop. It is in this area that you can find the best prices. Of course it's a bit like the black market. It is normal to see the PM's (Policia Militar) getting into small fights with the "Camelos" (the street vendors). This generates sometimes some stress amongst the people passing by, but usualy it stops as fast as it began. It is though important for you to have your eyes wide open when you go to this area. On weekends and after 5 pm this is not a good area for a tourist to walk by. Everything is closed and the criminals take over the street. Also homeless people seek for protection under the building entrances and the parks.
    On the steps of Candelaria church a massacre took place almost 11 years ago. Off the duty PM's shot against 9 of the 50 orphan street children that used to spend the night under the divine protection of the church. Of the "Meninos da Candelaria" (Candelaria Children) only 1 survided. The other ran and never came back to sleep there again. On the following years 39 of them had violent deaths. The one that survided, Wagner dos Santos, got Witness Protection and inspired the movie "Cidade de Deus". Until today only 3 PM's were arrested and one suspect died on the way to court. The case is still not close.
    Anyway, go downtown only during weeks days and with company. Keep your eyes always open! And maybe leave a flower on Candelaria's steps.

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Singles
    • Seniors

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rio de Janeiro, a place to avoid

    by TomRaven Written Nov 29, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I have just reread most of the posts under dangers and warnings re: Rio de Janeiro. The postings are almost funny. Who in the hell would go to a place like that and the Olympics are scheduled there. I have been going to Rio for fifty years and it is a great place if you stay in your room. When are the Brazilians going to wise up and clean up the City so that tourists can visit it. I was there about fifty years ago and you could actually walk down the street then. Amazing. If you do that today, you are gambling. Brazil, Wake up. Tom Raven

    Was this review helpful?

  • Level of Danger in Rio is high

    by TomRaven Written Oct 17, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I have been to Rio for extended visits a number of times. It amazes me that the Brazilians have yet to clean up the crime in Rio especially with the Olympics coming there. If they dont clean it up soon, the Olympics will have to go elsewhere. I am an older guy and in Rio, I have a bullseye on my back. I don't go out, unless it is absolutely necessary. Very disappointed that Brazil hasn't fixed this problem. No need to list the crimes. We all know what they are. Tom Raven

    Was this review helpful?

  • Snej's Profile Photo


    by Snej Updated Apr 21, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Be aware when you decide to go to Rio that not all the time this beautiful city is fun, go during Brazilian summer, December, January, February, if you want to observe Brazilian life, blend with the locals and have fun. We went in APRIL, the weahter was awful, rain, heavy, wind, black clouds, we did not see almost anything, no Corcovado / it is closed for 4 to 6 months now/, no Centro, no Santa Teressa / there was half meter water in Centro/, we were locked in Copacabana and Ipanema, but there was not a lot of fun on the beach, no samba in the evening along we slept, ate and payed too much money for it.

    The only possible sightseeing was Sugar loaf, apart from the deserted beach.

    The weather is everyhwhere a risc to spoil a holiday, but expecially in Rio it is danger.

    Was this review helpful?

  • onembh's Profile Photo

    handbag theft from bar copacabana beach

    by onembh Updated Feb 5, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In less than 2 hours of arriving in Rio my wife had her handbag stolen ! despite taking precautions!
    This is how it happened we arrived at our hotel 11:00 am and our room wasnt going to be available until 3pm, so we decided to go down to a beach bar for lunch. We located ourselves outside Henry's bar Copacabana beach (they made a real fuss about us!) we were a party of 4 and within minutes the beach vendors were round us like flies we had a laugh with them and did make a small purchase.
    The vendors kept coming all the time during the meal and sometime's as many as 4 were round us ! which as you can imagine is very distracting.
    When we came to leave is when we discovered that my wife's bag had gone "the staff at Henry's all of a sudden dont understand English any more!"
    After taking advice from our rep. my wife had removed her quality watch and bracelet and put them in her handbag!!! she also lost credit cards and a small amount of cash.
    We did hear of other thefts from people from our cruise ship.
    The Police showed little interest and were more concerned about reading their books and eating apples.
    My summary on Rio is - the beaches are nice if you dare go near them ! Sugar Loaf Mountain was worth a trip but as for the rest I wouldnt touch it with a BARGE-POLE !

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • HispanicYob's Profile Photo

    Personal Possessions and Rio

    by HispanicYob Written Jan 14, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Yes, like most others have said, definitely don't take your cherished electronics to the beach, unless you're someone you know, and even then, it's not guaranteed it won't get stolen. This wasn't at Ipanema, but I actually brought my I-Pod with me when I walked around Botafogo neighborhood and didn't come across any incidents. (I need my music after all). But of course, don't take such a relaxed attitude as I did. It can vary from tourist to tourist. I had a great time in Rio!

    Related to:
    • Singles
    • Beaches
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • JohnniOmani's Profile Photo

    Beach Awareness

    by JohnniOmani Written Dec 12, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The beaches in Rio De Janeiro are often described as a place that you cant relax and have to be on guard the entire time you are there. Perhaps people get robbed or mugged early in the morning or eveninng but during the day at Ipanema, I didnt face a single problem. To be honest, I experienced the complete opposite. People were too busy drinking beer, coconut juice, tanning and socializing to worry about a glowing white tourist from Canada. There is no need to bring anything with you to the beach. The vendors sell everything you could possibly imagine. My advice is that if you are nervous, just stay near families. Brazilians are friendly people not thugs. Take the proper precautions and you will be fine. Show up with your trunks and towel and you will be fine.

