3 Tips to Live Safely in Brazil

Safe in Brazil Bullet ridden buildings and weapon yielding favela gang members is one of the first images a foreigner has when pondering the safety of Brazil.

Imagine this instead: walking around at night without a worry in the world about safety as you smile and greet passer-byers 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 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.

Electrical fence house Brazil

What a house with an electrical fence might look like in Brazil.

casa jurere

A house from the prestigious Jurerê Internacional area in Florianópolis, with no fence.

Unfortunately, Brazil is a country that still has a lot of dis-equality and that is usually directly connected to the violent crime rate.

Where There is a Favela, there is (usually) a large amount of violent crimes.

Not to focus on the negative sides of Brazil just like mass media loves to, though 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 and 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 distrusting 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 (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.

The Solution

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.

I would encourage you to check out the series of blog posts I wrote showing how to learn Portuguese in under 6 months or the Portuguese Acceleration Blueprint Course that’s just been launched.

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!

Say what?

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).

What Mr. T would look like before entering São Paulo.

What Mr. T would look like before entering São Paulo.

What Mr. T would look like 5 minutes later...

What Mr. T would look like 5 minutes later…

This obviously will depend on what area you live in as I’d feel completely comfortable walking around Florianópolis with designer clothes and nice jewelery 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 .

Final Words

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.

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?



3 part free video series teaches you step-by-step everything you need to know to make the move to and live a happy life in Brazil >>