Any info on Rio Atlantica and surrounding area?

Aug 20th, 2002, 04:37 AM
Posts: n/a
In response to CariocaRio above....
I was a tour director in Rio for 6 years and at that time I was responsible for approximately 500 tourists a week during high season in Rio and about 200 or less during low season. During orientation when travelers arrived, I gave a few safety tips - and we had very few incidents of thefts. I can recall only 2 or 3 in a 6 year period. BUT - those 2 or 3 incidents occurred in Copacabana and NOT Ipanema.
For safety tips, no matter where one stays in Rio, I suggest keeping all valuables in the hotel safe including passport and airline tickets. Have the front desk photo copy your passport and carry the photocopy with you.
While walking around the city, do not wear jewelry, or expensive watches, and men - don't keep wallet in back pocket. Safest are around the waste fanny packs for money etc. Keep the money part in front of you. Only carry as much cash with you that you will need that day.
If you make a costly purchase in a store - you can arrange to have the item delivered to your hotel and you can pay at your hotel - so you do not have to carry cash to purchase these items. All high end stores, especially jewelry stores are extremely accommodating when it comes to serving tourists.
Try not to take the public buses that you enter in the back. These buses are crowded and pick-pocketing is more likely on these buses. If you really like taking buses, take the large air-conditioned buses called "frescao".
I suggest taking taxis over buses.
When you go to the beach, don't take valuables and don't take your running shoes. Just wear flip flops to the beach.
Don't walk alone on darkened streets at night. Again, take cabs to where you are going at night.
These are a few tips - and don't let these things damper your enjoyment of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. In every major city in the world there are safety precautions - don't let this stop you from enjoying Rio de Janeiro. I lived there for 6 years and had the best time of my life. Friendly people, great food, beautiful scenery, wonderful culture. Have a great time!
Aug 20th, 2002, 05:16 PM
Posts: n/a
Jill, good for you on your safety rate. I have been going to Rio since 1980 and I have been very lucky, no major problems. I have had my watch stolen out of my sneakers in Ipanema in the early 80's and I once buried money on the beach in Vidigal which when I returned from my swim I never found, I assumed I was watched. I once was on Ipanema and a crazed gunman was firing his gun and the whole of Ipanema ran for their lives, I returned to my hotel the Rio Palace running all the way and my friend said to me I have blood on me. Luckily it wasn't mine. November 2001 I was walking down Copacabana beach at midnight after a full dinner at Monte Carlo's Italian restaurant 2 men approached me and in english told me they had a knife and wanted my money. I told them in not a very friendly tone of voice that if they wanted my money then they would have to come and take it. They did not, they retreated and I went on my merry way. So my point is there are problems equally all over Rio. Just don't walk alone at night like I did, I don't do it anymore, I take taxis at night, I was just trying to walk off the calories.
Aug 21st, 2002, 04:21 AM
Posts: n/a
Strange, I lived and worked in Rio for 6 years and never had the type of problems that you describe, CariocaRio.
But then again, I never left valuables on the beach when I swam, I never walked around in dark areas at midnight, I never "buried" money on a beach and expected it to be there when I returned.

I always wondered why tourists who always seem to have these types of problems and stories to tell, keep having these types of problems? I don't mean specifically in Rio, I mean anywhere they go in the world?
Sorry to say CariocaRio - I just can't "Blame it on Rio".

A little common sense will go a long way while traveling! And I suggest that a very good local private guide in any destination will go a long way to educating a newcomer of what is "common sense" for that particular destination.

Perhaps, one would not need a local guide for the entire stay, but it is helpful for the first day. That way you can find out everything from the get go on how to have a safe and enjoyable vacation.

I hope that visitors to this forum are not put off to the idea of Rio as their destination from reading CariocaRio's "horrer story" post.

Rio is a wonderful place to have an amazing and safe vacation! Just do your homework before you go -- learn about the particular destination before you arrive and you should not have a problem.
Aug 21st, 2002, 08:52 AM
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Hi Jill, CariocaRio & all,

It's been interesting to read both your comments.

I guess you just have to be sensible about it. I imagine (hope) Rio is not any more a 'dangerous' place to be than any other big city.

Nevertheless I'm still looking forward to my trip

Aug 21st, 2002, 09:12 AM
Posts: n/a
Jill, I certainly would not describe my couple of problems as a horror story, really they are just minor incedents. Now I hear stories not just from first time tourists but from Americans who live there now. It happens all the time, I won't get into them but believe me it can get a lot worse.
Aug 22nd, 2002, 01:44 AM
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Hi Bobby, I checked out your website - would it be possible to have more information regarding your trips to the Iguassu Falls?
Thanks in advance
Aug 22nd, 2002, 03:18 AM
Posts: n/a

