Good Guide in Rio > Safety in Rio and advice


First of all, I want to reassure you, Rio de Janeiro unfortunately has a reputation for violence and danger which is very far from reality. I’ve lived in Rio since beginning of 2013 and if this city was a cut throat, I wouldn’t have stayed there and me and my guides wouldn’t enjoy showing you around it so much. Our mission does not end there because we consider that we are also travel facilitators and, in addition to guiding you during your visiting days, we advise and help you, if necessary, during the entire duration of your stay in Rio.

That said, like everywhere in big cities, there are rules to follow to be peaceful:

First of all, be aware that you can be spotted from afar because of your way of walking, of being dressed, of not being tanned (not yet), in short, of not being a Carioca, means that you are identified like a stranger. So follow the following recommendations:

Passport, money, jewelry, watch ……

  • Leave your passport at the hotel and always have a photocopy with you.
  • Do not walk around with a large amount of cash. Put your money in a secret pocket, the underside or in a belt provided for this purpose and always have a 20 or 50 r (réais) bill in a pocket to give if necessary …
  • Avoid wearing a watch (there is the time displayed throughout Rio), designer handbags, jewelry, or gold chains while walking.
  • Avoid using your Canon or Nikon type cameras with telephoto lenses in empty or low crowded areas and do not carry them over the shoulder but in a bag.
  • Do not walk around with the smartphone in your hand or glued to your ear.
  • Only withdraw cash from ATMs inside banks and carry only a credit card with you.

Beach and sun (or not sun because it beats down under the clouds)

  • When you go to the beach, never leave your belongings unattended, 90% of thefts occur on the sand. Do not leave your things next to you but under your head or between your legs and if you are alone and want to swim, leave them with someone next to you while you are swimming.
  • The waves are generally powerful as well as the current. So be careful and do not go beyond the point where the water is above your pelvis.
  • Use sunscreen or you’ll quickly turn color like a shrimp…
  • Drink plenty of water (bottled), coconut water or fresh fruit juice (they are excellent).
  • Exit casually dressed style shorts, T-shirts and flip flops or tennis.

Crossing streets

  • Lose your habits and forget that you have the priority. It’s not you, it’s the car. You can cross when the pedestrian light passes green and after checking that the car will stop. For pedestrian crossings without light, ensure that you have ample time to pass.
  • From Monday to Friday, the seaside avenues in Ipanema (av Viera Souto) and Copacabana (Av Atlantica) change direction (from right to left when looking at the sea) between 7am and 10am in order to facilitate traffic. So do not forget it when you cross during these hours.
  • Use the bins installed everywhere to throw your cigarette butts (for smokers) and papers because otherwise you risk a fine. It’s the law “Lixo Zero” ie zero waste in the street.


  • First of all, taxis are not expensive at all (let alone Ubers), so take advantage of them, especially in the evening or at night to avoid being left alone in the street.
  • When you get in a taxi, never accept when the driver “gives you a friendly price”, this package will always be more expensive than the meter (taximetro). So ask that he start his “taximetro” otherwise do not get in the taxi and take another, there are a multitude (around 35,000) looking for a ride.
  • For the meter, rate 1 applies from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Sunday and public holidays, otherwise it is rate 2 (20% more).
  • Never pay with a credit card and always pay with cash. Note that taxis in principle never have change, especially if you are a foreigner. So arrange to have small denominations and real coins. You can round up to the next real and, if you’re generous, up to the next 5 (if the run is $ R 7.80, you give a 10 bill if not 8).

In Centro, Lapa and Santa Teresa, be careful

  • When you walk in these 3 neighborhoods, be more careful because the police, whether military, civilian or touristic are less present and you must avoid being alone in a street, even during the day. So take a walk in the streets where there are at least a few people.
  • The city center (Centro) which is also the historic district of Rio is empty on weekends because it is not a residential area but an office area. so don’t go there on the weekend or at least be very careful.
  • Lapa is THE party district of Rio and there are plenty of people in the streets from Thursday evening and especially Friday and Saturday. The pickpockets are therefore there too and can spot you from a distance, so be careful of your pockets or your backpack. For information, this is also an area where there are a lot of drug addicts, especially crack addicts, and especially around the Arches of Lapa (the old aqueduct).
  • Santa Teresa, Montmartre Carioca is a charming district, all in height with a multitude of small streets and alleys. It is therefore easy to find yourself alone around a bend in a busier street.


