Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro Sex Guide (Rio Sex Guide) advises where to find sex, working girls, garotas de programa, prostitution, street hookers, brothels, red-light districts, prostitutes, erotic massage parlors, strip clubs and escorts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (South America).
Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil, on the South Atlantic coast. Rio is famous for its sexy girls, its laidback beach culture and its annual carnival.
The harbour of Rio de Janeiro is comprised of a unique entry from the ocean that makes it appear to be the mouth of a river. Additionally, the harbor is surrounded by spectacular geographic features including Sugar Loaf mountain at 395 meters (1,296 feet), Corcovado Peak at 704 meters (2,310 feet), and the hills of Tijuca at 1,021 meters (3,350 feet). These features work together to collectively make the harbor one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World).
Rio de Janeiro hoasted many of the 2014 FIFA World Cup games, including the final, and will host the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, becoming the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics. Prices of sex services during these big events are higher than usually.
- 1 Sex Scene and Prostitution
- 2 Female Escorts
- 3 Districts of Rio
- 4 Red Light Districts
- 5 Prostitutes and Sex Workers
- 6 Street Hookers
- 7 Adult Locations
- 8 Strip Clubs and Striptease
- 9 Brothels and Sex Clubs
- 10 Erotic Massage Parlors
- 11 Karaoke and KTVs
- 12 Escort Services and Agencies
- 13 Swinger Clubs
- 14 Sex Shops and Adult Stores
- 15 Love Hotels and Short Time Hotels
- 16 Nightclubs and Bars
- 17 Gay and Lesbian
- 18 Other Adult Services
- 19 Dating
- 20 Transsexuals and Shemales
- 21 Sexual Services for Women
- 22 Male Escorts
- 23 Sleeping and Girl Friendly Hotels
- 24 Stay Safe
- 25 See Also
Sex Scene and Prostitution
Prostitution itself (exchanging sex for money) in Brazil is legal, as there are no laws forbidding adult prostitution, but it is illegal to operate a brothel or to employ prostitutes in any other way.
It is a common mistake to think of Rio as Brazil's capital, a distinction it lost on April 21st 1960 when Brasilia became the capital. Beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema, the Christ The Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue, the stadium of Maracanã and Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) are all well-known sights of what the inhabitants call the "marvelous city" (cidade maravilhosa), and are also among the first images to pop up in travelers´ minds, along with the Carnaval celebration.
People from Rio de Janeiro are called as "carioca"s. You can see lots of local stunners with string bikinis on the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.
See also: Rio de Janeiro Escorts
Escorts advertising online is getting more and more popular in Rio de Janeiro. Many street walkers are changing their profession to working as an escort in Rio de Janeiro. Independent escorts are almost invariably a bit more pricey than girls from the agencies, but many guys prefer them because these are women who have chosen to work independently, and generally have to perform well in order to garner repeat business and recommendations via word of mouth.
Districts of Rio
- Centro - including Lapa and Santa Teresa. The city's financial and business centre also has many historic buildings from its early days, such as the Municipal Theatre, National Library, National Museum of Fine Arts, Tiradentes Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral and Pedro Ernesto Palace.
- Zona Sul (South Zone) - including Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema, as well as the districts along Flamengo Beach. Contains some of the more upscale neighborhoods and many of the major tourist sites, such as the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, and Sugar Loaf and Corcovado Mountains.
- Zona Norte (North Zone) - The Maracanã stadium, Quinta da Boa Vista Park with the National Museum the city's Zoo, the National Observatory and more.
- Zona Oeste (West Zone) - a rapidly growing suburban area including primarily the districts of Jacarepaguá and Barra da Tijuca, popular for its beaches. Most of the Olympics in 2016 will be hosted there.
Red Light Districts
Vila Mimosa is one of the most famous red-light areas of prostitution in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The Vila Mimosa is a group of establishments located in the same space (streets) and linked by the activity of prostitution.
An estimated 2,000 women work in the Vila Mimosa sex industry.
