With its beautiful, white-sand beaches and colourful carnivals, it’s no mystery why so many people choose Brazil for their holiday abroad. However, going to a completely different country can be a huge culture shock, and if you’re not prepared to deal with the dangers you may encounter, you could find yourself out of pocket, or even worse, personally harmed.
With a little travel advice, you can make the most of your holiday and minimise the risks. Read on for our insider’s safety guide to Brazil.
Brazil’s crime rate is high, so you should be extra cautious. Slums, called ‘favelas,’ surround all the big Brazilian cities. These shanty towns are deposits for excruciatingly poor and desperate people; unfortunately, due to reduced circumstances, these areas can be dangerous and attract high levels of crime.
Although Brazilian cities have implemented specific police forces to deal with the trouble in shanty towns, it may still prove a volatile area and public transport can be disrupted because of outbreaks of violence.
Be especially vigilant during festival or carnival time, as thieves take advantage of the celebrations. To avoid attracting attention to yourself, dress casually, wear no jewellery or pricy watches, and only take a little money with you. Hide valuable items, such as mobile phones and cameras. If someone threatens you, hand over your money straight away – do not resist as criminals often are armed and can be under the influence of illegal substances.
Make sure that you have travel insurance, should the worst happen. Whether you get harmed intentionally or due to sub-standard facilities, you should be covered for any injuries abroad. Speak with legal professionals as soon as possible after a casualty occurs, so you can understand whether you can claim for personal injury.
Be Careful With Your Money
Beware any pink money that you receive from ATM machines. This note will have no value on the market, as it is fake or damaged. If you see any pink marks on your bank note, take it to the bank manager immediately to get it exchanged and show him or her your bank receipt. Keep your credit card out of sight, as fraud is common.
Fortunately, Brazil operates under a policy of tolerance and there is no legislation against homosexuality. In May 2011, Brazil recognised that homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual partners. However, like anywhere, there have been unprovoked attacks on homosexual couples, so if you are gay or lesbian, make sure you have an idea of which areas may be high risk for you and your partner.
Two months before your journey, go see your GP to check if you need to be vaccinated before you leave. You should be entitled to unforeseen emergency medical attention in public hospitals, but Brazilian hospitals are often crowded and if you wanted to go private, you would have to prove that you had sufficient wealth to support the hospital fees. Again, ensure that you have travel insurance before you leave the country.
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