  • It is estimated that a quarter of Brazilians live in favelas and Rio de Janeiro is no exception to this rule since it is the state capital where there are the most favelas, nearly 1,000 with around 2 million people who live there.
  • 99% of its inhabitants are “good people” with almost all type of legal activities, but 1% live from various trafficking, mainly drugs (including corrupt police officers).
  • The vast majority of the favelas do not present any danger but they are communities where people know each other and if you want to walk into a favela, do not do it without a guide or a local who will be able to show you the points of interest ( especially the views because many are located on the hillside) and will allow you to interact with its inhabitants who are always welcoming.

In case of problem …..

  • If unfortunately you are held up, do not resist, there is no point in risking being hurt (or worse) for a smartphone or a little money. Give what you have, no matter the value, that’s what interests the attacker who has only one thing in mind: to escape as quickly as possible.
  • And to file a complaint if you wish, go to the DEAT (Delegacia de Atendimento ao Turista) in Leblon, Av. Afrânio de Melo Franco, 159, Tel: + 55 21 2332 2924.


Here are some practical tips to fully enjoy your stay in Rio and feel a little Carioca. Often, this experience is so emotional that you want to come back to Rio, later, to “matar a saudade” (you will understand after your stay).

Please note that we offer our customers, upon their arrival in Rio, a Practical Guide to “A Cidade Maravilhosa” and its neighborhoods (things to do, see, restaurants, bars, clubs, etc.) which completes these tips.

At the beach

When you go to the beach, never leave your belongings unattended, 90% of thefts are on the sand. (see the previous paragraph on Safety in Rio)

On Sundays and public holidays, the road that borders the beach is closed to traffic. It’s great because everyone meets there: skateboarders, cyclists, joggers, dancers, pedal cars and of course pedestrians.

Careful crossing, you have bike lanes that run along the beaches and, as with cars, bicycles have priority…

  • Rescue stations (os postos) are reference points along the beaches. There are 12 between Leblon and Leme, separated by a distance of about 800 m. Upstairs are located rescuers (guarda vidas) from 8 am to 8 pm and on the ground floor, you’ll find paying toilets ($R 1.5) and showers ($R 4).
  • Shacks (baracas): propose chairs (Brazilian do not like lying down on the sand), parasols and drinks. Prices vary if you are Brazilian or not. Anyway, a chair (cadeira) is 4 to 5r, parasol (guarda sol) from 7 to 9r. A rental lasts as long as you use it.
  • The beach vendors (ambulantes): there are hundreds who walk the beaches and offer everything. From bikini to caps (boné) through the sarong (cangas), glasses (óculos) with sunscreen (protetor solar) and of course lots of things to eat and drink.
    • To eat : Libanese (comida arabe) kind Kebe, Esfiha, exclusively offered by vendors dressed in djellaba, shrimp (camarão) on pikes, grilled cheese in front of you (queijo assado), sandwiches (sanduiche “natural” because there is salad and it’s fresh), empadas (small fried donuts with meat, shrimp or cheese) and ice cream (picolé (stick) or sorvete). Last thing, the Biscoito Globo (take the salty one in green packet) which is typically Carioca and manufactured with milk, water, oil and cassava flour. This gives a light and super puffed biscuit very gostoso (good).
    • To drink : of course, on the beach, the favorite drink of Brazilians is … beer (cerveja) canned (lata). Are mostly sold domestic brands like Brahma, Skol, Antartica, Itaipava. Try the Matte Leão, sold by the holders of two cans, one on each shoulder, and dressed in orange (you can not miss them). It’s iced black tea (the matte) with lime (limão) mixed as you want (I mix 2/3 matte and 1/3 limão) but it’s pretty sweet. You will also find fresh fruit juice (suco) in small bottle and of course soft drinks (refrigerente) like cocacola and water (agua). Remember the national cocktail: The Caipirinha is cachaça, lime and You drink it like whey, be careful in the sun…

Neighborhoods (bairros) of Rio and sights

  • In Urca: Sugar loaf, fort São João
  • In the Tijuca forest: Christ the Redeemer, the National Park, Vista Chinesa
  • In the Centro: Praça XV, the Municipal Theatre, the São Bento monastery, the Sambodrome, Cidade do Samba
  • In the Zona Norte: the National Museum in the Quinta da Boa Vista park, the Luiz Gonzaga de Tradições Nordestina center, the CADEG (municipal market of Rio), Maracanã stadium
  • In Copacabana: the fort of the same name and the Copacabana Palace
  • In Leme: the fort Duque de Caixas for the sublime view of the entrance of the Guanabara bay
  • In Arpoador: the sunset on the rock or the beach
  • At the end of Leblon, the Mirante, Vidigal favela and the mount of 2 Irmãos
  • In Lapa: the Lapa Arches, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Selaròn stairs
  • In Santa Teresa: the Parque das Ruinas, Chàcara do Céu museum

Metro and bus


Rio’s subway is the simplest of the world : there is only three lines !

