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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Sep 23, 2007
5061 posts
1155 upvotes

Brazil 2020

Hey RFDers. I will be traveling Brazil in February 2020. Got 12 days including flights.

Can anyone suggest a plan with the length of time I should spend in each city? For the Rio segment I am very open to ideas and can visit other cities if you think it makes sense logistically. This is what I have in mind so far based on my research but very open to suggestions.

-I will arrive on a weekend in Sao Paulo. According to Google, 2 days in enough here so there goes the weekend.

-From Sao Paulo, I want to visit the Iguana Falls. Time is precious so I am thinking to take a domestic flight. No bus as it takes too long. February is peak period in Brazil so flights are going to cost more but I don't have a choice. My research suggests to spend 2 days in Iguana Falls if visiting just 1 side. 3-4 days if visiting from both Argentina and Brazilian sides. I am more leaning on visiting both sides since it's out of the way in both countries. Would be nice to cross off the list of things to do in life. So let's say 4 days here. Any tips for doing this? I should fly from Sao Paulo to Argentina side first? Then how do I cross back into the Brazil side? I imagine it's cheaper if I fly to Rio from the Brazil side since it's domestic flights. Trying to wrap my head around this Argentina/Brazil border crossing.

-If visiting from both sides is excessively complicated, I can limit the Falls to just 2 days and spend more time elsewhere. Please suggest.

-From Iguazu I fly to Rio to spend maybe 5-6 days here. Base the rest of my trip here. I heard Rio itself takes about 4 days at least. Accurate? I probably don't want to go through the hassle of booking another domestic flight or dragging my belongings to another city. What day trips or neighboring cities can I visit near Rio within a day's reach to kill these 5-6 days?

Haven't booked any hotels. Any suggestions for Sao Paulo and Rio in terms of areas to book hotels?

Any general travel, safety and money tips about Brazil? Please share. Areas to stay away from? I know Brazil kind of has a bad reputation for safety but I am sure it is overblown.

I know I am going at the peak times. February is the month of carnivals. Everything is going to be expensive.

Recommended restaurants and must try dishes?

I think 1.5 weeks is definitely not enough. I still want to do an Amazon experience but that's go to be another trip later on in life. Perhaps combine in a future South American trip.

Like my Jordan/Egypt trip, I'll also do a write up when I return in March. Would be good to get a combined info from the community.
20 replies
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
3459 posts
1219 upvotes
Ottawa
I'll ask my son who lives in Brazil (Marillia) if he has any comments/suggestions. He is married to a Brazilian, and they have done some travelling there. He speaks Portuguese, which definitely helps. Although surrounded by Spanish-speaking countries, many (most?) In Brazil don't speak Spanish.
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
3459 posts
1219 upvotes
Ottawa
My son's response....
I traveled quite a bit in Brazil, so here are my suggestions. Of course it depends what you like: beaches, museums, nature, food...

São Paulo City is generally grimy and industrial, but I think it has the best museums and restaurants. I suggest the Afro-Brazil Museum in Ibirapuera Park or the fine arts museum MASP on Paulista Ave.

I think 2 days is enough at Iguazu falls. I only saw the falls from the Brazil side, so I couldn't say which is better. It was spectacular! There is also a bird sanctuary next to the falls which I highly recommend.

There are so many things to do in Rio; you could easily spend 5-6 days there. My highlights were Ipanema beach, the hippie market, Sugarloaf mountain, and a bus tour of the city. I regret that I went to the Christ the Redeemer statue... it looks better from distance. There is a nice panoramic view of the city up there, though. I hear there is a vibrant music scene, but I didn't end up going to any concerts there. In terms of day trips, you could go to Angra dos Reis or Parati which are popular beach cities.

In terms of money, the real is pretty weak right now which is good for you. People don't tip in Brazil, though some fancy restaurants add a 10% service fee to the bill.

