Read this travel advice carefully
Please, follow this travel advice so YOU can have the best experience in Rio and search for other advices elsewhere as well. I want to take this opportunity to tell you that I love Rio de Janeiro. However, there are some issues that bother me about this particular city. These issues can make such a difference on how great of a vacation you were to have in Rio.
Arriving in Rio
There are two main airports in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The main one is called International Airport of Rio de Janeiro Antônio Carlos Jobim or simply Galeão.
The other Rio de Janeiro Airport is called Santos Dummont, and it is used for national flights in its majority.
Both Rio de Janeiro Airports have enough infrastructure to accommodate your arrival with all needed services. Rio has other airports not so important for tourists. Regardless of which airport you fly into, you must have a plan for you arrival. Having a travel plan can help prevent you from being robbed, scammed or ripped off.
Upon arrival you should have an accommodation already booked. If you've done that, I highly recommend you to ask the accommodation party about their shuttle services which they are most likely to provide. Most of them, even the small ones, offer this service. Some of them may require a fee, but it is worth every dime. If you do not have other trusted and arranged rides, I strongly believe this is the best option and the reasons are as follow.
- Since you do not know much about the city, you may ride with a taxis that can indeed rip you off. There are some taxis drivers that can be trusted, or services to be trusted, but be cautious.
- You could also rent a car. However, the traffic at the airport area can be confusing, the prices to rent at the airport can be extremely expensive than renting in different areas in the city, and last, you may not have an international driver's license.
- You could use public transportation like a bus, but it can be very dangerous especially if you have luggages and do not speak the language.
Can you see why the shuttle is the best option? I hope you can; besides you could reserve a hotel very close to where you will be hanging out the most, and a good way to save some cash also.
The crimes and violence in Rio are directly linked with the Rio de Janeiro slums and the illegal drug commerce in that region. It is a serious problem. In many cases, it looks like a civil war between drug dealers vs drug dealers, and drug dealers vs cops. These confrontations mostly take place in the slums.
Travel Advice On Safety
- First Travel Advice "STAY AWAY FROM ANY SLUM"." There are some slum tours that I heard to be safe. I never went to one, so I will not talk about them.
- Second Travel Advice, Avoid the West Zone of Rio as much as you can (The south zone is the most secure). The West Zone is where "most" of the slums are found; if you are not in the slum but close to it, the slum can come to you, and it could be through lost bullets or juveniles looking for easy targets for robbery. This advice does not mean that you will have problems there, but I would want to know that. There are places to go in this area specially for surfers. I will point them out.
- Third Travel Advice, do not walk by yourself before 9:00 am and after 9:00 pm. Try to be with around people at all times, but especially during those hours.
- Fourth Travel Advice, do not walk with or flash around your laptops, cameras, camcorders, expensive watches, expensive shoes (use havaianas).
- These items can easily capture the criminals' attention and make you a target. You should walk with little amount of cash, and no more than R$ 100 (USD $60). Make sure you have your credit card contact phone number with you in case the card got lost or robbed.
- You may be asking "How am I going to be taking pictures or record anything without the devices?" The answer is, take these usable items with you, and before using them, make sure that the environment is safe. Take the time to scout the area for possible threats. If everything is ok, then use the devices "in the moment", instantly put the items away when you are done. Do not walk away without making sure your devices are securely put away, or keep it tight in your hands in a very securable fashion.
- If you go to the beach do not leave any of these items by themselves. Petty crime is high in Rio.
- If you rent a car and decided to keep those items in the car in a public place, you should hide them, do not leave these items expose inside the car to the people outside. Otherwise they could break into your car and rob you of your valuable items.
- Fifth Travel Advice, if you, following or not the first four advices, become a victim of a crime, for your own safety do not react, just do as you were told. If you cannot understand, follow the gestures. Do not try to be a hero.
Remember these advices do not "guarantee" your safety, but it is a good starting.