  • Line 1 (orange) that goes from Botafogo up to Uruguai in the district of
  • Line 2 (green) from General Osorio (beginning of Ipanema next to Arpoador) until Pavuna (farnorth near the Governador Island where there ist he international airport). This is the line that takes you directly to the Maracanã for amateurs.
  • Line 4 (yellow) from General Osorio until Jardim Oceanico (beginning of Barra, the longest beach of Rio: 20 km)

Some stations are extended by “subway-bus” (Metro na superficie) on the surface to transport travelers. A ticket (unitario) costs $R 5,80 and is valid 3 days. It’s best to buy a prepaid card (to be credited with $R 10, 20, 30 … at automatic machines) because in this case, you do not have to queue up to buy your unitario.


Buses, this is not what is lacking in Rio and luckily because the subway is ridiculous compared to the size of the city with its 6.5 million Cariocas. They are therefore thousands crisscrossing the city in every way and very late at night. No map or indication so ask your hotel which bus to take and, once on the bus, ask to be indicated where to get off. Download Moovit application on your smart-phone for convenience.

The fare (whatever it is) is set at $R 4,05 and you pay on the bus (no ticket), usually to the person in charge before the turnstile, if not directly to the driver (motorista). Prepare the change or in any case, do not pay with a $R 50 (or 20) bill because you may need to back down because there is no change (troco). Once paid, you pass. Then, on the bus, sit down (if not cling!). As the driver often leads foot stuck on the pedal and does not look at what happens behind (or sometimes around the bus, just in front…). Oh, last thing, avoid bus after 8 pm at night, take the subway or taxi.

Traditional dishes (pratos tradicionaïs)

Here are the “must” of popular Brazilian cuisine with, as indicated, the restaurants where you can taste these dishes.

Feijoada, this is a very traditional family dish in Brazil, served on Saturday or Sunday, made of black beans, rice, pork (but also beef), cut cabbage leaves cooked in a pan, farofa (manioc flour golded in a pan with onion and oil) and orange slices for sweet note. It is usually accompanied by beer or caipirinha.

  • La Casa da Feijoada, rua Prudente de Morais à Ipanema, an institution for feijoada with a classic service. This is one of the best in Rio.
  • Café Amarelinho, praça do Marechal Floriano (or Cinelandia) in the Centro with one of the best feijoadas in Rio, served on Fridays only in a pot (there is one for 4 people).
  • On Saturday, in the Centro, restaurants with terrace in the pedestrian streets of rua do Mercado and rua do Ouvidor (near the Praca XV) serve feijoada with live samba music bands playing and make you even dance.

Churrasco, (in the churrascarias), farandole of meat cooked on a wood fire and presented on pikes. You choose your piece, and it is cut in front of you. At will so do not rush to the early pikes. The most wanted piece is the picanha (beef) but there is also lamb, pork, veal, chicken…

  • Churrascaria Palace next to the Copacabana Palace, the best with excellent service but there is also a very famous Fogo de Chão, in Botafogo, av. Repòrter Nestor Morreira with the view over the bay of Botafogo and Assador, Infante Dom Henrique in the Flamengo district with a beautiful view of the Sugar Loaf.

Fish and/or shrimp Moqueca. This is a typical dish from Bahia witht African origins based on coconut milk, palm oil, coriander, pepper, lemon juice, garlic and cumin. It is a delight full of flavor.

  • Restaurante Ancoramar, praça Marechal Ancora, 184 Centro. Great mockups of course and lots of other things like the seafood casserole or cod with sautéed potatoes, garlic and olives.

Street food (comida da rua)

In the street, lots of vendors with their trolleys offer different foods to eat on the run. Here are a few:

  • Tapioca : it is a small pancake made of manioc flour, water and salt cooked in front of you and stuffed with the ingredients of your choice, sweet (coconut, chocolate, banana ..) or savory (cheese, dried meat, chicken ..).
  • Cachorro quente (hot dog). No need to introduce as it is unavoidable in the Americas (and elsewhere). But in Brazil, it has the distinction of being accompanied on top of very different things, fried straw, eggs, grappes.. and various sauces (aside from mustard and ketchup).
  • Pipoca (pop corn), salty or sweet or topped with doce de leite (kind of Nestlé milk). Pipoca vendors often sell Churros.