Canada is one of the safest countries in the world, so of course you'll find Brazil is less safe; for example the murder rate is about ten times higher per capita, though that's mainly from gunfights between drug dealers or from military incursions into favelas. I've lived here for 2 years and never had any problems. When I visit SP City or Rio I never walk around after dark, though you can take taxis. Be careful with your wallet and cellphone in tourist areas. In general, be aware of your surroundings.

I suggest to learn at least a few works of Brazilian Portuguese in case you need to ask directions or talk to a shopkeeper.
Have a good trip!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 25, 2009
4328 posts
1337 upvotes
Moncton
For Iguana Falls you need to consider the health risks if you haven’t been vaccinated. Edit: that’s now a bit moot since São Paulo, Rio and Salvador have been added to the list of Yellow fever risk zones.
https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/brazil

Beyond vaccinations, you really don’t want to be bitten by a mosquito. The more rural the place, the more likely that is (including the falls).

I can recommend Rio and Salvador. I took a cheap domestic flight from Rio to Salvador. I did it as a day trip, although in retrospect that was a bit silly.

Crime in Brazil is rIdiculous. Expect to be robbed and be happy if you aren’t. Old Salvador was policed but it still didn’t feel particularly safe. Dress down, never leave anything unattended, especially at the beach. In Rio tourists are targeted and there aren’t enough police for the beach areas.

Amazon Prime has a short documentary about Salvador, Bahia. Anthony Bourdaine (iTunes) went in Season 3, Episode 8 of Parts Unknown.

This is a random documentary about Salvador I found on YouTube (apparently financed by the Chinese government):
Toronto is a very small part of Canada
Deal Addict
Jul 21, 2005
1762 posts
863 upvotes
Alberta
I went to Brazil in 2017 and here are a few pointers from my perspective:

1. Sao Paulo - def no more than a couple of days. I don't remember much interesting here. We found out we had some distant relatives here and visited them and they took us around town, wasn't that much interesting that I remember.
2. Rio - I think in 4 days you can hit up everything cool. We stayed right on Copacabana beach so swam there, walked to other beaches nearby, went to Christ the redeemer statue, cool view from up there, Sugarloaf mountain, Escadaria Selarón, Carioca Aqueduct,
Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, and although were strongly advised against by a resident Canadian, we did the rocinha favela tour (pay some company to take you there, walking tour). Was fine and very eye opening. In general, don't wear jewelry or watches and dress down. I only brought along like $20 worth of cash with me when going out anywhere in Rio in a fake wallet, rest stashed in a money belt. My fake wallet had random cards in it like Petro Canada points, expired credit cards...whatever to make it look like my main wallet just in case. Never had any issues myself but just to be safe. We walked all over Rio with my buddy and his expensive DSLR, and we didn't have problems (we were in a group of 4 ppl, 2 guys and 2 girls). Just have to be vigilant of your surroundings.

Now, I never went to the falls myself, I will catch them on my next trip to Argentina sometime or if I visit Brazil again as we have relatives there now. The other couple in our group has been to the falls before so we didn't want to go again and instead explore other, in my opinion, cooler places.

We visited the following places, Ilha Grande, Pentanal, Salvador, and my favourite, Lencois Marahenses (pictured below). Rio, Sao Paulo and Salvador we did ourselves, the other places we booked as tours as it's easier. We booked our own flights and just arrived to waiting cars that took us places. We definitely had more time than you will, but just giving you ideas. In my opinion, Sao Paulo isn't really worth visiting given some other options that are much cooler.

Anyways, if you want to get ideas, here is my smugmug page with pictures my buddy took of the trip, can see where we went and make your own decisions on where you want to go: https://www.eblend.ca/Travel/2017/Brazi ... ors-Photos

Here is my favourite place from all the places I have been, Lencois Marahenses. Basically a desert right on the edge of a jungle, with crystal clear water between the sand dunes, it's freaking amazing, running down a dune and jumping into super warm water. We rolled down and stuff, so fun.

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Deal Addict
Feb 3, 2006
1183 posts
60 upvotes
As someone born in Brazil and very familiar with Rio and Sao Paulo I'd:

-Skip Sao Paulo altogether. It's an ugly city with pockets of affluence but that's about it. It's not only until you fly over Sao Paolo that you realize that's
a massive concrete urban disaster.