    Was this review helpful?

  • JohnniOmani's Profile Photo


    by JohnniOmani Written Sep 8, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Many travellers always discuss the possible muggings in Rio De Janeiro. Most tell of horror stories involving taxi drivers to and from the airport so naturally many backpackers take the expensive radio taxis from the international airport to Ipanema. (cost around 80 reals). You should be cautious with your taxi when travelling at night. Ipanema and Urca are fine at night but if you are covering distances say from Lapa to Ipanema or Santa Theresa to Copacabana then you should think about using a taxi. Your hotel can recommend one for you.

    Was this review helpful?

  • thetcheese's Profile Photo

    Re Rio @ midnight

    by thetcheese Written Jul 21, 2009

    Hi Ivonne
    Not able to make it to Rio on my last SA trip but have heard stories and perhaps would be best to do your travelling by night. Perhaps not the answer that you wanted to hear but in daylight you can check places out.
    Cheers Tom

    Was this review helpful?

  • robine's Profile Photo

    Is Rio safe?

    by robine Written Jun 30, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I first arrived in Rio in 1970, lived here then for 3 years, and (living subsequently all over the world) returned for an average of a month each year until last year, when I chose it for my retirement post. It has had its ups and downs in terms of security: when I first arrived, very safe, but pretty edgy in the early 90s. Now, I don't feel threatened (though obviously one must behave sensibly: and yes, from time to time we hear gunfire from a nearby favela (= shanty-town), when the police conduct a drugs raid).

    You must be careful not to let your credit/debit card out of your sight, for mine was cloned last year, and it was a major hassle to get my stolen money back. But that's the only crime we've ever suffered here. The only place in the world where my Brazilian wife has had her handbag stolen was on the King's Road, Chelsea, London! Come to beautiful Rio without fear, and enjoy it.

    Was this review helpful?

  • nessa23's Profile Photo

    Do's and Don'ts

    by nessa23 Updated Jun 16, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Security in Rio is not that good but still better than it was a few years back.
    All I say is, don't trust the Police, prostitutes, any street kid(no matter how innocent they look or act)if any street kid approach you be careful with your pockets because as they are talking to you their scum light hands are going through your pockets, if anyone offers you any drugs do NOT even talk to them as usually they're working with the police to catch you than take a lot of money from you(It happened to someone I used to know)Don't walk around with too much money and if you have a card always keep it hidden away from your cash that way if you do get robbed they won't take your card. If you stay some where like Copacabana or Ipanema which is very tourist orientated be careful who you befreind as most times people will hang out with you and expect you to pay for all their drinks(man or woman)the one thing about Brazilian people that I really don't like is that they see you as a walking wallet.
    I know it sounds really bad, but dispite all these problems Rio still worth visiting and the likely hood that some thing will happen to you is very small as long as you take care. I've been to Rio 7 times and have friends that have been there too, I was robbed once and it hasn't put me off(maybe is because all they took was my lip stick!)my bank card was hidden away!

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Business Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Looseebee's Profile Photo

    Safety in Rio

    by Looseebee Written Apr 21, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hello, I am a Brit girl living over in Rio, and although I've had problems with muggings (none of them violent or involving weapons), I can honestly say that the beauty of the place, the culture and the people (muggers aside!) more than makes up for any possible danger. I've been here two years and am still in love with the place - exercise common sense and you should be fine. Remember, muggers generally don't want to hurt you, so if the worst happens, just hand over your valuables and you won't come to any harm. My friend was recently 'mugged' and the thief just calmly went through her wallet, took out the notes, and handed it back to her, complete with phone numbers that she didn't want to lose!

    For more info on Rio, visit my pages at

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Rio de Janeiro

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

67 travelers online now

Comments (2)

  • Oct 1, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Im currently in Rio on holiday, two attempts to grab my back pack in Copacabana in one day, held at knife point after walking out of a cash machine, cutting my trip short and getting the hell out of here!! Good luck to all visiting next years world cup, you WILL get exploited!!

  • Mar 11, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    I am a 44 year old female experienced traveler who has traveled to many 'dangerous cities' I was passing by Copacabana beach today at 2pm and decided to take out my $100 digital camera to take a picture of the beach. 2 men came up one tried to take my camera and the other held a knife at my throat. I screamed which attracted the attention of a cyclist. There was no harm done, I am actually here working and this incident will not limit my ability to do my job. What I will say is the wisdom of 'just hand everything over' is good advice but when confronted with a knife I thought...I am looking at a knife, why am I looking at a knife. You see and think of nothing else but the knife in this situation. I have seen a lot of defence of Rio on the various forums, what I will say is this: Rio is a fabulous city but my advice is not to take anything for granted....I think of crime as being the of the pick pocket variety, i.e if you don't watch your camera or your wallet you might lose it. having a weapon involved is another matter. I also asked the tourist police how many knife incidents there are around Copacabana beach on a daily basis and the answer is 5 or 6 that are reported, I think that is pretty high.

Rio de Janeiro Warnings and Dangers

Reviews and photos of Rio de Janeiro warnings and dangers posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Rio de Janeiro sightseeing.

View all Rio de Janeiro hotels