Everywhere in Rio, you can snack on salgados (salties) or petiscos (snacks) at any time for a very cheap price in small street bars which also offer beer, fruit juice, caipi … You usually pay the cashier before ordering. some salgados:

  • Pastel, different forms (half moon, rectangular or triangular) are  fritters to order on demand and stuffed with cheese, meat, dry meat, catupiry (Brazilian cheese which means very good in Tupi language), shrimp, chicken. This is excellent and not recommended for the shape…
  • Empadas, they are like little salty pies stuffed of the same ingredients as pastels. It stuffs .. but it’s delicious.
  • Coxinha, shaped like a chicken thigh and stuffed with chicken (or turkey) and catupiry cheese. Excellent for the shape ;-).
  • Pão de queijo, cheese bread which comes from Minas Gerais and made with manioc flour and cheese from Minas. It is a must, try it.

Market places in Rio (feiras livres no Rio)

If you want to discover tropical fruits, vegetables, fish etc …, nothing better than to walk the market places where merchants offer you to taste before buying (if you want). There are everywhere in Rio every day. Here is the list:

  • Monday : Rua Gustavo Sampaio, Leme
  • Tuesday: Praça General Osòrio, Ipanema
  • Wednesday: Praça Edmundo Bittencourt, Copacabana
  • Thursday : Rua Ronald de Carvalho, Copacabana
  • Friday : Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz, Ipanema
  • Saturday : Rua Frei Leandro, Lagòa
  • Sunday: Praça Tenente Gil Guilherme, Urca


Here is a little “by situation” glossary that will help you feel comfortable in Rio and elsewhere in Brazil. Take the opportunity to discover this wonderful city.

Courtesy, (polidez) :

  • Good morning :  Bom dia
  • Good afternoon  : Boa tarde
  • Good night : Boa noite
  • Hi ! : Oi / Ola !
  • Bye : Tchau
  • Excuse me : Com licença
  • Please : Por favor
  • Thank you :  Obrigado (vous êtes un homme)  Obrigada (vous êtes une femme)

At the restaurant, (no restaurante) :

  • I’d like…: Queria…
  • Menu : Cardapio
  • Napkin : Guardanapo
  • Fork : Garfo
  • Knife : Faca
  • Spoon : Colher
  • The bill please : A conta por favor
  • Fish : peixe
  • Meat : Carne
  • Rare : Mal passado
  • Well done : Ao ponto
  • Sugar : Açucar
  • Salt : Sal
  • Pepper : Pimenta de reina
  • Hot sauce : Pimenta
  • Sauce : Molho
  • Ice : Gelo
  • Glass of wine : Taça de vinho
  • White wine : Vinho branco
  • Red wine : Vinho tinto
  • Cheese : Queijo
  • Dessert : Sobremese ou doce
  • Water closet : Banheiros

In taxi, (no tàxi) :

  • Take me to —–please : Favor me levar para
  • Slow down : Vai devagar
  • How much is it ?: Quanto custa?
  • Meter : Taximetro

Beverages, (bebidas) :

  • Fruit juice : Suco
  • Water : Agua
  • Tea : Chà
  • Coffee :  Cafe ou espresso
  • Beer : Cervejà
  • Draft : Chope
  • Red wine or white wine :   Vinho tinto, vinho branco

Meat & fish, (carne e peixe) :

  • Chicken : Frango
  • Turkey : Peru
  • Sausage : Linguiça / calabresa
  • Pork : Porco
  • Ham : Presunto
  • Lamb :  Cordeiro
  • Veal : Vitela
  • Shrimp : Camarão
  • Cod : Bacalhau
  • Crab : Siri ou Caranguejo
  • Oysters : Ostras
  • Mussels : Mexilhoes
  • Octopus : Polvo
  • Squid : Lula

Fruits & vegetables, (frutas e legumes):

  • Mango : Manga
  • Pineapple : Abacaxi
  • Apricot : Damasco
  • Apple : Maça
  • Pear : Pera
  • Strawberry : Morango
  • Raspberry : Framboesa
  • Cherry : Cereja
  • Peach : Pêssego
  • Watermelon: Melancia
  • Melon : Melão
  • Lemon : Limão siciliano
  • Lime : Limão
  • Orange : Laranja
  • Grapes : Uvas
  • Potato : Batata
  • Onion : Cebola
  • Salad : Alface
  • Cucumber : Pepino
  • Zucchini : Abobrinha
  • Eggplant : Beringela
  • Cabbage : Couve
  • Cauliflower : Couve-flor
  • Gumbo : Quiabo
  • Chayote : Chuchu
  • Manioc : Mandioca
  • Pepper : Pimentão
  • Pimento : Pimenta
  • Corn : Milho (full of street vendors offer it)

  • + 55 21 98078-4646 (Cel & Whatsapp)

  • Rua Barão da Torre, 42, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

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