Looking for information about the safest cities in Brazil for your upcoming trip to South America? You’re in the right place!

Traveling to Brazil is an exciting adventure that promises diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality. I have personally experienced this beautiful country twice – once as a solo traveler and another time accompanied by my family ( including my energetic four-year-old twins). Brazil has unlimited beauty and adventure to offer, but it’s important to explore it safely. 

Brazil’s allure lies in its breathtaking natural wonders, from the lush Amazon rainforest to the stunning beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Rich in both history and culture, Brazil boasts iconic landmarks like the Christ the Redeemer statue, captivating samba rhythms, and mouthwatering culinary delights. 

It’s important to acknowledge that, like any destination, Brazil has its share of cities and areas that are safer than others. By staying informed about local customs, heeding advice from fellow travelers, and maintaining situational awareness, you can navigate the country with confidence and minimize potential risks.

In this blog post, you will learn about the safest cities in Brazil including unique attractions and experiences in each city. Additionally, you’ll also learn useful safety tips that can be utilized within Brazil and any other travel destination.

What is Brazil’s Safety Rating?

Brazil is full of vibrant culture, friendly people, beautiful beaches, stunning nature, lively festivals, and sprawling cities. However, in recent years, Brazil has gained a reputation as being dangerous for international travelers due to its increased crime rate.

So, is Brazil safe to travel to? Yes, it is possible to travel to Brazil safely. 

The US Department of State currently lists Brazil at a Level 2 Exercise Increased Caution. A Level 2 ranking is common in many places around the world, including many countries in Europe and other popular tourist destinations.

There are a few select places in Brazil that are listed as Level 4 Do Not Travel. Those places include the Favelas, or housing developments, as well as some areas along the international borders near Venezuela and Colombia. 

While it is true that Brazil has dealt with high crime rates in the past, the country is seeing an overall decrease in recent years. Overall, many places in Brazil are considered safe to travel to, as long as you exercise caution and utilize common safety tips. 

The Top 10 Safest Cities in Brazil

Brazil is a large country with a population of over 214 million people spread throughout many large, urban cities. The following 10 cities are considered to be some of the safest cities in Brazil to visit.

1. Florianópolis

Views of Florianópolis – one of the safest cities in Brazil to visit.
Picture courtesy of canva.com

As the capital of southern Brazil’s Santa Catarina state, Florianópolis is widely known for its beautiful beaches. A large portion of the city is actually on Santa Catarina Island, which has several popular tourist areas such as Praia dos Ingleses. 

As a tropical paradise, Florianópolis is quite popular with international tourists. The city has a population of over 500,000, a bit smaller when compared to some of the other cities in Brazil. However, Florianópolis has one of the lowest crime rates in the country, making it one of the safest cities in Brazil to visit.

2. Curitiba

The Botanical Garden of Curitiba in Curitiba, Brazil. This is a very safe part of Brazil to visit as a tourist.
Picture courtesy of canva.com

Curitiba is the capital of the Paraná region and has about 1.7 million residents. It’s a beautiful city with lots of green spaces. Some of the best things to do are to visit the impressive Botanical Garden of Curitiba (pictured above), check out the Oscar Niemeyer Art Museum, or take a stroll through Tangua Park.

In terms of safety, Curitiba tends to have lower crime rates when compared to other Brazilian cities, making it one of the safer places in Brazil to visit. Curitiba also has some of the highest standards of living in Brazil.

3. Belo Horizonte

The skyline of Belo Horizonte Brazil – one of the safest cities in Brazil to visit.
Picture courtesy of canva.com

Belo Horizonte is the capital of the Minas Gerais state in southeastern Brazil. The city has a population of about 2.7 million people and it is famous for its art-deco-style architecture, Mineirão Stadium, and beautiful green spaces. It’s also known as the bar capital of Brazil! 

Belo Horizonte is considered to be among the safest cities in Brazil, with lower crime rates in comparison to other cities of the same size. While you should always take safety precautions when traveling, it is fairly safe to walk around Belo Horizonte, especially during the day.

