The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro brought even more international attention to the most-visited city in South America. But the event highlighted the serious crime problems in Brazil too, with local authorities struggling to stop the wave of assaults and robberies that affected visitors. Since the games ended, many travelers have asked, ‘“Is Brazil dangerous?” and the answer is complicated. The poorest neighborhoods of Brazil’s cities, the favelas, are notorious for their lack of security, and tourists often need to exercise extreme caution when traveling in Brazil. However, while some places in Brazil are dangerous, travelers can enjoy everything the country has to offer if they inform themselves of the risks and stick to the safest places in Brazil. Eligible travelers planning to travel to the country will first be required to apply for a Brazil visa online before arrival.
Requirements for the Brazil eVisa
Eligible citizens who wish to travel to Brazil must select the type of Brazil eVisa required, whether for tourism, business, transit, journalism, sport or artistic activities, cultural or scientific programs, short-term medical treatment, or to study or volunteer.
Online Brazil visa requirements also involve:
- Having a valid passport from an eligible country.
- Paying the visa for Brazil fee using a credit or debit card.
- Supplying a current email address to receive the Brazil eVisa.
- Providing a passport-style photograph that follows some strict specifications.
- Applicants under 18 supplying evidence of parental consent to travel to Brazil.
The Brazil online visa permits holders to spend 90 days a year in the country, and is valid for valid 2 consecutive years and allows visitors multiple entries to Brazil. It’s also possible to get a Brazil visa extension if the current travel document is about to expire.
How to Apply for the Brazil Visa Online
Getting the visa for Brazil is simple, as applicants can complete the Brazil visa application form which takes just minutes to complete. Candidates will have to enter their personal information including address, contact number, and passport details. Questions about travel plans, health and security will also be asked.
It’s important to double-check all the data provided in order to avoid the rejection of the Brazil visa application for incorrect information.
As applications are normally processed within 5 working days and can take longer if additional paperwork is required, travelers are advised to submit at least 7 days before leaving for Brazil. Applicants are also able to check the Brazil visa status online while waiting for the eVisa to be approved.
Is Brazil Dangerous for Tourists?
How dangerous is Brazil? In general, Brazil is a dangerous country, with high rates of robbery and assault, and one of the highest rates of homicide in the world. Although there are cities and places in Brazil considered more dangerous than others, the level of security often varies wildly between districts in all of Brazil’s main population centers, and it’s wise to research the reputation of neighborhoods you may need to travel through.
However, there are some general safety tips for Brazil travelers can keep in mind to minimize problems. Visitors should learn about typical Brazil traditions and social norms before coming to the country, in order to minimize social faux pas or misunderstandings with locals. For example, the universal hand signal for ‘OK’ is considered obscene in Brazil, so visitors should avoid using it.
It’s also advised for tourists to be extra vigilant during Brazil national holidays like the annual carnival celebration, when criminals may especially seek to take advantage of the large crowds to rob unwitting tourists. Keeping valuables secure and out of sight is a recommended preventative measure.
The Most Dangerous Cities in Brazil
Rio de Janerio is considered one of the most dangerous cities in Brazil because of the number of favela neighborhoods in the city center where violent crime is common. Although crime rates dropped after police operations during the 2016 Olympics, by the following year most favelas returned to dangerous status and tourists are once again advised to keep clear. The most dangerous areas in Rio de Janeiro are considered to be:
- Rocinha, which until recently hosted favela tours for tourists, but has seen a dramatic increase in crime.
- The Del Castilho, Bangu, Pavuna, and Cascadura neighborhoods in Zona Norte.
- Aterro do Flamengo and Praia de Botafogo, during the night.
- The Centro neighborhood, during the night.
- The favelas surrounding Santa Teresa neighborhood.
The most populated city in Brazil, Sao Paulo, is less dangerous as the favela neighborhoods are mostly found on the outskirts of the city. However, Sao Paulo also has a number of dangerous areas to be avoided, including:
- The area around Parque de la Luz, which experiences a lot of street crime.
- The red light districts around Rua Augusta, Catedral da Sé and Praça da República.
- Certain stops on the red and blue metro lines at night, including Carandiru, Carrão, and República.
The city of Belem is also considered dangerous for tourists, with a high number of armed robberies reported. The state of Bahia contains four of the most dangerous cities in Brazil, including Salvador, the so-called ‘murder capital’ of the country, so tourists visiting this part of Brazil should exercise extreme caution.
The Safest Cities to Visit in Brazil
Even within Brazil’s most dangerous cities, there are areas that are completely safe to visit, especially where the major tourist attractions are concentrated. However, if concerned about crime, travelers may want to consider visiting one of the safest places in Brazil instead.
Smaller coastal cities are generally considered safer than the larger population centers. Relaxing beach resorts such as Buzios, Ilha Grande, and Morro de Sao Paulo provide paradise destinations for foreign tourists not too far removed from main cities.
Those wishing to explore nature in Brazil could head to one of two quaint mountain towns for a relaxing stay. Ouro Preto, north of Rio de Janeiro, and Gramado in South-central Brazil both offer stunning historic architecture surrounded by vast green areas.
Also in the south, Florianopolis is one of the safest cities in Brazil, with a crime rate far lower than many other large population centers. The coastal city offers a variety of impressive colonial architecture, as well as over 60 beaches to explore. The stunning nearby beauty spot Lagoa da Conceição is also well worth a visit.
Travelers planning a holiday to one of the safest places in Brazil should remember to get a Brazil visitor visa well in advance of their trip.