Rio Crime Exaggerated?

Old Nov 2nd, 2007, 07:56 PM
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Rio Crime Exaggerated?

My wife, teenage daughter and I are going to Rio Christmas week. All the "know it alls" I meet in the travel industry say that as soon as you set foot from your hotel (I mean literally out the door), you will be stripped of your camera, watch, jewelry and frankly everything but the clothes on your back. We are a middle aged couple who dress plainly, don't wear jewelry but do have one video camera and one still camera that we live with on vacation. Are the stories of street crime exaggerated or is crime in Rio (and we will be staying either on the beach in Copacabana or Ipanema)like any other big city. We plan on going to the beach, Sugarloaf, Corcovado, etc. Any input would be greatly appreciated!
jrlaw10 is offline  
Old Nov 2nd, 2007, 08:37 PM
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We travelled to Rio last year and stayed at Copacabana. We are also a middle aged couple who dress plainly. We walked all over Cocacabana during the day as well as all the usual tourist spots without incident. We did not walk too far from our hotel after dark and we did not flash our camera around. I think Ipanema seemed safer and all round nicer than Cocacabana. It certainly felt a little less safe than other parts of SA but by taking the usual precautions I sure you will have a wonderful time.
skittle is offline  
Old Nov 2nd, 2007, 09:16 PM
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Be very careful at night if you are planning a trip to Rio de Janeiro. I was attacked 3 blocks from my hotel on the night I arrived in Rio last week.
This was my first visit to Brazil, but not my first international trip. Iíve travelled extensively in Asia and Mexico and have never felt threatened or experienced a problem when visiting these regions. Maybe Iíve been lucky up to this point.
I stayed at the Atlantis Copacabana Hotel. Itís a clean budget hotel located a couple of blocks inland from where Ipanema and Copacabana beaches meet in the tourist zone of the city.
I arrived from the U.S. in the afternoon and after a nap, decided to find a place for dinner around 8pm. I debated going out and walking the first night given the security issues Iíve read about on this and other travel websites. I thought Iíd be ok since I was only going a few blocks and Iím a 6í1íí 205 lbs. male. I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and an old watch.
I headed toward Ipanema beach and in hindsight, should have been alarmed by the 10 foot high fences and guards on all the residential buildings along the two blocks from my hotel to the beach. Once I reached the main avenue along the beach, I walked one block and almost went into a restaurant at the end of the block. Instead, I decided to go one more block. Big mistake!
After waiting at the intersection for cars to pass, I noticed the people I was walking with had already crossed and I was alone. As I entered the crosswalk, two people were crossing from the opposite direction. ďHey AmigoĒ is what I heard as they got closer. When the first of the two young males got near me, he pulled a broken bottle from under his armpit. I grabbed the wrist holding the bottle and pushed him backward into his accomplice before turning and running back to the restaurant on the corner.
The person at the restaurant taxi stand helped hail a taxi for me, but even with a map and street address, the taxi driver had no idea where the hotel was even though it was 3 blocks away. (Hereís where Iíll admit to knowing only a few basic phrases in Portuguese. Be aware that little to no English is spoken in Rio even in the tourist zone.) I ended up walking back to the hotel.
I never went out again at night during my stayÖsad. I went to the beaches (awesome!) during the day and took a guided trip to Corcovado and Sugarloaf, but didnít feel safe going out after dark.
Be safe!
Idaho13 is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2007, 04:37 AM
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HIya Idaho 13
Im really sorry to hear about your incident in Rio last week. You were very unfortunate in that it happened and Im sorry it did so in this great city. Unfortunately Rio has got itself a bad name, yes it as its fair share of crime etc but IT IS exaggerated. I have been a tour guide here for 4.5 years and only two people i've worked with in all this time have either been robbed or have suffered an atempted robbery. Europe is bad too, my gran and her sister were mugged in london, friends in Barcelona etc.
Right, so what do I recommend. You DO have to be careful, thats def and if you ever do get robbed DO NOT REACT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. These guys are usually under the influence of drugs and dont really know what they're doing, ie distance vision, strength they're using etc. They want the stuff to buy more drugs.
Try and stay in Ipanema if poss and not copacabana, if you stay in copacabana DONT go walking the back streets AT NIGHT, thats where the homeless sleep.AT NIGHT GO STRAIGHT to the beach area and always walk where there are most people, that could be the restaurants and buildings side or the BEACH side. Im NOT saying walk on the beach itself after dark, DONT, NEAR THE WATERs EDGE, but there are many with people and movement all the way along. Then cross the road again in front of your restaurant.
NEVER carry valuables out with you, cameras take by day or if you go out by taxi or with guide by night. TAXIS - right, thats another issue. They PRETEND they dont know where the addresses are, it happens quite a bit, unfortunately. ASK the restaurant where you go to get you a taxi back and to explain where it is if you're not staying in one of the better known ones. Get a card from the hotel with the address and ask them to write between which 2 streets it is, for better location. NOT THE CARD WITH YOUR ROOM NUMBER ON. Taxis have meters, just round the price up to the next full number.
As for your fisrt day Id recommend getting a guide so they can help you out with various tips, ideas, suggestions etc and show you around areas you might not have known or gone, such as the historical city centre. Go to Lapa one night, by taxi there and back and go appreciate some live brasilian music.
Please have fun in our marvellous city, do be careful, always be aware of your surroundings and belongings, keep bag zips etc in FRONT of you and the openings too. the thieves are opportunists. DONT carry around things that you dont need to, ie driving license, cards from other countries, etc, just take a credit card or 2, and some cash split in 2 pockets, some smaller in one and the Major in another. MASTER card does not usually work so well, take VISA,
I hope this helps, if you need recommendations for a guide or any other help, input, tips etc please ask
have fun, Rio has been voted the friendliest city in the world by newsweek 2 years running so it cant be all bad can it !!!
good luck
gypsyluce is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2007, 08:36 AM
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Gypsyluce's advice is spot on. I would add one more suggestion: stay in Ipanema (or Leblon), definitely not Copacabana. Ipanema is safer, cleaner, has more and better restaurants and shoppping and is where you will likely go for dinner and the like anyway. Copacabana is similar to Times Square in NYC, to some extent, with a beautiful beach.