4. Brasilia 

A bridge in Brasilia, Brazil.
Picture courtesy of canva.com

Brasilia is the capital of Brazil and is home to over four million people. Brasilia is famous for its unique urban design, which earned the city its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highlight of Brasilia is its incredible modern architecture.

Brasilia is considered to be one of the safest cities in Brazil. The crime rates here are lower when compared to the safety ratings of other cities of the same size in South America. Especially in the central part of the city, it is quite safe to walk around and explore.

As with any city, there are some areas that tourists would want to stay away from. In Brasilia, these areas are found on the outskirts of the city and are referred to as satellite cities. These include Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa. These satellite cities experience higher crime rates than central Brasilia, so it’s best to avoid them after dark.

5. São Paulo

The streets of São Paulo, Brazil – one of the safest places to visit in Brazil.

São Paulo is Brazil’s largest city and the most populated city in all of South America. São Paulo is a major tourist destination in Brazil and is known for its museums, parks, and modern skyscrapers.

As with any large city, there are safe areas and unsafe areas of São Paulo. Most areas in the central part of the city are safe for travelers to explore, especially during daylight hours. During my first visit to São Paulo, I explored the city on my own by foot and metro. I felt completely comfortable doing so during the day. As a solo female traveler, I made sure to head back to my hotel in São Paulo when the sun started to set. 

Some of the safest neighborhoods in São Paulo include but are not limited to, Bela Vista, Jardins, Consolação, and Itaim Bibi. 

6. Joinville 

The Joinville, Brazil skyline.
Picture courtesy of canva.com

Joinville is located in southern Brazil and is the largest city in Santa Catarina. It is a smaller city, with a population of close to 600,000 people. Today it is considered a German-Brazilian city, but it was originally inhabited by the Guaraní people, and later on by French immigrants to Brazil.

Joinville is considered to be a moderately safe city to visit in South America. Its home state, Santa Catarina, is also considered to be one of the safest regions in Brazil.

7. Palmas

Palmas, Brazil is a very safe place to visit in South America.
Picture courtesy of canva.com

Palmas is the capital city of the Tocantins state in central Brazil. It’s a smaller city with a population of just over 300,000 people. Things to do in Palmas include visiting Cesamar Park, Roncador Waterfall, or Sunflower Square – the main historic square in the city.

Palmas is considered to be one of the safest cities in Brazil and tends to have lower crime rates per population than other areas of the country.

8. Natal

The beach of Natal, Brazil.
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Natal is located in the state of Rio Grande do Norte in Northeast Brazil. Natal has a population of around 800,000 people and is most well-known for its stunning coastline, sand dunes, and beautiful beaches. One of its most popular places to visit in Natal is Ponta Negra Beach.

Natal is considered to be one of the safer cities in the Northeastern part of Brazil. While it is important to still follow common safety practices, it is a relatively safe city in Brazil to visit and enjoy the beautiful beaches.

9. Porto Alegre

An aerial view of Porto Alegre, Brazil – one of the safest cities in Brazil.
Picture courtesy of canva.com

Porto Alegre is the capital of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. There are around four million people living in Porto Alegre and the city is known for its incredible food scene. If you’re lucky enough to visit, be sure to frequent the churrascarias – delicious barbecue steakhouses. Porto Alegre also has beautiful cathedrals, museums, and a stunning state palace.

Porto Alegre is a fairly safe place to visit as a tourist, especially during the daytime. It is still best to practice common safety tips, like avoiding walking around at night by yourself.

10. Rio de Janeiro

My son being goofy at the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro – one of the safest cities in Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro is the most popular travel destination in Brazil by a landslide. Rio is located in southeastern Brazil and has a population of about 6.7 million. The city is most famous for its impressive Christ the Redeemer statue, stunning Sugar Loaf Mountain, and the beautiful beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Rio is also known around the world for Carnival – a vibrant and exquisite festival that takes place every February. There are also plenty of fun and exciting day trips to take from Rio de Janeiro – so it’s a great home base for your trip to Brazil.

In recent years, Rio de Janeiro has gained a reputation for being unsafe. However, Rio is a large city and there are plenty of neighborhoods that are safe for tourists. These neighborhoods are mostly in the southern zone of the city. 