-Near Rio, try Cabo Frio and Buzios

-in Rio, stay in Barra de Tijuca and find transportation into the city every day. Better beaches, safer and better accommodations.

-As for Rocinha and the tour. If turning people's misfortune into a tourist destination is your thing then I seriously think you need to .......

-Instead of Sao Paulo go to the state of Rio Grande do Sul or Santa Catarina. Spend less time i Rio and more in these two states.
The state of Rio and the city of Rio really need to be viewed as a failed state in many ways. Apart from the usual tourist traps in Rio there's not much else in my opinion.
There' more to Brazil than Rio. Apart from Rio Grande do Sul or Santa Catarina, go to the northeast where you'll get insight into Brazil's colonial past an Afro-Brazilian culture.

-As for crime, there's plenty of it. Be smart, dress like the locals and leave jewelry, watches, phones and expensive cameras at home.
I've never had a problem in Rio or Sao Paulo myself, however I have had problems with the police. Both times they were looking for bribes.
I don' trust the police in Brazil (period).
Deal Addict
Jul 21, 2005
1762 posts
863 upvotes
Alberta
fogo wrote: -As for Rocinha and the tour. If turning people's misfortune into a tourist destination is your thing then I seriously think you need to .......
It's an educational tour, has nothing to do with being entertained at the expense of people living there. They take you to local markets, I bought a painting and other Brazilian souvenirs while there, made by the people who live there. They take you to a local school and explain how things work around there, you get to interact with kids and can make donations. They also explain how all the buildings are actually pretty safe as they were made by people who know how to make concrete structures, as often the people who live in the favelas are the workers who built the big buildings downtown. They also explained the social structure and how one can be severely punished for stealing inside the favelas, so crime is actually pretty low in there, with the only exception of being caught in the crossfire of rival drug gangs. Stuff like that. I found it very valuable and at no point did I feel like it was taking advantage of the vulnerable. These people are just normal people living in a world forgotten by their government who have managed to survive and thrive in their own little world with shops, schools etc. You can ignore them if you want like the government does, or you can get educated about the issues and be better off for it.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Sep 23, 2007
5061 posts
1155 upvotes
Thanks guys. I actually laid out my plan already.

I have business in Sao Paulo so I actually have almost a week there. Day time is work but night time is free. So I can experience some restaurants at night I guess. I have a weekend in Sao Paulo and I budgeted 1 day to see the Park, and the municipal market. My 2nd day I booked a day trip to visit the Switzerland of Brazil. It's a neighbouring city called Campo do Jardao.

I will spend 2 days in the Falls. Thanks for the tip about vaccination. I will do. I've always been a magnet to mosquitoes. I will bring bug spray on top of getting vaccinated. First full day I booked a bus that will take me to the Argentina side from my Brazil hotel and back. 2nd day is a half day with night flight to Rio. I can take a bus/taxi to get to the Brazil side entrance. My research shows that Brazil side is smaller and half day is enough.

Then my next 6 days will be in Rio. Some days with tours, some days by myself. Given how bad everyone says the safety issue is, I guess a tour is better. keep in mind I am here during the week of the festival so it's going to be the busiest time of the year.
-1 day day trip (tour) to Angra dos Reis with a boat trip out to the waters. With time for swimming (booked and fixed date)
-1 day is booked with a city tour. this knocks off a lot of the main attractions like sugarloaf mountain and Christ statue (booked and fixed date)
-1 day is a free city day. Probably hit the beach on this day and explore the parts not covered by the tour. Tips on this day? I am alone. Is watching my belongings a serious issue at the beach? Are there lockers?
-1 day I booked a Rocinha tour 3 hours. In the evening I got tickets to see the carnival at the Sambadrome (booked and fixed date)
-1 day guided tour to Petropolis (booked and fixed date)
-1 free day I plan to do some hiking in the Tijuca forest
-I technically have another morning because the flight is late afternoon so I need to be at airport by 1pm or so. So kind of 6.5 days.

