Imagine this instead: walking around at night without a worry in the world about safety as you smile and greet passers-by, all while witnessing the sunset on the beach as the waves crash at your feet.
This is the reality of my life in Brazil as I’ve never been subjected to any type of violent crime – paradise is safe for me and can be for you too.
This truth is that mass media has been spoon feeding us biased images of “what sells” vs. what things really can be like. There are many wonderful places to live in Brazil that are relatively crime free.
So in light of that and to serve a bit of justice, you are going to get my 3 best tips on how to live safely in Brazil.
1. Choose a Safe Area
Location is everything and this is the case for living in a safe area. In Brazil, you see everything from completely open fence-less houses to full fledged jail-like structures.
Unfortunately, Brazil is a country that still has a lot of inequality and that is usually directly connected to the violent crime rate.
Where there is a Favela, there is (usually) a large amount of violent crime.
I don’t want to focus on the negative sides of Brazil, just like mass media loves to, but I think it’s important to know and understand that the most dangerous and violent crime ridden areas of Brazil are usually in or around the favela (slum) areas.
This is where many of the stereotypes of violent gangs come from – but be aware that there are many amazing and hard working people that live within .
Though, there are a lot of people bent on doing whatever it takes to get some cash and this often spills over onto the outer laying parts of the city.
Choosing a Safe Area
What went into the reasoning behind choosing the paradise island of Florianópolis was apparent from the minute I arrived there: it looked and felt safe.
The walls around houses were lower or non-existent and non-electrified, people didn’t walk around with distrustful glances (think São Paulo) while seemingly cuddling their purses.
People looked care-free, happy and like they enjoyed life in general. You could walk the streets with small children, let them play and have a good time as even cars stop to let you cross the street (what??).
When prospecting Florianópolis, I even asked people about the area “how’s crime here?” to which they replied “Over here, it’s pretty calm with only minor pick pocketing going on”, this is a great sign.
2. Speak Fluent Portuguese
The second tip and “way” of living safe in Brazil is to speak fluent Portuguese.
Imagine being in your home country and walking up to an ice cream stand. As you are waiting in line, you hear a couple speaking French to each other.
Let’s say for the sake of conversation that the French are known as being pretty rich, and so as they speak you imagine them driving their Ferraris into their giant garages in their mansions.
This is a huge stereotype and exaggerated, but this is how some Brazilians perceive any and all foreigners from Europe or the USA.
And to them, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of financially.
Learn to speak Portuguese fluently for the benefit of your communication and to help not stick out as much.
Only a small percentage of the Brazilian population speak English and learning Portuguese will be 100% necessary to live a successful life in Brazil.
These will get you speaking useful Portuguese in no time.
3. Live Down to Earth
My great grandpa lived to be 92 years old, and during his long and humble life, he lived in a normal house, drove a normal car and wore normal clothes.
He unfortunately passed away a little over a year ago and to my huge surprise, he had an estate valued around several million dollars!
Yeah, he was one of those old guys who went through the depression and stuffed his mattresses with money and what not – didn’t look the part of a millionaire in any way.
A Honey Attracts Bees
In other words, a honey attracts bees and the same for anyone who shows what they have (or don’t).
This obviously will depend on what area you live in as I’d feel completely comfortable walking around Florianópolis with designer clothes and nice jewellery or a nice car (not that I do) .
Though in a place like São Paulo, it would be insane to walk around with anything of value unless you had armed escorts.
Living in a place like Florianópolis, you don’t have to go to that much of an extreme but I still don’t think that drawing that kind of attention on yourself anywhere is good (unless you live in ).
I hope that this post served to break down some of the stereotypes associated with safety in Brazil and at the same time gave you some ideas to figure out where and how to live a tranquil life in paradise. If you’d like my help in formulating your own plan to live happily and successfully in Brazil, be sure to sign up for my .
In the end, safety is a relative term as anything dangerous can happen at any moment anywhere – so live your life to the full now!
What is your opinion, do you think Brazil is a safe place?