Some of the safest areas in Rio include Ipanema, Leblon, and Copacabana. My family personally stayed in Barra da Tijuca, an upscale neighborhood, and felt very safe taking evening strolls to dinner and back to our hotel in Rio.

While these are known as safer areas of Rio, it is still best to follow common safety practices and avoid walking on the beaches alone at night.

There are places that tourists should avoid in Rio de Janeiro. These include all of the Favelas, otherwise known as shanty towns. These areas typically have high crime rates and gang violence, so it’s best to avoid them unless you are a part of an organized tour. 

Is Brazil Safe for Travel?

Now that I’ve covered the safest cities in Brazil, you may be wondering, is Brazil a safe country to travel to? And, if so, who can travel safely to Brazil? 

In short, yes– Brazil is safe for travel. Like all cities around the world, Brazilian cities face issues with crime rates. However, if you follow common safety precautions it is completely possible to have an amazing and safe trip to Brazil. 

Is Brazil Safe for Families?

The family enjoying some bonding time during our trip to Brazil.

Brazil is a safe destination for families and is a very family-friendly country to visit. Family is an important part of Brazilian culture so Brazilians are very welcoming to families and children. In Brazil, it’s common for children to come with their parents to restaurants and beaches and take part in other family activities. 

Many of the restaurants we frequented with our twin four-year-olds had either a special section for kids to play or free meals for kids under a certain age.

Traveling with kids to Brazil will take some extra planning, as it does with any destination. In general, you will still follow the same safety precautions, such as making sure to stay in a safe part of town and not wandering around late at night. When traveling with children, another safety aspect to consider is transportation. For example, if you have small children and plan on riding in a car, it may be necessary to bring a car seat. 

We brought our WAYB Pico car seats to Brazil and were very glad we did. Since they are foldable and only 8 pounds each, it was extremely easy to transport them. As a bonus, the carrying case is extra spacious, which allowed us to bring home extra goodies that couldn’t fit in our suitcases. 

Don’t forget to bring kid sunscreen for all the family time you’ll enjoy on Brazil’s sunny beaches.

Is Brazil Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Enjoying the sun off the coast of Rio as a solo traveler in Brazil.

Solo female travelers can visit Brazil safely. Brazilian people are very friendly, which makes Brazil a great country to visit as a solo traveler. There are many opportunities to meet people in safe ways, such as staying at hostels and participating in social activities or joining in on a group tour. 

Personally, I loved how Brazilians would always try to have a conversation with you even knowing your Portuguese is limited and their English is not much better. If you’re open to trying, it makes an amazing memory from your trip to Brazil. 

As a solo female traveler, there are certain safety precautions that I always follow, no matter what country I’m in. For example, always let a friend or family member know what your travel plans are and check in with them occasionally throughout your trip. If you are going out, try to go with a group from your hostel or hop on a local tour. Additionally, it’s a good idea to take an Uber or taxi rather than walk home, especially late at night. 

Is Brazil Safe for LGBTQ+ Travelers?

Yes, Brazil is a safe destination for LGBTQ+ travelers. Brazil is one of the 30+ countries around the world that have laws in place protecting LGBTQ+ rights. Same-sex marriage is recognized in Brazil and has been since 2013. As of 2016, transgender rights laws have been passed to allow people to legally use the name and gender of their choice.

In São Paulo, there is a large and very fun Pride Parade that is celebrated throughout the city every June. There are actually over 100 other Pride Parades throughout the country. Many cities in Brazil also have gay bars and clubs, especially in places like Rio and São Paulo. 

In general, LGBTQ+ people are accepted in Brazil, especially in the larger cities. However, it is important to note that in the smaller, rural parts of Brazil, there is still a more conservative and traditional culture that isn’t quite as accepting. An LGBTQ+ traveler visiting smaller towns or rural communities may experience some uncomfortable stares, but violence against LGBTQ+ is extremely rare. Therefore, Brazil is a safe destination for LGBTQ+ travelers, especially in the major cities.

