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 & ScamsCrimes 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 hazardsIn 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
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
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.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
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.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
Brazil is an averagely dangerous country regarding the chances of being mugged or kidnapped. Be aware of dangerous zones by asking local advice.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
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.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
There might be some risk while taking public transport in Brazil.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
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.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Brazil has not recently been targeted by terrorist attacks. There can be some large protests in Sao Paulo, Rio or Brasilia.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
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.