Don’t pull your iPhone out, Carry cash only, Don’t wear jewellery, Don’t walk the streets alone, and certainly don’t swim in the ocean.
Everyone has an opinion (maybe hearsay), but in hindsight, you should always ask the person giving you advice “have you been yourself?” Probably NOT! Advice is great, but useless when it’s from a game of Chinese Whispers.
Prior to visiting Rio, I had the following questions.
5 RIO TRAVEL MYTHS SOLVED
MYTH: Don’t take your phone out! It will be snatched off you!
TRUTH: On the first morning as soon as I woke up and looked out my window. I was surprised to see how many people were running the main strip of Ipanema all carrying some form of music device. From iPods, iPhones and some even large Bose headphones.
I carried my iPhone around Rio and used it as my camera, at no time did I have anyone attempt to snatch it from me. The majority of tourist in Rio were using iPhones or small cameras.
MYTH: The Favelas are filled with drug Lords and guns!
TRUTH: I took a Rio Rosinha Favela Group Tour. The hotel’s concierge organized this for me, although you were also able to book this tour directly with the company on the net.
In the words of my tour guide “the tours are there not to make you sad but for you to see and learn about what Favelas in 2015 are really like“.
The Favela was safe, reasonably clean, and the locals weren’t carrying guns or doing drugs! A great and safe experience. A must on your visit to Rio.
My tour didn’t have any families with children, but I feel if you asked the hotel concierge they would give you an honest opinion on whether children were safe to join in.
MYTH: The ocean water is full of rubbish!
TRUTH: RUBBISH that’s what that is. OK so we know there are certain areas of the bay that are dirty but no-one heading to Rio de Janeiro for a holiday is expecting to swim there. The beach water was clean, and the sand was white.
Beach volleyball is a big part of Rio and the beach life. Courts line a very large strip of Ipanema beach. Therefore an even better layer of sand is laid in the top third of the beach along the volleyball courts.
Neither my husband or I had any problems with our stomachs from either swimming in the ocean or eating from local vendors.
MYTH: Safe to walk alone? Mugged or kidnapped!
TRUTH: We stayed on Ipanema beach (at Caesar Park Hotel) which we now understand is the safest of areas in Rio. I definitely felt confident and safe to walk the streets on my own. Having had said this, the hotel concierge had advised me against wearing jewelry including my wedding ring. This was to avoid attention.
I always carried a backpack with my wallet and camera inside, and NO not on my chest but over the shoulder.
MYTH: Don’t bother taking your DSLR camera with you?
TRUTH: I personally wouldn’t take one to the beach, and go swimming. But don’t be scared to take one on tours. There’s plenty of tourists with cameras, and the photo below demonstrates that beautifully. The photo below was taken at Copacabana on the weekend on a very busy day. Note all the cameras!
I didn’t take mine everywhere as its so bulky and heavy, but my GoPro and iPhone got the workout instead.