So 4 days of Rio are kind of fixed with pre-booked stuff. the other 2 days I can switch if needed.

I would love to do another trip to explore the Amazon and Panatal but this needs to be a separate trip.

About profiting from people's misery in the favela, the tour says my visit helps to bring awareness and funding to the community. I don't know how much of the tour fee goes towards the community but if I buy some food in the community, I am pumping money into the economy? I don't sense the ethical issue. They would be suffering whether I visit them or not. My visit does not contribute to their suffering.

Thanks for the safety tip. The fake wallet thing sounds like a good idea.

Any other tips or ideas? I can still cancel the day tours if you have a better suggestion. The only non-refundable thing right now is the Carnival ticket at the Sambadrome which I won't miss for anything. It's at night anyways.

My hotel will be very close to the Sambadrome. Short walk.
Deal Addict
Feb 3, 2006
1183 posts
60 upvotes
eblend wrote: It's an educational tour, has nothing to do with being entertained at the expense of people living there. They take you to local markets, I bought a painting and other Brazilian souvenirs while there, made by the people who live there. They take you to a local school and explain how things work around there, you get to interact with kids and can make donations. They also explain how all the buildings are actually pretty safe as they were made by people who know how to make concrete structures, as often the people who live in the favelas are the workers who built the big buildings downtown. They also explained the social structure and how one can be severely punished for stealing inside the favelas, so crime is actually pretty low in there, with the only exception of being caught in the crossfire of rival drug gangs. Stuff like that. I found it very valuable and at no point did I feel like it was taking advantage of the vulnerable. These people are just normal people living in a world forgotten by their government who have managed to survive and thrive in their own little world with shops, schools etc. You can ignore them if you want like the government does, or you can get educated about the issues and be better off for it.
You're entitled to your opinion. As someone born there, I don't see it that way. If you're really interested in exploring the living conditions of the misfortunate, do it in your backyard.
I find it peculiar that people are interested in how the poor live in other countries, so called '3rd world' countries but tend to care less about what happens in their own backyard.
I once tried explaining to someone that the same conditions found in Rocinha or Alemao or any other favela in Latin America can be found in Canada, such as in Northern Ontario in many First Nations communities. I'd go as far as saying that conditions in Rocinha are better. I just find it disturbing this type of tourism. My opinion, that's all.
Deal Addict
Feb 3, 2006
1183 posts
60 upvotes
BananaHunter wrote: Thanks guys. I actually laid out my plan already.

I have business in Sao Paulo so I actually have almost a week there. Day time is work but night time is free. So I can experience some restaurants at night I guess. I have a weekend in Sao Paulo and I budgeted 1 day to see the Park, and the municipal market. My 2nd day I booked a day trip to visit the Switzerland of Brazil. It's a neighbouring city called Campo do Jardao.

I will spend 2 days in the Falls. Thanks for the tip about vaccination. I will do. I've always been a magnet to mosquitoes. I will bring bug spray on top of getting vaccinated. First full day I booked a bus that will take me to the Argentina side from my Brazil hotel and back. 2nd day is a half day with night flight to Rio. I can take a bus/taxi to get to the Brazil side entrance. My research shows that Brazil side is smaller and half day is enough.

Then my next 6 days will be in Rio. Some days with tours, some days by myself. Given how bad everyone says the safety issue is, I guess a tour is better. keep in mind I am here during the week of the festival so it's going to be the busiest time of the year.
-1 day day trip (tour) to Angra dos Reis with a boat trip out to the waters. With time for swimming (booked and fixed date)
-1 day is booked with a city tour. this knocks off a lot of the main attractions like sugarloaf mountain and Christ statue (booked and fixed date)
-1 day is a free city day. Probably hit the beach on this day and explore the parts not covered by the tour. Tips on this day? I am alone. Is watching my belongings a serious issue at the beach? Are there lockers?
-1 day I booked a Rocinha tour 3 hours. In the evening I got tickets to see the carnival at the Sambadrome (booked and fixed date)
-1 day guided tour to Petropolis (booked and fixed date)
-1 free day I plan to do some hiking in the Tijuca forest
-I technically have another morning because the flight is late afternoon so I need to be at airport by 1pm or so. So kind of 6.5 days.

