Throngs of tourists have perfectly safe vacations in Brazil each year. Still, crime and violence are sad realities throughout the country. A few common sense tips can help you have a safe trip.
Keep your belongings close to you and be aware of what you do and do not need as you go out each day. Stashing some cash and a camera in a small pochette (as Brazilians affectionately call fanny packs) will make for a worry-free, hands-off day. Carry only a copy of your passport as an ID with you—you won't need the actual document, except when making large purchases like airline tickets. In the case of a mugging, do not resist and give up all belongings immediately. Should you be the victim of a crime, many Brazilian cities have specialized tourist police stations, where police are bilingual and take extra care with your case.
In Brazilian cities, stick to areas with high pedestrian traffic. When hiking or in the forest, bring minimal belongings and consult local guides about the safety of a path. In touristy areas, avoid walking in alleyways and closed-off areas that are empty. At night, only walk if you are in a well-lit area with heavy pedestrian traffic.
Taxis in major cities are regulated, safe, fairly priced, and obediently run on the meter. The subway is also a safe and fast way to get around many cities. Buses are a widely used form of transport both within and between cities, but are occasionally the target of robberies. Avoid the informal vans that locals commonly use. After dark, take only cabs.
Watch your bank account after using debit cards in ATM machines, since card cloning is common. Making payments with credit cards is generally fine, but keep an eye on your account.