Vila Mimosa, is estimated to generate up to US$ 430,000 a month through prostitution. Most of the customers are local guys. Women who work as prostitutes in the area reportedly charge US $20 for sex. Some of the women also hold part time jobs as maids and cashiers in addition to their sex work in order to pay bills.
Prostitutes and Sex Workers
There are thousands of sex workers in Rio de Janeiro. They are often called as "garotas de programa" in Portugese. Prostitutes in Rio work in termas, massage salons, on the streets and as escorts.
By amateurs - the girls who will spend the night with you for free. The term “non-pro” gets used in a variety of ways, but usually to signify someone who is not a hardcore pro but who still expects to be paid. Amateurs are just party girls who you might sweet talk into spending the night with you. Generally, if you don’t speak Portuguese quite well or you are not good-looking or rich, you can forget it.
There are clubs all over Rio, and it’s best to ask locals which are hot, since this changes as often as putas change underwear. One nice restaurant, Mostarda, has dancing on the 2nd floor after midnight, and there are lots of beauties. Nuth, in Barra da Tijuca, is a great dance club. Getting in these places is much like getting in to a trendy club in NY. You have to dress right and look right. You will generally NOT find pros in these clubs (if you do, they are usually “off-duty” and there to dance), but it is possible to sweet talk your way into some beautiful young thing’s pants ... if you speak Portuguese and you look like you have $$$. Again, if you can’t speak Portuguese, you’ll have a hard time picking up any amateurs. If you look like a guy who’s just hanging out looking for pussy, the girls will avoid you like the plague. Don’t assume that all Brazilian women are dying to fuck foreign men. They assume that most foreigners in Rio are sex tourists, and that any brasileira who is seen with a foreigner is a puta. Consequently, picking up amateurs is not as simple as many have made it sound — 99% of the stories you hear about free sex with amateurs are complete BS. You might end up spending by the end of the evening over $300 (US) for drinks and entrance and got nothing other than a couple hours of playing kissy - face in the club.
You can find street walkers in Rio de Janeiro from these areas. Some of the street sex workers are drug users. If you like to catch a girl from the street and have sex with her, always use a condom and be careful!
- Avoid the women working the street along Av. Atlântica in Copacabana. Some cruise the sidewalks while others stand at the end of parked cars in the street. Many are IV drug users, a fair number are transvestites, and high percentages are HIV+. Many of their customers find themselves robbed and beaten by a nearby pimp/boyfriend. Pick pocketing is rampant. If they approach you, head the other way (unless you like to get an extra adventure). Prices are very low if you are a good negotiator.
- There’s also street action to be found on Prado Junior, Avenida Gomes Freire (Lapa neighborhoud) and in Praça Mauá, but the same caveats/warnings apply.
Strip Clubs and Striptease... further results
There are many Strip Clubs in Rio de Janeiro where you can find sexy Brazilian girls dancing lap dance and strip tease. Some of these strip clubs are kind of a mix of a night club (boate) with prostitutes and striptease club.
Brothels and Sex Clubs... further results
Termas in Rio de Janeiro are very famous brothels.
In total, researchers have identified 279 active prostitution points across Rio, including areas such as the world famous Centaurus club.
The Portuguese word Termas literally means Spa, but it refers to a legal club or facility where prostitutes operate. A termas is a combination of spa/health, club/massage, facility/bar/brothel.
Normally after paying your entrance fee at a reception desk you will receive a locker key. Then proceed to a locker room to change into a robe and to lockup your clothes and personal effects. You can also shower or sauna and in some places even freshen up with disposable toothbrushes and razors that are provided. Your locker key is very important, besides locking up your clothes in a locker it also acts as a "credit card" inside of the termas to purchase drinks, massages, garotas de programa (prostitutes) and so on. Keep track of your key at all times.
In some termas you stay in your street clothes. Some termas also have a bad habit of providing a girl to help you change, usually these are the worst girls and it is best to ditch them as soon as possible.