So 4 days of Rio are kind of fixed with pre-booked stuff. the other 2 days I can switch if needed.

I would love to do another trip to explore the Amazon and Panatal but this needs to be a separate trip.

About profiting from people's misery in the favela, the tour says my visit helps to bring awareness and funding to the community. I don't know how much of the tour fee goes towards the community but if I buy some food in the community, I am pumping money into the economy? I don't sense the ethical issue. They would be suffering whether I visit them or not. My visit does not contribute to their suffering.

Thanks for the safety tip. The fake wallet thing sounds like a good idea.

Any other tips or ideas? I can still cancel the day tours if you have a better suggestion. The only non-refundable thing right now is the Carnival ticket at the Sambadrome which I won't miss for anything. It's at night anyways.

My hotel will be very close to the Sambadrome. Short walk.
-tours are a good call

-Angra dos Reis is a nice place to visit

-Petropolis is a good place to visit./good call

-take nothing to the beach except a towel, little cash and flipflops . Gangs of kids tend to roam and target people

-be vigilant about the area near your hotel (Santa Teresa) especially at night/pickpockets and muggings are not unusal in this area

-in your wallet do carry some cash in case you are mugged/there have been cases of people being assaulted upon realizing that you have nothing to take

You might find this interesting or not, but there's an app called OTT that gives users information as to where gun fights are taking place between rival gangs or the plice and gangs usually in favelas or near favelas. I have family that uses this app as they travel through Rio.https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... p&hl=en_CA
Think of it as Waze Carioca style.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Sep 23, 2007
5061 posts
1155 upvotes
Man....sounds really rough when there exists an app to track the gun violence....Never been robbed before. I normally like to walk around in my free time. I did this in Lima, Peru, and Cairo which are probably the 2 least safe cities I have visited. Nothing happened. For brazil, the sheer volume of warnings about petty crimes is staggering.

So if I get robbed clean and have no money or phone, what should I do? Sounds like I should keep some cash and my passport in my hotel. Hotel lockers are safe from hotel employees?

Silly question...but a lot of people say don't bring your phone. My phone is over $1000 in value. So how am I supposed to navigate or take pictures? I need to bring a camera? Will have to buy a new one. My phone is more important than my camera of course so if I mitigate a risk, I should protect my phone over my camera.
Banned
Jan 20, 2017
584 posts
145 upvotes
BananaHunter wrote: Man....sounds really rough when there exists an app to track the gun violence....Never been robbed before. I normally like to walk around in my free time. I did this in Lima, Peru, and Cairo which are probably the 2 least safe cities I have visited. Nothing happened. For brazil, the sheer volume of warnings about petty crimes is staggering.

So if I get robbed clean and have no money or phone, what should I do? Sounds like I should keep some cash and my passport in my hotel. Hotel lockers are safe from hotel employees?

Silly question...but a lot of people say don't bring your phone. My phone is over $1000 in value. So how am I supposed to navigate or take pictures? I need to bring a camera? Will have to buy a new one. My phone is more important than my camera of course so if I mitigate a risk, I should protect my phone over my camera.
This is exactly what i thought before I arrived in Rio on halloween day in 2019.
Good Lord, why I did not visit this part of the world earlier. I am dying to go back, it is just incredibly beautiful (and perfectly safe)
Deal Addict
Feb 3, 2006
1183 posts
60 upvotes
BananaHunter wrote: Man....sounds really rough when there exists an app to track the gun violence....Never been robbed before. I normally like to walk around in my free time. I did this in Lima, Peru, and Cairo which are probably the 2 least safe cities I have visited. Nothing happened. For brazil, the sheer volume of warnings about petty crimes is staggering.