Iguacu falls is an easy trip from Rio. Try to take the earliest flight in the morning to maximize the time you have that day to visit the falls. Flying time is usually an hour or two depending on the connection through Sao Paulo or Curitiba. While in Iguassu, I suggest staying at the Hotel das Cataratas which is owned by the Tropical Hotel Chain. It is the only hotel overlooking the falls in the National Park on the Brazilian side. It is a beautiful pink colonial style 5 star hotel. You can take day trips to the Argentinian and Paraguayen side as well. If you like a little excitement you can check out the Macuco Safari raft trip which actually takes you very close to some of the falls -- close enough to get wet! Hotel das Cataratas has a little travel agency where you can book that tour as well as others.
Aug 23rd, 2002, 02:46 PM
Posts: n/a
Horror story:
American cop arrested in Ipanema for bribery

RIO - American policeman Torrance Lamar Bynum, 40 – a police
detective from California – was arrested Wednesday on charges of
corruption by police at the 14th DP in Leblon. He supposedly had
offered R$ 281 as a bribe to two Military Policemen who had
apprehended a friend, Brazilian businessman Bruno Mira Mureb, 33,
for possession of a small amount of cocaine.

The two men were arrested at the entrance to the Morro do
Cantagalo favela, at the corner of ruas Barão da Torre and Teixiera
de Melo, in Ipanema. Shortly before the incident, Bynum had two
drinks and had eaten a sandwich, using US$ 100 , about R$ 330, to
pay. The R$ 281 was his change left over from the meal.

The American detective stated that this is his first trip to Brazil
that he is on holiday. Mureb confirmed that the two men had met
Tuesday night at the nightclub Help, in Copacabana.

They had spent about four hours in Cantagalo Tuesday. Bynum says
Mureb had wanted to go there to
talk to some friends, leaving Bynum in his car. When police passed
the car parked at the entrance to
the slum, they became suspicious. When they learned that Bynum was a
foreigner, they decided to
wait for his friend Mureb, who returned with the narcotics.

Bynum denies trying to bribe the officers to free his friend. He
insisted that he was handing the money
to Mureb, who had asked him for it. The Military Policemen took the
money from the hands of Mureb,
and escorted both men to the station in Leblon. Bynum said at the
station that he had no knowledge
that his friend was in possession of the cocaine.

The version presented by Bynum contradicted those of the officers and
also that of Mureb, who said it
was a normal reaction for a foreigner to offer money to the police.

A civil officer, Pierre Angel Leite de Mattos Faro, assisted in
translating and overheard Bynum ask if the
money he had offered had arrived; wanting to know if the officers
wanted more.

After hearing the testimonies, including that of the businessman,
Mureb, who was later freed, Officer
Vanele Rocha Falcão César decided to press corruption charges against
Bynum. The charges could
result in eight months to a year of cusody in a Rio jail for the
American police officer.

Aug 24th, 2002, 04:54 AM
Posts: n/a

Why is CariocaRio posting off topic here? Every city has crime - NYC, Rome, Paris etc. Every city has a certain element of corruption.
You can find these types of articles anywhere in the world. What has this to do with having a nice safe time in Rio? If you think that Rio is too dangerous for tourists why don't you just say so and then leave this message board for those who disagree with you --- and really want to discuss enjoying Rio for what it really is. A great place to have a great vacation.

CariocaRio - please go start your own discussion about corruption and drugs somewhere else.
Aug 24th, 2002, 06:34 AM
Posts: n/a
Mary, there are a lot of Americans that go to Rio and do just what this person did, my purpose is to educate them so that this does not happen to them. All Im saying is that if you go to Rio you can have an enjoyable safe time if you do the right thing. Stay away from all the bad things Rio has to offer and you will not have any expousure to a problem like this. As you can imagine many young American males go to Rio and think they can do whatever they want, this is to tell them to be carefull, apparently the Rio police are cracking down on tourists and their own corruption, so Cuidado!
Aug 24th, 2002, 08:38 AM
Jim Rosenberg
Posts: n/a
Just returned from Rio Tuesday. We had a great time and I'm grateful for those who posted helpful information, including various warnings, on this board. It is a tremendously interesting place with a lot of friendly people. The exchange rate for U.S. dollars makes it a great value.

In trying several different options including a tour, taxi and a private driver, I would encourage visitors to look into the possibility of hiring a driver. In round terms, it came to around $17.50/hr. U.S., which makes it competitive with organized tours -- but it is much more efficient and flexible. We had a great driver who provided us with many economic, political and social insights about Rio, Brazil and South America.

In terms of safety, I admit to being very conservative and careful about the types of situations I am willing to put myself in. On one occasion, at a flea market-type street sale at the base of a favella, two policemen came over to us and advised us to stay away from the area because it was a more dangerous situation than we may have realized.

We stayed in Sao Conrado because we felt this would be a good area for first-timers and it was. We were able to visit the other beaches and neighborhoods, took in the Hippie Fair, popular sites, etc., but then we could return to a very secure environment in the evenings.

Rio is much more than beaches, sambas and a place to cut loose; it's a busy metro area of more than 10 million people and it would take a lot to know it very well. I would recommend it to people who can exercise some street smarts and be aware of their environment, but not to people who would simply see it as a comparable alternative to a resort vacation or cruise.

We enjoyed it and will probably return. Thanks again for all who have generously shared information here. It was extremely useful.


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