Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world, and the largest of South America. It is known for hosting world’s most famous Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, for having the largest portion of the Amazon forest, for the Iguazu Waterfalls, and many other wonderful landmarks. Each year, over 6 million tourists visit Brazil, and this year is set to break a new record with the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio and Sao Paulo. Brazil is a one of the countries with the highest crime rates in the world: with a crime rate of 209 per 100,000, it is ranked 38th in the world. Although violence mostly happens in the Favelas (poor suburbs), tourists can also be targeted. Brazil is ranked 81th out of 162 on the safest and most dangerous countries ranking. SafeAround has compiled information from numerous sources make sure you have a safe trip in Brazil, and be aware of all potential dangers.


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Is Brazil a Safe or Dangerous Country?

Brazil is one of the most criminalized countries of the world, meaning that there is a high risk : the murder rate is approximately 4 times higher than in Western countries, as well as the rate for other types of crime. It is considered to be caused by a high inequality index (165th out of 176th)

 Crime & Scams

Crimes such as assault, pickpocketing, carjackings, and armed robberies are common in the country. It’s important to stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings at all times. To prevent pickpocketing, take the usual precautions (eg: not leaving your camera unattended  or keeping your wallet in your backpocket), and consider using a money pouch or a hidden belt. This is especially true during events such as the Carnival or the Olympic Games where large crowds gather in the city streets. To prevent snatch-and-grab attacks, do not wear expensive jewelry or watches, consider using a money pouch or belt, hide your camera, leave your passport in the safe of your hotel. When going to city beaches (especially in Rio), don’t take anything else than a towel and a small amount of cash – there are numerous reports of thieves preying on tourists there. Do not venture in the Favelas -particularly at night- unless you are with a local who knows where to go. Many favelas are ruled by drug-dealing gangs and are extremely dangerous. Be alert around ATMs, as there have been many reports of scams involving stealing your cash, your card and memorizing your PIN. The NorthEast region seems to be more targeted than others. Always use ATMs in crowded  areas, refuse any “help” from strangers, if the withdrawal fails retrieve your card and try another ATM.

Natural hazards

In remote locations, the inhospitable nature can be a natural hazard: dangerous flora and fauna, riptides and natural disasters kill people every year and are to be taken very seriously. Beaches and Swimming Beaches in Brazil can be beautiful and dangerous at the same time : every year, tourists and locals drown on one of the country’s beaches or rivers, because of huge waves or strong currents. Dangerous Animals There can be some rare shark and crocodile attacks when swimming near estuaries, tidal rivers, mangroves or deep pools. Other than the dangerous aquatic animals, they are many amphibians, reptiles and insects that are among the most dangerous in the world : deadly snakes, spiders and frogs can be found throughout the Amazon. There are some health hazards in Brazil, mostly infectious diseases transmitted by mosquitoes : the Zika Virus, the Dengue Fever, the Yellow Fever and Malaria (in the Amazon region). Get adequate vaccination before travelling to remote areas. For more details, see city specific advice or take a look at our travel articles.

Warnings & Dangers


Brazil is an overall safe country for most tourists. Some travellers might face some dangers while in large cities or in remote areas. It is ranked 81th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.


As a top touristic destination, there is a high pickpocket risk in Brazil. Be very aware of your surroundings while in Rio. A few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pickpocketed.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : HIGH

Brazil is an averagely dangerous country regarding the chances of being mugged or kidnapped. Be aware of dangerous zones by asking local advice.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

There are a lot of scammers and con-artists trying to take advantage of tourists, particularly in large cities and around major landmarks in Brazil. Be aware of tampered ATM , fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you; and people offering help with your luggage.


There might be some risk while taking public transport in Brazil.


There are some natural hazards in Brazil, ranging from dangerous animals/insects, mosquito-borne diseases and riptides. Don’t go swimming alone, and follow the advice in the “is Brazil Safe?” section.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Brazil has not recently been targeted by terrorist attacks. There can be some large protests in Sao Paulo, Rio or Brasilia.


Brazil is mostly safe for women travelling in the country. Some parts of the country (particularly in the NorthEast and the remote Amazon) can be more dangerous, and there have been some media frenzy over tourist rape cases in Rio – although there are very limited.


Useful Information

Brazil has a reciprocity standard for its visas : whatever restriction or visa prices applied to Brazilians going abroad are applied to foreigners of this country (eg: US citizens need to pay a 160$ fee). This means that many countries (including EU and MercoSur) do not require visas for stays under 90 days. is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The currency in Brazil is the Brazilian Real (R$). As of June 2016, 1 Us Dollar= 3.48 R$. Brazil is a relatively cheap destination to visit, but one of the most expensive in South America. Expect to pay from 200 R$ to 300 R$ per day, and more for tours and excursions.
The weather in Brazil varies from region to region. High season is from December to March (Summer) and when the prices are generally higher. Rio, Sao Paulo and Salvador can be visited all year long.
The main international airports are in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Rio and Belo Horizonte; although they are many smaller airports connecting secluded areas to the cities. If you’re looking for cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page