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Travel in Latin America

Is it Safe to Travel in Brazil?
By:Martha A. Brozyna

Like other Latin American countries, Brazil has a reputation as a dangerous destination for travelers. While often exaggerated, certain dangers exist, especially for the unwary. With the minimum of caution, however, tourists can enjoy Brazil safely.

Crime rates in the countryside are generally low. In large cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, however, crime flourishes because of the close juxtaposition of wealthy residential and tourist areas with favelas and other poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

The greatest risk to visitors is robbery by pickpockets and bag snatchers. Sometimes criminals "quicknap" victims meaning they kidnap foreigners close to banks and ATMs and release them after they have withdrawn money. Tourists are also victims of rapes and beatings.

Most crimes against visitors take place in the evenings and at night, particularly in areas close to restaurants and night clubs that tourists patronize.

Some Brazilian cities have created special police forces that patrol popular tourist sites.

Visitors should not flaunt money, jewelry or cameras. The Brazilian Consulate advises travelers to keep valuables in front of them, ideally in "fanny packs." Travelers should avoid getting off the beaten track.

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