Enticing beaches, imposing waterfalls, breathtaking landscapes, architectural marvels, historic sites, soulful music, world-class festivities and the untouched wilderness of the Amazon – Brazil is the land of thousand experiences. The largest country in South America is both a tropical paradise and an interesting cultural destination with attractions for all tastes and preferences. Despite Brazil’s touristy charm, it has its ugly side too. The crime rate is at its peak in Brazil, and the intense drug scene and street gangs have turned this wonderful paradise into a criminal playground. Crimes are not just limited to gang wars or street conflicts, so it would be wise to stay cautious at all times and stay alerted.
1. Carry a Map
It’s very important to carry a map at all times before you step foot in the Brazilian territory. Try to locate your hotel or apartment beforehand either online or pick up a physical map of the city you’re off to. Locate the points of interest and find ways to get around; plan your route before you step out of the door and don’t just stand in the middle of the road wondering about the route. Take to a coffee shop or any restaurant nearby if you’re not sure about the coordinates.
2. Learn the Local Language
English or languages other than Portuguese may not come in handy in difficult times, so it would be wise to get familiar with the local language. It’s almost impossible to get affluent with the language in such short notice, but you can at least try your skills at some commonly used words to interact with the locals or the police, for that matter. Socialize with people to understand their language as the Brazilians get easily delighted when someone shows interest in learning their national language.
3. Get Acquainted with Surroundings
Source: Kaique Rocha
Get acquainted with your surroundings and the people around you, and keep staring here and there, as everyone stares at everyone else in Brazil. It’s a polite and wise thing to do so and you will always be aware of what’s going around. Looking down and not acknowledging with your eyes may not be a smart move in Brazil, and you may as well be a victim of pick-pocketing.
4. Carry Less Money in Wallet
Carry only the money you’ll need for the time being or for that day in your wallet, and leave the rest in your hidden pocket or anywhere safe, as thieves are in abundance in the streets of Brazil. Keep your valuables, your passport, tickets, credit cards, etc. somewhere safe or inside your clothes, especially if you’re going to a crowded place, carry nothing within easy reach.
5. Avoid Deserted Places
Crowded places like beaches and street markets are swamped with people at daytime, while at night, even the locals don’t go near the beaches, as they are usually deserted. So avoid roaming around the beaches at night, because the deserted places are more prone to violent and non-violent crimes. Don’t leave anything unattended in the more secluded places or anywhere in public, because the first to grab it, owns it.
6. Easy on the Booze
Don’t get too drunk because getting sloshed in a foreign country is not a good idea, especially when you’re in a country where the people mind their booze and you’ll hardly see any local get drunk. So make sure you go easy on that cachaca when hitting one of the many samba spots, and ladies should keep an eye on their drinks, as suspected persons will take this opportunity to put something malicious in your drink.
7. Say No to Drugs
Though known for its illicit drug scene, consumption of drugs other that alcohol is considered a major criminal offense in Brazil. So avoid getting stoned at public places or don’t get caught while you’re at it, since penalties are stiff if get caught in action. Marijuana consumption is, in fact, common in Brazil, but you’re in trouble if the police find any on you.
8. Stay Away from the Police
If you’re robbed or assaulted, it’s not a good idea to go the police, especially with something like theft reports, because it’s highly unlikely they’d do anything relevant to ease up the stress and it could take hours even without taking in account the most obvious language barrier. So think wisely before you proceed and if it’s something important like your passport, the consulate is your best bet.
9. Don’t Fall for Cheap Accommodation
Don’t go for extremely cheap accommodation, even it sounds too good to be true, as the owners aren’t eligible or prepared enough to handle the foreign crowd. Don’t even fall for the budget-friendly establishments like the cheap hostels, as few things may not be well-organized or safe as they should be, such as the windows or the door locks, food or other facilities.
10. Look Out for the Scams
Certain scams operate out of some popular establishments, especially at international airports, particularly Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where well-dressed and official-looking personnel target foreign tourists. They often flash their fake identity cards, posing as policemen or airport security and ask the tourists to go with them and rob them. So be careful and stand guard to yourself at all times, especially at airport lounges, and don’t leave your luggage in their hands at any cost.
Have a good trip and travel!