So if I get robbed clean and have no money or phone, what should I do? Sounds like I should keep some cash and my passport in my hotel. Hotel lockers are safe from hotel employees?

Silly question...but a lot of people say don't bring your phone. My phone is over $1000 in value. So how am I supposed to navigate or take pictures? I need to bring a camera? Will have to buy a new one. My phone is more important than my camera of course so if I mitigate a risk, I should protect my phone over my camera.
I really don't know what to say regarding being mugged or the chances of you being mugged?
There have been individuals who have gone to Rio with an expensive camera around their neck and nothing has happened.
And I now of someone who had a knife pulled on them while walking in Copacabana.
Statistically you have a very low chance of getting mugged in Rio/Brazil considering the number of tourists that visit Rio.
Brazil is beautiful, problematic but worth the trip.

Some more adivice:

-as for a phone, bring a burner phone if you need to take pics
-locate a dependable driving service to drive you around especially from the airport/I tend to avoid the yellow and blue cabs/I know someone whose driver took them to Mare a huge favela right by the airport by accident/it was an hones accident as the driver was new and got lost
-be wary of women hitting on you/be careful of drinks given to you by strangers
-don't get involved with prostitutes or drugs/it isn't uncommon for street workers to work with the cops
-avoid atms on the street/use ones in banks or shopping centres
- Zona Sul (Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Lagoa, Jardim Botanico) and Barra da Tijuca tends to be safer/however I've seen some interesting shit on Copacabana
especially with pickpockets, muggings, prostitutes
-don't bring strangers back to your hotel room
-you do not want anything to do with the police/the police are corrupt/violent and deadly especially if you are poor and black
-don't travel at night on foot
-if someone spills something on you while you are walking, don't stop and keep walking/common trick to pick your wallet
-if you see someone drop something, don't pick it up and offer to give it back/leave it and keep walking
-If I'm not mistaken, you are going to Carnival, correct? Nothing I can say here can prepare you for Carnival. Lots of people, lost of booze, drugs nd lots of dancing.
All good conditions to be pickpocketed.

Have fun and enjoy!
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
3459 posts
1219 upvotes
Ottawa
Agree with the burner phone and decoy wallet. My son was in Argentina a few years ago and was robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight. He handed over his phone and wallet which had some money in it, but he had his important documents and rest of his $ hidden. The nuisance was that phones are more expensive there, so he ended up with a more expensive but poorer quality phone.
Newbie
Nov 20, 2018
14 posts
1 upvote
Alberta
Went to Rio as a solo female and felt safe but that was back in 2010. I traveled at night with people I met at the hostel. Did both sides of the falls and took the bus tour to cross the border. Definitely do not skip Argentina side! Brazil side is doable half day but start early.

I found Buenos Aires sketchy than Rio. The Brazilians I’ve encountered are friendly and warm. I’d love to go back.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Sep 23, 2007
5061 posts
1155 upvotes
Ok...I'll go prepared. Thanks for all precautions. If you don't hear back from me in March, you guys know I'm probably dead in Brazil hahaha. I've never been to a place with so much warning for crime. I'll write up a report when I am back.

If walking around alone is not recommended, and public transit turns dangerous at night, and taxis are not recommended, how the heck am I supposed to go back to my hotel after dinner? While we talking food, any places you recommend? I'd try a famous Brazillian steakhouse once but I got a lot of meals to go through. I think my city tour includes it already. I always want to experience real local food.
Deal Addict
Feb 3, 2006
1183 posts
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BananaHunter wrote: Ok...I'll go prepared. Thanks for all precautions. If you don't hear back from me in March, you guys know I'm probably dead in Brazil hahaha. I've never been to a place with so much warning for crime. I'll write up a report when I am back.

