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Safety in Brazil

Before continuing

We highly recommend reading the State Department’s Country Specific Information about Brazil, and enrolling in the Smart Traveler program before leaving.

Below, we have a brief summary of their report, and contact information for the U.S. Embassy. Please also feel free to contact us directly with any safety questions or concerns:

Important Phone Numbers

  • Ambulancia / Ambulance: 192
  • Bomberos / Fire Department: 193
  • Carabineros / Police Department:  190
  • US Embassy: (55-61) 3312-7000

The U.S. State Department on Safety in Brazil

Civil Unrest: Strikes and demonstrations are common in Brazil’s cities, and can grow suddenly. They also have a tendency to disrupt transportation and can become violent.

Road Safety: Road maintenance throughout Brazil is rather poor, making conditions unsafe for driving. In addition, roadside assistance of any sort is scarce, so if a situation arises it is difficult to get help. Brazil also has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving, meaning driving with any blood-alcohol content level can lead to legal repercussions.

Areas to Avoid:

Crime: Brazil has developed quite a dangerous reputation, particularly in recent years. And that reputation certainly has some statistics to back it up. However, with extra caution it is still very possible to take a trip to Brazil without coming to any harm.

While pickpocketing is more common in large cities than armed muggings, they do occur fairly frequently. Keep your wallet sparse. Hide money and other important items elsewhere on your person. In the event that you are robbed, you will be losing significantly less. And never leave items unattended, especially on the beach.

Express kidnappings are also known to occur, where the victim is taken at gunpoint as they are forced to withdraw as much money as possible from ATMs. These most commonly coincide with carjackings and hold-ups in tunnels or at intersections, putting motorists at greater risk.

Credit card fraud and ATM scams are common threats. Always keep your cards in sight, especially when they are being scanned for purchases.

To make sure you are using a legitimate taxi, look for red license plates. Company information and phone numbers should also be clearly on display.

Male or female, keep a close eye on your drink at a bar. Not only do rapists slip drugs into drinks, but also thieves.

Be wary of well-dressed individuals claiming to be police, particularly in airports. Do not follow them or leave items with them, as they are likely looking to rob you. And in the event that something does happen to you while you’re in Brazil, it may not be worth it to go to the police. They can be trusted, but incredibly frustrating to deal with. You could easily lose a whole day simply attempting to fill out a report, so consider how great of a loss you have suffered.

Though rare outside of Rio de Janeiro, tourist police are often a great resource to reach out to if you are the victim of a crime.

Embassy Information