Is It Safe to Take an Uber or Taxi in Brazil?

The family grabbing an Uber for transportation in Brazil.

Taking an Uber or taxi is one of the safest ways to get around the cities in Brazil. In fact, it is typically safer to use a taxi or Uber than it is to walk. 

Public transportation is also available and consists of metros, city buses, and long-distance buses. However, public transport can be iffy in some areas or at night, making Uber and taxis the safest option for getting around Brazil.

Be aware that there are some common scams in Brazil regarding taxis. One of the most common ones is when the taxi driver claims the meter is broken and then charges an inflated price at the end of the ride. It is important to check that the meter is working when getting in a taxi, and if it isn’t working just find another taxi. 

Another thing to consider when taking a taxi is to have your hotel call you a reputable company, so that you can avoid a scam situation.

Taking an Uber is a great way to avoid taxi scams, as you will pay for the ride upfront through the app. Uber is considered to be a safe mode of transportation in Brazilian cities.

Is It Safe to Drink the Water in Brazil?

The tap water in major cities such as São Paulo and Rio is considered safe to drink, but it may not always taste the best. It may be a good idea to drink bottled water instead as a precaution. In more rural areas, it is best to always drink bottled water and avoid the tap. Another option instead of bottled water is to bring a small water filter, such as a life straw, that filters the water for you.

Is the Food Safe in Brazil?

A street food market in Brazil.

The food in Brazil is safe to eat, including delicious street food. Similar to the regulations restaurants follow in the U.S., Brazil has strict rules when it comes to food safety. These strict regulations ensure that the food is high quality and safe for both locals and travelers to consume. Brazilian street food is also safe to eat and is definitely worth trying during your trip.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Brazil

The streets of Salvador, Brazil.

There are many safety tips to keep in mind when traveling to any country. The following tips are some great ways to stay safe while traveling to Brazil:

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Avoid walking on the beaches after dark
  • Don’t leave your cell phone and valuables unattended when taking a dip in the water – instead use a waterproof bag or fanny pack and take them with you
  • Leave unnecessary valuables at home
  • Don’t give the appearance of wealth (wearing expensive jewelry, etc.)
  • Avoid walking after dark or around unknown areas, especially alone
  • Always walk along main streets, avoid alleyways and empty side streets
  • Let a friend or family member know your travel plans, especially if you are traveling solo
  • Hire a local guide to show you around or take guided tours
  • Get travel insurance before your trip

FAQ: Safest Cities in Brazil

When traveling to Brazil, questions and concerns about safety are common. Below are a few commonly asked questions about the safest areas of Brazil.

What is Brazil’s Safest City?

Florianópolis is Brazil’s safest city as it has one of the lowest crime rates amongst the other major cities in Brazil. The city is considered to be one of the safest cities in South America. Known for its beautiful beaches, Florianópolis is a safe place to visit in Brazil.

Which Part of Brazil is the Safest?

The southeastern states of São Paulo, Santa Catarina, and Paraná are some of the safest parts of Brazil. Some of the safest Brazilian cities include Florianópolis, Curitiba, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, and São Paulo. There are other safe parts of Brazil as well, and most major cities have neighborhoods or areas that are safer than others.

Is Brazil Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Yes, solo female travelers can travel to Brazil safely. Despite having higher-than-average crime rates, there are safe cities and neighborhoods for tourists in Brazil. No matter where you travel, be sure to avoid walking around at night, leave valuable items at home, go with a local guide or on guided tours, and tell someone your travel plans.

Are There Safe Places to Live in Brazil?

Yes, there are many safe places to live in Brazil. Brazil is a large country that is home to millions of people, including many expats. Many American expats live in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. There are many safe places to live in São Paulo, including the neighborhoods of Bela Vista, Jardins, Consolação, and Itaim Bibi.

In Conclusion: Safest Cities in Brazil

Brazil is an amazing country that is filled with natural beauty, history, and culture. Brazilian people are incredibly friendly and many places in Brazil are safe to visit as an international traveler. While these 10 cities are considered some of the safest cities in Brazil, many other places can be explored as long as you practice common sense and abide by safety tips.

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