If walking around alone is not recommended, and public transit turns dangerous at night, and taxis are not recommended, how the heck am I supposed to go back to my hotel after dinner? While we talking food, any places you recommend? I'd try a famous Brazillian steakhouse once but I got a lot of meals to go through. I think my city tour includes it already. I always want to experience real local food.
You'll be fine.
Regarding taxis, radio taxis is your best bet.
Immediately upon exiting the customs clearance area at GIG, you will find booths for the radio taxis.
https://quatrocantosdomundo.files.wordp ... g_0459.jpg

Yellow and blue cabs are ok but you'll find that they don't tend to speak English and they have a tendency to screw you if they know you're a gringo like running the meter.
They will also pester you insisting taking you to a precious stone retailer or brothels if they know you're a gringo.

Radio taxis are cleaner, more expensive, tend not to sell you things and just more reliable overall.

Having said this, a family member used Uber for her 2 week trip. Your call.

Regarding taxis in general always ask for the price before getting into the cab, even metered cabs . Last time I was there many were not even running the meter at night.

As for food, you are better asking someone else as I tend to eat with family when I'm back and when I go out it's in Barra da Tijuca. I'm really never in the Santa Teresa area and rarely go to Copacabana. I tend to stick to Jacarepaguá and Barra. One thing i would suggest you eat is Feijoada. Many restaurants tend to serve this on Fridays and Saturdays.
Banned
May 9, 2018
287 posts
114 upvotes
Based on your trip and experience ....which cost effective hostels/hotels would you suggest and where? Also, how did you go about booking the bus tour to the other side of the falls i.e. Argentina and did you do the christ the redeemer?
lalu99 wrote: Went to Rio as a solo female and felt safe but that was back in 2010. I traveled at night with people I met at the hostel. Did both sides of the falls and took the bus tour to cross the border. Definitely do not skip Argentina side! Brazil side is doable half day but start early.

I found Buenos Aires sketchy than Rio. The Brazilians I’ve encountered are friendly and warm. I’d love to go back.
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Feb 1, 2005
2165 posts
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We've been to Rio and Iguazzu Falls. Iguazzu Falls is a definite must-see and you have to go see it from both sides because you get different views/experiences from each of the sides. The Brazil side is more panoramic and the Argentina side is more expansive and intimate.

In our travels in (Eastern) Europe, Asia, South America, and parts of the USA (e.g., downtown Detroit at night a few years back), Rio was where we felt the least safe and were absolutely glad that we booked an experienced Rio-based tour guide during our stay. When we went to Santa Terese, the cool and hip area, our tour guide basically had to pay a guy to "watch over" the car while we went walking in the neighbourhood for about half an hour. When I say "watch over", I mean that I'm sure he was euphemistically threatening to damage or steal her car while we walked around unless she paid him off. I think it is definitely more important that you be especially vigilant in Rio than in other tourist-prey hotspots like Barcelona/Las Ramblas or Rome.

We definitely enjoyed our experience in Rio, so encourage you to visit and see the places, but we also definitely were on alert for our safety at all times while touring in the public areas including at the beaches.
Banned
May 9, 2018
287 posts
114 upvotes
So, never been to Western Europe, Aus/NZ and African continent then? You made Detroit sound like it's the most dangerous city in the US, when Chicago is right up there. LOL
ShopperfiendTO wrote: We've been to Rio and Iguazzu Falls. Iguazzu Falls is a definite must-see and you have to go see it from both sides because you get different views/experiences from each of the sides. The Brazil side is more panoramic and the Argentina side is more expansive and intimate.

In our travels in (Eastern) Europe, Asia, South America, and parts of the USA (e.g., downtown Detroit at night a few years back), Rio was where we felt the least safe and were absolutely glad that we booked an experienced Rio-based tour guide during our stay. When we went to Santa Terese, the cool and hip area, our tour guide basically had to pay a guy to "watch over" the car while we went walking in the neighbourhood for about half an hour. When I say "watch over", I mean that I'm sure he was euphemistically threatening to damage or steal her car while we walked around unless she paid him off. I think it is definitely more important that you be especially vigilant in Rio than in other tourist-prey hotspots like Barcelona/Las Ramblas or Rome.

We definitely enjoyed our experience in Rio, so encourage you to visit and see the places, but we also definitely were on alert for our safety at all times while touring in the public areas including at the beaches.

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