8 Dangerous Places To Avoid In Brazil

Published by Travel Visa Pro on Thu Mar 15 2018

Though one of the most beautiful destinations in the entire world, there are some parts of Brazil that are better left unexplored. This is due to the high rates of violent crime in certain areas, most commonly due to the takeovers by drug warlords or late-night thieving prowlers. It’s always best to be alert and aware of your surroundings, but this can’t always stop criminals from heading your way. Be sure to keep valuables tucked out of sight, travel in groups when possible, and avoid wandering around dangerous parts of the country in the evening or early hours of the morning to be on the safe side.


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Though this favela used to be one of the safest and most tourist-friendly in all of Brazil, there has been an ongoing power struggle between drug warlords and police that has left the territory dangerous to visitors and locals alike. Spontaneous shootouts have become the norm in Rocinha, and things have escalated so badly that army intervention has been necessary at times. Until it’s clear that things have been resolved between all parties, this is one piece of Rio de Janeiro you might want to leave for later.

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São Paulo

Since it’s a big city, it’s not too much of a surprise that São Paulo would be home to some violent crime. However, with the presence of street gangs and organized crime, São Paulo can be ultra dangerous to both residents and tourists. Homicide, rape, and kidnapping are too common for comfort in addition to carjacking, theft, and assault, so you might want to avoid this part of the country if possible.

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One of Brazil’s most violent states, horror stories are abundant in this homicide-heavy part of the country. It’s hard to tell perpetrators from victims in Alagoas, and it’s difficult to come across a single resident who hasn’t been in the mix of a troubling encounter at at least one point. Fist-fights and stabbings take the place of verbal arguments here, so it’s best to steer clear entirely and avoid adding your own nightmare to the list of terrifying tales.

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Though this part of Brazil is by far one of the most photogenic and architecturally pleasing, it’s not worth taking the risk for the sake of a keepsake photo. Even locals warn people to stay as far away from Salvador as possible, as the number of homicides are enough to make anybody cower. Thanks in large part to prison gangs, Salvador has become the most violent city in Brazil, with violent crime rates higher than the world’s other majorly violent cities. The beautiful town has become increasingly vulnerable due to violence and drugs, and avoiding it would be wise.

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Another beautiful piece of Brazil as far as architecture and style goes, the “Venice of Brazil” might not be worth trekking through due to its murder rates, which are the highest per capita. Risks are especially high between the evening and early morning when it’s easier for perpetrators to sneak around, particularly during weekends. The charm isn’t worth the potential for a violent chase. If winding river canals are up your alley, you might be better off visiting the real Venice instead.

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Smaller, more unheard of areas of Brazil are sometimes more prone to being violent and riddled with crimes of all sorts. Caracarai is a prime example, serving as an especially dangerous location for women and children. Sex trafficking and exploitation are the norm here, with truck drivers often leading the exploits at local rest stops. It’s especially wise to avoid this area if you’re traveling with young family members or are a solo traveler.

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Santa Teresa

Often considered a must-see for visitors, Santa Teresa certainly holds its own in terms of beauty. That being said, the winding roads leading you throughout the city can grow incredibly confusing, and this can lead you to accidentally enter forbidden territory that’s overrun with violent criminals that aren’t afraid to take you down on the spot. Muggings are also common, so travel in packs and take advantage of rideshare opportunities when you can.

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Mato Grosso

While much of Mato Grosso is a giant plain that runs throughout Brazil, the crime rate is as high as it is in some of Brazil’s largest cities. Both violent and non-violent crimes run rampant here, and homicides make up a large portion of the crimes that do take place. The assault rate in Mato Grosso is no joke, so be sure to proceed with caution.

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General Tips

Tourists are especially vulnerable to falling victim to street crimes, especially in terms of theft. It’s crucial to stay on guard, travel in groups, avoid aimlessly wandering at night, and be smart with your belongings. You should consider only taking a small amount of cash with you when you’re on-the-go, and leave expensive possessions behind – including jewelry and electronics. Quicknapping is common for motorists at traffic lights or those stopping at an ATM. Some parts of Brazil allow drivers to treat red lights like stop signs to prevent them from lingering at traffic lights for too long, thus making them easier to target. Having your vehicle’s doors and windows closed and locked at all time can help reduce your risk of being robbed, and it’s always best to find an indoor ATM in a well-lit area.

Be wary of strangers, as even the most seemingly-kind citizens might have more malicious intentions. It’s common for locals to pretend to help vulnerable tourists before stealing from them. Even if you’re new to the area you’re staying in, acting confident as you explore can make you appear less worthy of being targeted. Additionally, never ever consume a drink once it has left your sight, as it’s common for drinks to be spiked so that robbers or rapists can take advantage of unsuspecting patrons.

If your passport has been stolen, fill it out DS-64 lost or stolen passport replacement application form.

Be sure to enjoy your time in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but always remember to be alert and follow safety tips and best practices in order to reduce your risk of running into trouble!

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