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Travelling to Rio and Iguazu Falls after Olympics (Safety)

Travelling to Rio and Iguazu Falls after Olympics (Safety)

Old Jul 23, 16, 9:18 am
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Travelling to Rio and Iguazu Falls after Olympics (Safety)

I'm trying to get a better picture of the risks involved in going to Rio after the Olympics (early September). It's all over the news that crime is up among many other bad things going on. Trying to figure out if the recent increase in reporting is due to the Olympics being such a high profile event, or if it's actually that dangerous. In particular, would going to the Favelas (even on a guided tour) be a bad idea?

My wife and I have been to some run down places around the world (Honduras, Cambodia, etc.) so we are smart and aware of our surroundings. Thanks for any input.
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Old Jul 23, 16, 1:15 pm
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The USA State Department has issued a specific warning about favela visits in Rio. IIRC USA government employees are forbidden to go there too.

However, IMO I don't understand why people want to do this as a tourist activity. To me, to be very blunt it seems like treating poor people as if they were animals in a zoo.

More generally, yes Rio is dangerous. People are frequently robbed at knife point, even in "good" areas and when there are lots of other people around. Having a cell phone or wearing any jewelry makes you a target.
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Old Jul 23, 16, 1:37 pm
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Originally Posted by hamburglar View Post
I'm trying to get a better picture of the risks involved in going to Rio after the Olympics (early September). It's all over the news that crime is up among many other bad things going on. Trying to figure out if the recent increase in reporting is due to the Olympics being such a high profile event, or if it's actually that dangerous. In particular, would going to the Favelas (even on a guided tour) be a bad idea?

My wife and I have been to some run down places around the world (Honduras, Cambodia, etc.) so we are smart and aware of our surroundings. Thanks for any input.
It's not more or less dangerous than any city in a developing country. The usual precautions apply, and if you are in general not too reckless you will have a great time.

- Do not do the favela tour. You are tourists, I assume you do not speak the language, it is obvious to everyone that you are tourists in either case and that there is money to be had. It's not that interesting or pretty anyway. There's plenty to see in and around Rio without doing the favela tours.
Now if you speak the language and aren't an obvious Tourist tourist, then yes you can do a favela tour or just go into Rocinha and have something cheap to eat. The 'entrance' of Rocinha favela is, nowadays, more like a normal neighbourhood than a favela, just a bit more messy and more people with guns. But going 'deeper' in there is of course not a good idea.

- If you went out at night, take a taxi back and don't walk. If you are walking around, stay where people are.

- Watch out for pickpockets. Watch out for your belongings when you are at the beach and want to take a swim, let one of you two stay there. Or just dont bring valuables to the beach.

- In general do not dwell where there are very few people in Rio, especially at night.

- When you visited the bank, watch if you are not being followed. Especially do not go into an empty street with few people after visiting the bank.

- I am assuming you are not on a tight budget, so I would advise you to only use the taxi and if possible the metro in Rio (gets you to the most important places, though there is still only 2 lines in Rio !), and not the bus if you can avoid it. Not only are the buses sometimes assaulted (especially at night), the bus system is also very very confusing to non-locals, it stops at seemingly random locations (of course locals know exactly where) and appears at seemingly random times, gets stuck in traffic, it drives weird circular routes rather than in a straight line etc. Do not take the metro during rush hour, you will almost suffocate hahahah

- If possible, call a taxi from a company you trust rather than take a cab in the street. Not that you will be instantly assaulted if you do the latter or anything it's just a bit safer IMO.


How are you going to Iguaçu? The best way would be a domestic flight from SDU, possibly connecting in Sao Paulo though I believe there are some direct flights nowadays. I do not know how safe it is there but my guess would be much safer than Rio.
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Old Jul 23, 16, 1:41 pm
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Also try to bring a booklet with some basic words of Portuguese. The tourist locations will be fine, and many younger people now speak english, but just regular adults in their 40/50s will not speak English. It might help you out just in case.

And for the taxi driver, don't just say your adress but look on the map first, see to which major street your adress is close /which is en route and tell them to drive via that avenue. It gives the taxidriver a clue as to where you are going and that he can't cheat you by taking a weird route. Though this may be less important nowadays with GPS.
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Old Jul 23, 16, 2:14 pm
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You will be fine as long as you continue to be smart about where you are. I don't see much risk in a favela tour- provided you do an actual tour with a guide from there. The odds of anything bad happening to you here are extremely low. It's much higher than most other places but still overall it's very low. BE SMART!
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Old Jul 26, 16, 10:55 am
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Originally Posted by hamburglar View Post
I'm trying to get a better picture of the risks involved in going to Rio after the Olympics (early September). It's all over the news that crime is up among many other bad things going on. Trying to figure out if the recent increase in reporting is due to the Olympics being such a high profile event, or if it's actually that dangerous. In particular, would going to the Favelas (even on a guided tour) be a bad idea?