Termas usually have a bar, a sauna and other amenities such as TVs with football or soap operas playing. There is a common room like a lounge where you meet the garotas de programa (prostitutes) for selection. When you first enter the area where the girls are, you might want to walk around awhile and check the talent out before taking a seat. If you see someone you want to check out closer, just say hi and ask if she wants a drink. If you sit down when you enter, you’re likely to be trapped by one of the more aggressive girls, these girls use this tactic because they’ll get no takers otherwise.
They have rooms ranging from a basic bed to luxury suites with jacuzzis. Some rooms are included in the basic price and only charge for suite upgrades, but some termas have a charge for even a basic room. In some termas a suite is just a basic room with a private shower, so you should check before upgrading.
These rules apply more generally when interacting with the working girls, or garotas de programa and this is what you should tell them: This is not your first trip to Rio, you will be in Rio for several weeks, and you won’t be leaving for at least another week. None of this may be true, but these are the correct answers to the invariable questions you will receive from the girls. “Is this your first time in Rio?” “How long will you be in Rio?” “When are you leaving?” You may think these questions are just an effort on the girl’s part to make polite conversation, and in a sense they are, but the girls are also sizing you up. Neophytes will be seen as someone who can potentially be taken advantage of. Newbies don’t know the ropes and may be underserved and worked for expensive drinks. The person who is staying only a few days may receive less attention and poorer service because it’s unlikely he’ll be a steady customer. Similarly, the guy who says “I’m leaving tomorrow and won’t be back for a year” is begging for an unenthusiastic quickie from the girl (known by veterans as the RTF, or “Rio Tourist Fuck”). If, on the other hand, you tell the girl you’ve been in Brasil several times and will be around for awhile, she’s more likely to give her best effort in order to assure customer loyalty and repeat business (yes, from her perspective it is about business). Only after you’ve been around a while and know specific girls pretty well should you answer these questions truthfully.
An interesting innovation has been popping up among the termas over the past few years: customer loyalty — or Frequent Fucker — programs. Termas 65, Solarium, and Monte Carlo all have programs in place. Check for details at the termas. If you’re favorite termas doesn’t have a Frequent Fucker program, recommend that they join in or lose out. Most work by giving you a free entrance after five paid visits.
Several of the termas have special promotions that can save you money on your visits. For example, if you visit the Solarium website you can sign up for the “Festa do Internauta” (Internet User Party) promotion. When you register, a certificate will be emailed to you that is good for the price of admission on any Monday. The certificate is valid for two weeks, so request one just before you leave for Rio. You can also register for “Semana Maluca” (Crazy Week), and you will be sent an email notification a few days in advance of the occasional crazy weeks (discounted prices on rooms). Keep an eye on the promotions, as they can save you a significant amount of money over the course of a week.
Some of the termas have occasional or monthly festas, or special parties, which often involve larger than usual numbers of girls and special decorations and costumes. 4X4, for example, has at least one festa per month. Some of the termas post this information on their websites (4X4, 65), others send email announcements (Solarium, Monte Carlo, L’uomo), and all post sign s in advance of these parties. The Halloween parties, for example, are often great fun, and the festas at 4X4 feature as many a 180 garotas!
In almost all cases, your bill is paid as you leave the termas. While credit cards are accept ed at most termas, in many cases you must pay the girls’ fees in cash. All other charges can typically be put on your card. The charges appear on your billing statement in an innocuous form (“Harry’s Grill”). Some add an additional charge for using a cre dit card. Tipping the girls is not expected and in termas is generally inappropriate, but a small tip for the locker room attendant is always in good form.
