Travelling always ensues a great deal to keep in mind, and not least when going to Brazil and Rio. There are several things that can be useful to pay extra attention to, and taking such precaution will help you avoid unnecessary inconvenience.
Here is a summary of some things worth noting when visting Rio:
- Don’t wear flashy jewellery or other items that signal wealth, as you might be targeted by robbers. If you have expensive items such as cameras and laptops, consider getting an insurance.
- It is recommended to use ATMs in hotels, well attended malls or bank offices, due to the risk of muggings.
- Do not enter favelas or other dangerous areas in the city without proper security protection and certified guides.
- Always pack your own luggage and don’t leave it unattended.
- It is recommended to write down the most important phone numbers on paper in case your phone gets stolen or lost. This can include numbers to friends and family, your embassy or consulate and emergency numbers.
- According to Brazilian law you always need to carry some form of identification. It is recommended to leave your passport in your hotel safe and carry a photocopy of your passport’s biographic page instead.
- If you have been the victim of a crime, note that there are several different police units in Brazil. Tourist are advised to primarily contact the tourist police (Delegacia Especial de Apoio ao Turismo – DEAT). Most police officers try to be helpful but might not speak English. Do not expect to get your stolen items back. Reporting a crime can take a long time and be a complicated process. Contact the tourist police if you need to report something stolen for insurance purposes.
- Bring more than one cash or credit card in case one gets stolen or lost.
- It may be useful to learn some commonly used terms and phrases in Portuguese since English is not always widely spoken.
- Be wary of food sold from street and beach vendors as it is often not freshly prepared and may have been handled in unsanitary conditions.
- Test have shown that the waters outside Rio are highly polluted. Tourists visiting the city should take note that swimming at the beaches of Rio can pose a health hazard.
- Be aware that ocean currents can be strong in some places. Take notice of any warnings before swimming.
- Usually a 10% service charge is included in the bill at restaurants. It is optional to tip service personnel such as housekeepers, beach vendors, hair stylists and similar. It is customary to tip guides, on for instance jungle trips, as well as parking assistants, as they receive no wages. It is not expected to tip taxi drivers.
- Drug trafficking carry long prison sentences.
- Brazil have a zero limit for drunk driving. The penalty range from fines to jail time.
- Photographs of military installations, transport hubs, diplomatic buildings, or any structure deemed critical to national security should be avoided. It is always advisable to ask permission before taking photographs of local people to avoid the possibility of offending them.