Go to Rio, you will have a terrific time. We've gone a couple of times, with our kids, and never once felt threatened. Certainly, there is a lot of crime in Rio (the vast majority away from tourist destinations) but take the precautions outlined above. Don't dress like a tourist -its amazing how many fair skinned tourists walk around wearing sports socks and sneakers, with a fanny pack and a camera in one hand an open guide book in the other - and use common sense. The people in Rio couldn't be nicer, the city is beautiful and there is much to see and do.
tengohambre is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2007, 11:58 AM
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I had a similar situation happen to me as Idaho13, I got away but when I look back I have to say it was completely my fault. First of all that hotel where he stayed is in the back streets of Copacabana so the first mistake was at night to walk out of that hotel. You should never ever walk in the back streets of Copacabana at night, when you leave a hotel like that you get a taxi and take it to your destination, never walk. That's what happened to me I was walking down Av. Atlantica at midnight and I shouldn't have and I have never since, now I take taxis even if I am going just a few blocks. During the day no problem in the beach area you can walk anywhere you want.

That is about the only problem I have ever had in Rio and I have been there many times. I use my digital camera always as well as my video camera, I take them everywhere in a cheap plastic bag that I get from a supermarket or drugstore so it doesn't look like I have expensive camera equipment with me and I hold it close to me to avoid it being snatched. No jewelry and I don't flash cash or carry more than I need for that day.
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Old Nov 10th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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We were in Rio at the Luxor Regente on the Copacabana Beach near Ipanema in late October. Loved Rio and had no problems. As the guide told us, stay near people. We walked as far as one block in off the beach in the evening.
We were fortunate to be there on a weekend. A flea market was set up on the beach Saturday evening and one lane of traffic was closed all day Sunday.
Interesting (and cheap) food on the beach. Hotel has towels and umbrellas...also a beach boy to help set up.
We did all the tourist things, took lots of pictures. Rio ranks up there with Istanbul as one of the most picturesque and fascinating cities in the world.
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