Erotic Massage Parlors
Centro, and to a lesser degree Copacabana, are populated with a vast array of tiny sex shops that one would never notice if you didn’t know exactly where to look. These places sometimes advertise in the classified sections of the local papers (O Globo and O Dia, under “massagistas” or “massagem”) but often are known primarily through word of mouth. The locals refer to them as “casas de fast sex” or “fast fodas” (fast fucks). There are quite a few in the Cinelândia, Carioca and Uruguaiana neighborhoods in Centro. Most of these places have only a handful of girls available, along with just a few rooms. The girls are of variable quality; they generally are not as pretty as the cutest of the termas girls, but they are often just as skilled, and seem willing to work just as hard or harder for their money. Speaking of which, these places tend to be very inexpensive. Standard sessions are 20 - 30 minutes (with 10 minute programs available in some), and the price is usually 1 real per minute (i.e., about $13 US for a 30 minute session with the current exchange rate) give or take a few centavos. The rooms often leave something to be desired in the hygiene department, but are upscale compared to most of the facilities at a place like Vila Mimosa. These places are best to hit early in the day (before noon) because they get quite busy over the lunch hour (“businessman’s specials”), and due to the volume of sessions some girls have in a day, they get a bit worn out in the afternoon. Most open at 10 a.m. Bring a towel along, as some of the places don’t seem to change the sheets!
The majority of these places are located in the upper floors of downtown businesses. Several are located on Rua Buenos Aires, on the block across Av. Rio Branco from Termas 4X4. Try Rua Buenos Aires, 85 (3rd, 4th and 5th floors) and 113 (2nd floor). Nearby, on Presidente Vargas (590, room 1317) is a small fast-sex apartment that has about 8 girls. Most are “completa.” One small place is located a few blocks south of Rua Buenos Aires, at Rua Ouvidor, 130, rooms 707 and 911. There were just a few girls here, but you can find a very good 30 minute session for a very reasonable price. At Travessa do Ouvidor, 37 (near the intersection with Rua Ouvidor, east of Av. Rio Branco) you’ll find a small putaria up one flight of stairs. Also nearby is Rua Uruguaiana, 24. Wander up the stairs and on floor 2, 3, and 4 you’ll see several doors open with girls beckoning you to come in. Closer to the Cinelândia metro station you’ll find many apartment brothels. Check out Rua Evaristo da Veiga, 47 (apartments 501, 502, 701, and 702). A few blocks away is a small place at Rua Santa Luzia, 405 (4th floor, room 29). Two more reliably decent spots (decent is a relative term as used here; these are “real-a-minute” putarias after all) include Rua da Carioca, 59 (5th floor) and Avenida 13 de Maio, 47 (rooms 708 and 2408). Many, but not all, of these places will have pamphleteers out front passing out small ads.
There are many, many listings for small places to be found in the classified sections of O Globo and O Dia. (see http://odia.ig.com.br/classificados/ and look under “Casa” and then under “massagens e termas”). Many do not list addresses but provide phone numbers. They come and go very rapidly, so your best bet is to keep an eye on the ads in the papers or check the Brasilian mongering websites. Hint: you probably want to avoid the ads for "quase-mulheres" (transsexuals) unless that’s what gets your juices flowing. Similarly, ads for “coroas” are for older women, which is often code for “old and overweight.” These are generally not MILFs! Check out also Termas above.
Massage and Body Rubs
Karaoke and KTVs
KTVs and hostess bars are very popular in some parts of Asia but you cannot find them in Rio de Janeiro.
Escort Services and Agencies
Rio has thousands of prostitutes and every year some percentage of them are turning to advertise their as escort services in Rio online.
There are dozens of escort agencies through which you can book girls for a few hours during the day or evening. Many have web sites where you can check out the girls pics (usually minus views of their faces), and many also have advertisements in the classified section of the local newspapers. Descriptions of the girls are rather sensationalized, but they will often tell you if the girl does anal (“completa”) and what other services she offers. Many also have books of photos, so you can go to their offices and select a girl from the book or have a girl bring the book to your hotel/apartment (for a small fee). Most agency staff speak only Portuguese, so arranging something by phone can sometimes be a challenge if you don’t speak the language. The prices vary considerably, but you can generally find a beauty to entertain you for two hours for between 100 and 250 reais.
The escort agencies generally will not let you make a booking unless you have a telephone, so if you are staying in an apartment and don’t have a cell phone, booking escorts can be difficult. One of the nice things about the agencies is that many open fairly early. Let’s say you wake up at 10 a.m. and are feeling pretty horny. Give one of the agencies a call and you’ll have a pretty little brasileira doing a lap dance on your pole in 20 minutes. Almost all of the agencies advertise prices for 2 hours, but if you’d rather keep your session to an hour, most will give you prices for 60 minutes. Note, however, that the 2-hour prices are always a much better deal.