My wife and I have been to some run down places around the world (Honduras, Cambodia, etc.) so we are smart and aware of our surroundings. Thanks for any input.
Would you recommend a tour of Oaksterdam to a visitor? So why go visit a slum rather than a beautiful tourist attraction?

As far as safety goes, one needs to maintain constant security awareness, not venturing into the unknown and in the unlikely misfortune of a robbery, stay calm and do not to react, otherwise causing the drugged-up criminal's fragile control of himself to shatter, resulting in an explosion of violence.
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Old Jul 31, 16, 1:00 am
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Originally Posted by hamburglar View Post
I'm trying to get a better picture of the risks involved in going to Rio after the Olympics (early September). It's all over the news that crime is up among many other bad things going on. Trying to figure out if the recent increase in reporting is due to the Olympics being such a high profile event, or if it's actually that dangerous. In particular, would going to the Favelas (even on a guided tour) be a bad idea?

My wife and I have been to some run down places around the world (Honduras, Cambodia, etc.) so we are smart and aware of our surroundings. Thanks for any input.
Rio is currently neither more nor less dangerous than it has been the past 30 years. People just freak out about visiting Rio.
If it's any consolation, the Paralympic Games will take place from September 7th through the 18th, so the security will be increased

Last edited by C010T3; Jul 31, 16 at 8:23 am
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Old Jul 31, 16, 2:05 pm
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Originally Posted by C010T3 View Post
Rio is currently neither more nor less dangerous than it has been the past 30 years. People just freak out about visiting Rio.
If it's any consolation, the Paralympic Games will take place from September 7th through the 18th, so the security will be increased
I think safety got worse and worse over time.

The Economist says that murders decreased:

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Old Aug 1, 16, 4:41 am
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Originally Posted by boboqui View Post
I think safety got worse and worse over time.

The Economist says that murders decreased:
This graph is another great example of how you can manipulate statistics to say anything you'd like.
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Old Aug 1, 16, 5:26 am
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Whether Rio is going through a particularly good time or a particularly bad time at any given point in time, it is still just a third world city and yu have to take the necessary measures associated with the risk that comes with staying in such a city. It doesn't matter whether the murder rate increased or decreased by 10 percent.
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Old Aug 1, 16, 11:50 am
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Here are some thoughts on the previous "statistical" posts and reactions to them:

The murder rate has mostly to do with drug traffic in the favelas/poor communities.
Lots of (temporary) money was thrown at getting drug traffickers out of certain favelas in Rio, in advance of the World Cup and the Olympics (short term thinking), setting up the UPPs. but the drug traffickers were simply allowed to flee elsewhere. There are even videos showing them leaving in vehicles over the hills. Ineffective policing, planning, and thinking. The drug traffickers just set up elsewhere to bide their time until they could take back areas they'd been kicked out of.

There have been notorious holdups even in good times by rich kids for drug money (a hostel at Carnaval a couple of years ago comes to mind) as well as those disenfranchised who might be the more "usual suspects" for such crimes, so the crime rate is not totally connected to any economic crisis.

Crime usually, in any country, has to do with lack of hope for a future. Often girls get pregnant young, but boys get involved with crime at a young age. Using drugs blots out the pain.
The Brazilian government pays very little attention, IMO, to providing a good, effective education and a potential for good jobs for those with one, to kids who have very little hope to start with and face a lot of prejudice from those from "the pavement" anyway. Plenty of money to line politicians' pockets though.
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Crimes that happen to tourists are mostly pickpocketing and the very occasional armed holdup (for drug money probably).
These are mostly opportunistic crimes. Tourists can avoid presenting the opportunity. Do not carry anything you cannot afford to lose, and do not flash valuables in the open. Be aware of your surroundings, avoiding deserted areas, no matter what neighborhood, rich or poor.

I don't particularly like the zoo-like aspects of favela tours, but if your mind is made up, check out the ones Zezinho, a long-time English speaking Rocinha resident gives.

OP, I hope you decide to go to Rio, go informed, and have a wonderful time, avoiding any problems, as most tourists do.

Last edited by VidaNaPraia; Aug 1, 16 at 1:18 pm
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