Watch our video on how safe Rio de Janeiro really is.
Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but unfortunately it’s also touted as one of the most dangerous places you can go.
So the big question is: should you risk it and just go?
Our answer to that question was “YES”.
We wanted to see for ourselves if Rio de Janeiro really was this dangerous. Growing up in Denmark, we of course had our worries, as we basically are brought up to believe anything and anywhere in South America is equal to certain death, should you go.
Luckily we were going with our two good friends, Giovanni and Andreea, who have been living in Brazil and visited countless times. Their idea of Brazil has little to do with what you read on the news, so we were told to relax and just use common sense.
After a ten hour flight from Lisbon, Portugal, we arrived in the evening, where we headed straight out for coconuts and caipirinhas. Although very excited, me and Amalie were a bit on our toes when finally walking the streets of Ipanema, which is the area we were staying.
Of course Rio de Janeiro has its safety issues, and so you need to take your precautions when walking around. Especially after dark.
We didn’t feel unsafe or have any experiences even remotely negative, but it took some time to shake off the ingrained fear, we had carried with us all the way from Denmark.
Our Expectations versus Reality
It was the following day, we really got to experience Rio de Janeiro firsthand. This was our chance to determine whether we felt safe or not. And given the fact that we are YouTubers who always carry around expensive gear, we were naturally more worried of being robbed than the average tourist probably would be.
Honestly, though, we quickly realized that this was just another big city like Paris and London.
The key to not end up in a bad situation is to always be vigilant and exercise common sense. And this applies to any big city you visit. There is ALWAYS a chance that something unfortunate will happen to you.
Along with vigilance and common sense, you shoulder also consider following The Rio Dresscode. This was a strong suggestion from our travel companions, Giovanni and Andreea and it goes as follows:
The Rio Dresscode
- Havanaias flipflops
- A simple beach bag with a zipper or similar closing function
- Basic t-shirt / top
- Basic shorts / beach wear
- NO jewelries and NO expensive watch
PRO TIP: Always carry a 50 R$ bill in your pocket and your wallet in your bag. This way you have something to give in the rare event, you are robbed.
Anyway, our expectations to Rio de Janeiro were not negative at all. It was more of a blurry idea of how safe or how not so safe, it would actually be.
Again, our main concern was being two pale Danes walking around with expensive camera gear and thus sticking out as a sore thumb.
The reality was that we felt at home from day one. We were already in love with Rio de Janeiro. We were lucky that our first day was sunny and beautiful, so we really could get a taste of what life here is all about.
The beaches were full of happy people and lots of street vendors were selling caiparinhas, beers and food as far as the eye could see.
Going to Rio de Janeiro and coming back to wherever you live with loving memories is not a difficult thing to accomplish. Especially not, if you don’t have to carry around camera gear like us.
In fact, we felt very safe in Rio. We never had any experiences throughout our two-week-stay. Looking back at our stay in Rio de Janeiro, we truly treasure it and we can’t wait to come back again one day.
Our number one advice for anyone considering going to Rio de Janeiro and Brazil in general is to not follow the media narrative and murder statistics. Sure, these terrible things do happen, but all this generally only apply to the wars between drug cartels and the police.
One thing we were also told was that tourists like us are less of a target compared to local Brazilians. We are not sure why, but we think it may have to do with the police paying more attention to attacks on tourists, as it creates much more attention among international media and thus more negative coverage further instigating the stigmatisation of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil in general.
Best and safest neighbourhood to stay in Rio de Janeiro
If you are looking to visit Rio de Janeiro, but not entirely sure where to stay, you should look no further than the iconic neighbourhood of Ipanema. We stayed there throughout our stay and couldn’t have been happier.
You are close to all the restaurants, bars, and most importantly, the beach.
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Big hugs from us two!