There are few nice swinger clubs in Rio de Janeiro.
Sex Shops and Adult Stores... further results
There are many sex shops in Rio de Janeiro where you can find sex toys, porn movies, lingerie etc.
Love Hotels and Short Time Hotels... further results
Love hotels and short-time hotels in Brazil are often called as motels.
The Brasilian motel is not the same as a US motel. Brasilian motels are designed for sex, not really for sleeping. If you’re staying at a hotel that does not allow guests, if you prefer to be discrete, if you feel uncomfortable inviting strangers into your apartment, or if you just want a special night with a favorite garota, you might consider a trip to a motel.
The “love motel” is an institution in Brazil. Its existence reflects certain realities in the lives of most Brasilians: most live in crowded households, many share bedrooms with youngsters or other roommates, and few have anything resembling privacy. Hence, motels: places where couples — married or not — can have a few hours of privacy for sex.
Because motels are intended for sex, they are designed for sex. Most have nice big beds with strategically placed mirrors. Many have whirlpools; most have TV with one or more porn channels. Upscale rooms have dry saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, waterfalls, and all sorts of electronic goodies (including internet connections in some cases, so you can upload those pictures as soon as you take them!). Some have special "equipment," like chairs especially designed for sex play (the infamous “cadeira erotica”). Several have on - site sex shops where you can purchase toys and such. The motels can be found all over Rio.
For more on this marvelous Brasilian institution (second only to the termas), see: http://www.guiademoteis.com.br. This site has links to many motel web sites and also has a link that allows you to print discount coupons for a number of the motels. Discount coupons are also sometimes available directly from the sites for the motels. The guide also has a primer on how to use the sex chairs found in some motel rooms! Remember that all of the working girls know the near by places to have a room for a short time.
There are some nice motels in the city, some located close to Copacabana/Ipanema and some in or close to Centro. More motels can be found little bit further away.
Nightclubs and Bars
Rio de Janeiro has lots of great nightclubs where you can try to find sex for free. Some nightclub are called "boites" and there are often lots of freelancer prostitutes hanging around and searching for customers.
Another common place to search for that girl is the night club area, which is located around Ave. Princess Isabel in Leme. There are many nightclubs in this neighborhood (also sometimes referred to as the Lido). These clubs (or "Boites") open relatively late and feature some exotic dance shows. The cover charges vary from $15-$50 reais and sometimes includes the first drink or two. Drink prices tend to be VERY expensive, so keep an eye on your bar tab and check it each time you order something. Some of the clubs have been known to pad the tab with mystery charges.
These clubs are filled with women, some who dance and some who are just there to keep you company, share your drinks, and maybe go home with you. The dancers are also available to head home with you. The house makes its money off the drinks and cover. Barbarela’s does probably charge a few to take a girl out. The best-known places are Barbarela’s, Kalabria, Frank's, La Cicciolina, New Pussycat, Don Juan’s, and the New Scotch Bar. Barbarela's is known to have the most attractive women, but an evening here can get pretty expensive, and the place will pad your tab if you’re not very careful, after 4am they head over to Kalabria for after hours. Most of the girls will ask for $300-400 reais for 2 hours but will negotiate from there. Many will not want to spend the night; they would prefer to make the quick money and then find another customer later. Also worth noting is the fact that while many of these places open late, many of the hottest garotas get pulled out by 11 or so, especially at Barbarela’s.
List of the Night clubs
These Nightclubs are located in Copacabana:
- Barbarella’s, Rua Min. Viveiros de Castro, 24, Copa.
- Kalabria, Rua Ronald de Carvalho, 21 - Copa Tel. +55 21 2541-9248, Open Mon-Sun 10pm - 8am. (After Hours)
- Frank’s Bar, Av. Princess Isabel, 185, Copa.
