It seems to be the question on everybody’s mind, the second that you mention the city. “Is Rio safe?”

We were wondering this ourselves, having never visited before.

Turns out, it’s much like any other big city in terms of safety, and by being smart you can dramatically improve your odds of not encountering an unpleasant incident.

    Rio, Cidade Maravilhosa

Rio is a city with possibly the most stunning natural setting in the world. Dotted by jaw-dropping jutting rock formations, lush green vegetation and flanked by some of the most famous beaches, ever, Copacabana and Ipanema.

It’s also a sprawling, big city with its fair share of problems. Rio has many homeless people, which was heartbreaking to see. Some areas also suffer from a lot of pollution.

But overall did I ever feel unsafe? Nope.

Easy ways to stay safe

I think a good philosophy to follow as a tourist is to leave anything you can’t tolerate losing at home. If it will ruin your trip to lose your iPhone, don’t take it with you. If you couldn’t stand having your camera taken, leave it at home.

That said, after leaving behind these things for the day, often we realised the places we visited were safe to have phones, cameras and such and we were a bit bummed that we didn’t have them. But I suppose it’s always better to have peace of mind rather than a better quality photo.

Tip: If you plan on spending some time on the beach and rent a chair or umbrella, the barracas or kiosques will happily look after your bag while you head into the water, so I was able to take my Kindle. There’s also lockers at the Posto which you can lock your stuff in. Easy!

Other than being mindful of petty theft, and ensuring we took Ubers or the Metro rather than wandering around lost in areas we were unfamiliar with, we didn’t really take any other crazy safety precautions.

So, is Rio safe? I know that there are people out there that have had bad experiences, but I really think the media image of the danger in Brazil, and Rio, in particular, is way overblown. As long you follow local advice and don’t do silly things you should be fine. We had a great time in Rio with no safety issues during our trip.

So please, go to Rio with an open mind, enjoy the city and its beaches. It is not the war zone that the media would have you believe!

Have you been to Rio? What did you think?

I’m Stephanie and this year I’m taking a break from life in Australia. I’m traveling South, Central and North America, learning Spanish, eating tacos and seeking out amazing swimming spots. When I’m taking time out from that hectic schedule I like to write, read and relax – and pat cute street animals that I really shouldn’t. I probably wrote most of what you’re reading from my hammock and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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