- La Cicciolina, Av. Princess Isabel, 185, Copa.
- New Scotch Bar, Av. Princess Isabel, 7, Copa.
- Pussycat, Rua Belfort Roxo, 88B, Copa.
See also: History about Help Discoteca
Gay and Lesbian... further results
Rio de Janeiro is the main destination for lesbian and gay travellers from all over Brazil and the rest of the world. The city has been chosen as the best lesbian and gay international destination in 2009, and the sexiest gay place in the world in 2010 and 2011.
The best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro are the neighbourhoods of Copacabana or Ipanema. These are the wealthier areas in town and they offer the best shops, restaurants, hotels, gay bars and clubs. And on top, both areas have the most beautiful beaches in town. For example Rio Othon Palace and Hotel Vermont are gay friendly hotels.
The gay beach, so the hotspot to show off your tan, is the beach on Ipanema gay beach, at the end of the Rua Farme de Amoedo. You will recognize it from the rainbow flags and the thousands of hot guys standing between the umbrellas, showing off and cruising around.
Gay night-life in Rio starts late, very late. Do not expect the bars to fill up before midnight. Le Boy is still one of the popular choices on Copacabana, but new club The Week, down in Centro attracts the biggest crowds of cute and muscled guys.
Brazil has an extensive and functional treating of AIDS. Anti-retrovirus drugs are freely distributed on the public healthcare system.
You can find a great selection of gay bars, gay clubs, gay saunas and gay cruising areas in Rio de Janeiro.
Other Adult Services
There are some BDSM and fetish clubs in Rio de Janeiro.
Dating in Rio de Janeiro can be a bit tricky due to cultural differences, so your best bet is to sign up for a dating site before your trip so you can meet a few locals ahead of time. AdultFriendFinder.com, for example, lets you meet local members in Rio de Janeiro and get to know them on a personal basis before you arrive. Take advantage of features like live chat rooms and member webcams so you know who you are chatting with before arranging a face-to-face meeting. Since time in your destination may be limited, get to know each other’s desires beforehand so when you do meet, you can skip the awkward introductions and start having some real fun.
Transsexuals and Shemales
Copacabana Beach is the place where t-girls can be found. There are plenty of shemales selling their bodies. They are relatively cheap compared to Rio termas. You can also find shemale escorts in Rio who work from a private flats or hotels.
In Rio, you must be extra cautious at the transexual clubs and whenever you have a good time with transgirls. It is common for t-girls drug men, by slipping drugs in to their drinks. After that prostitutes and their pimps will take all your valuables and empty your bank accounts.
Transsexual Clubs & Parties
- Rio Relax Luxury Party
- It's a monthly transexual event, every 2nd Thursday and starts at 11pm
- Transsexuals, Crossdressers, guys, girls - all are welcome
- Cover charge is usually 20 Rials before midnight, T-girls free entrance & GOGO Dancers & Shows. Plenty of sexy transexual freelancers and lots of hot crowd.
- Venue: Club Six, Rua das Marrecas N¦ 38, LAPA, Rio de Janeiro
- Website: http://www.clubsix.com.br/#&/page_HOME
- Phone: (21)6800-7087
As any other big city in Brazil, you can find lots of very beautiful TS escorts in Rio de Janeiro.
Sexual Services for Women
Brazil has always been a very popular tourist destination due to its exotic wildlife, beautiful people, pristine beaches and raucous festivals like Carnival. But it appears that Brazil might be vying for the number one spot for sex tourism as well. Additionally, Brazil is a popular destination for female sex tourism, which generally does not see rates as high as male sex tourism. For female tourists, it should not be hard to find male companionship from a bar or a nightclub. Male escorts can be also found from internet in Brazil.
There are working many male escorts in Rio de Janeiro. Most of them advertise their escort services online.
Sleeping and Girl Friendly Hotels
Rio has a great variety of different kind of hotels. You can find very cheap 1-star hotels and hostels and ridiculously expensive 5-star hotels in Rio.
Girl Friendly Hotels
- Atlantico Copacabana Hotel
- Mercure Rio de Janeiro Botafogo Hotel
See also: Global list of girl friendly hotels
It is important to note that while the following information may panic you and also make you question whether to go or not to Rio, most visitors to the city have a great time with no incidents.
As a traveler, even if you don't leave the "Zona Sul" (which include Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Gávea, Jardim Botânico, Flamengo, Laranjeiras, Botafogo, Urca) or Western Suburbs (Barra, Recreio), you may experience a palpable tension over security.
Generally, tourists (gringos) and teenagers are considered "easy" targets for criminals. Day-to-day living has also been affected by this. For example, regular banks all have fortress style security doors and armed security men. Rio can be a dangerous city and it is wise to follow these rules even if they seem over exaggerated.
In order to fully enjoy your trip the traveler should pay attention to simple things. Avoid the downtown area, especially Saara, after dark. Although downtown is a relatively safe place during the day, after-dark all the people who work there have already gone home. If you are going to a theater or a show, it's all right; but do not wander in those dark streets by night. Go to Ipanema beach, all lighted and policed during the night, though even there is not entirely safe for tourists who look obviously like tourists.
Sunday is a particular day since most shops are closed and their security guards are absent so the neighbourhood Centro is not safe in the daytime. Also, even the bigger streets in Copacabana are less safe after dark so the beach walk is probably the best option.
Should you find yourself being mugged, the normal advice applies:
Don't resist or do anything to aggravate the muggers. Try not to stare in their faces as they might think you are memorizing their appearance. Eyes to the ground is probably your best bet. Let them take anything they want (keep your arms limp). Afterwards, leave the scene quickly but calmly (don't run in panic screaming for the police).
In the morning, especially before the police arrive, if you are walking or jogging on, Copacabana should be considered unsafe. Even with people around, joggers are popular targets for mugging. If you plan on jogging make sure not to wear anything that may tempt a mugger (watch, ipod etc) and if you can, wait until after 10:00 AM.
When in downtown during the rush hour, be aware of pickpockets as in any other big city centre. The difference in Rio is that the pickpocket can often be a bit violent: one of them pushing you forward in the bus or to the ground in the street while another one takes your wallet and runs away. It's not that usual or as bad as it sounds, but try to avoid being in real danger by reacting strongly as these guys often operate in armed groups (2-5 people), some unnoticed by you. On weekends, beaches in Rio are watched by helicopters.
In the area around Copacabana beach (and maybe in the city centre), the tourist should be aware of a shoe shining scam. The tourist will be approached by a shoeshiner and to his astonishment discover a large, dirty blot on his shoes (which is actually shoe polish or mustard but looks like quite something else). The tourist is typically shown to a chair and has his shoes or sandals cleaned in the best manner. Only after this service is rendered, the outrageous price of somewhere around R$1000 or more is revealed. At this point, muscular friends of the shoeshiner typically appear to "oversee" the completion of the transaction.
The subway is fairly safe, so it is recommended to use it if you want to go from one place to another. Although you may be used to taking the handy and good trains in Europe or even in North America to go across many places, you won't need to take a train in Rio. If you do, it can be a fairly nice trip to the suburbs or a chaotic journey to a bad neighborhood in a train where people sell all kinds of weird stuff, where everyone will look at you in a way you will feel you are a alien, about to be mugged. Buses on the South Zone are fairly safe as well, but, in the city centre, they can be quite crowded. Inside a bus, being mugged is always a threat: less so but stil possible in the South and tourist zones. Always remember that Bus 174 movie. It happens so often that they don't even go to the news (only homicides or big cases where the police got involved such as this Bus 174 go to the news). In the subway, it is quite unlikely though, which is one extra point to the subway!
Don't walk around with lots of money in your pocket. ATM's are everywhere (prefer the ones inside shopping centres) and credit/debit cards are widely accepted. But don't walk around without any money: you may need something to give to the bad guys in case you are mugged. Not having money to give a mugger can be dangerous as they may get angry and resort to violence. An excellent idea is to buy a "capanga" (literally meaning bodyguard), that is, a small frontal unisex pouch, normally used to carry your wallet, checks, money and car keys.
Avoid wearing jewelry or other signs of wealth (iPods, fancy cell phones/mobiles, digital cameras, etc.) if possible, at any time of the day, as these attract attention. Thieves have been known to run past targets and tear off necklaces, rings, and earrings without stopping. Earrings are particularly dangerous as tearing them off often harms the owner.
There are around 700 favelas in the city and most of them can potentially be unsafe in Rio: and there is always one near you (by a couple of miles or just a few yards). These are easily recognized by their expansive brick walls, and are often on a hillside. The slums grew from being impoverished neighborhoods but are now large areas ruled by drug lords. If you want to keep your nice vision of Rio, you don't need to go there. However, some favelas are amazingly huge, and a new experience for some -- there are some travel agencies who take people on tours there. If you want to go, pay one of those agencies. NEVER go to a favela by yourself, or with an unknown guide. The tour operators have "safe-conduct pacts" with the local drug dealers. If you don't have one, you'll be in BIG trouble. You'll most likely be approached by the drug baron's guards and asked what you are doing there (and these guys typically don't speak English). If you don't have a good reason (and you probably don't), the consequences could be dire. Don't count on the police to help you, as they don't like to enter the favela either, except in special circumstances, though most likely they will check if you are carrying any drugs upon leaving the favela.
In Brazil, every state has two police forces: the Civil (Polícia Civil) and Military (Polícia Militar). Only the latter wear uniform (in Rio, it is navy blue). The city of Rio also has an unarmed Civil Guard, dressed in khaki. Policemen can usually be trusted, but corruption in Brazil is still rampant and a few officers may try to extort you or demanding a little bribe. When this happens, it is usually very subtle, and the officer may typically say something about "some for the beer" (cervejinha). If you are not willing, refuse and ask for another officer. Don't ever try to bribe a policeman on your own--most of them are honest and you might end up in jail.
The local emergency dial number is 190.
At night, especially after traffic has died down, you may hear what sounds like fireworks and explosions. This is not as menacing as it sounds, though it is still indicative of somebody up to no good. These are often firecrackers set-off as signals in the favelas. It might mean that a drug shipment has arrived and is in-transit or that the police are making a raid into the favela. It is a signal to gang operatives who act as lookouts and surrogate police to be extra-vigilant. However, real shoot-outs may occur, especially on weekends. If you are on the street and you hear a shooting, find shelter in the nearest shop or restaurant.
For your safety, cross at the crosswalks, not closer to the corner, and watch for cars regardless of traffic lights.
Carjacking can be a threat too, especially if you are outside the tourist areas and after dark. It is perfectly acceptable (even if not exactly legal) not to stop in the traffic lights if there is nobody else on the street and you feel it's okay to go (if there are no other cars). You will see even police doing this. Some major motorways such as Linha Amarela (Yellow Line: connects the west zone(Barra da Tijuca) to the north zone - may be your way to Norte Shopping for example) and Linha Vermelha (Red Line - the main connection from the International Airport) are strongly avoided late at night. Both motorways are surrounded by favelas so carjacking is usual and shoot-outs may occur between rival drug lords or between drug lords and the police. If you rent a car, be aware of all these issues. As a tourist, it may be better not to rent one anyway, as if you get lost and go to a bad neighbourhood (and again, there will always be one near you), you will most likely be in trouble.
If you want to go to a traditional escola de samba (samba school), Mangueira is a good place. This is close to a favela, so you should go with a guide accordingly. If you do have a trustful Brazilian friend that can take you, that's excellent. Ask the friend to take you to Maracanã as well to watch a football (soccer) match! Yet exercise great caution if you go by yourself especially if two of the local Rio teams are playing (Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo, and Vasco). These matches can be very exciting but also very dangerous especially if between Flamengo and Botafogo or Vasco. If it looks like the team for which the fans around you are cheering is losing, it is wise to leave the stadium before the match ends. You don't want to be in the middle of a very angry bunch of football fans when they all cram out of the stadium.
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