Visiting Brazil

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Trip to Rio and Buenos Aires with 7-y-o daughter?

Oct 2006

Last summer I found a great deal on plane tickets to Rio and Buenas Aires which got my wonder lust going.I was all set to take my 7 year old daughter and have a fabulous adventure, until allmost EVERYONE I mentioned this to told me that it is a bad idea for a woman and a girl to travel by themselves, particularily in Rio(citing crime as the reason).I would be grateful if anyone who has traveled in these two countries would share their experiences Chris

I know some about Rio. The people who tell you not to go there: have they actually been there? Rio has a bad reputation, but so does New york City, Los Angeles and Miami (among other places) to foreigners. I was also there when I was 7 (although that was in 1974!), and it was a wonderful experience for a kid. I was there in 2002 and my in-laws went in 2003. I went alone in 2002 (I'm female) in 2002 for 10 days to do research in a museum and I had a wonderful time. Took buses and the subway, walked around, ate in great restaurants, took some weekends tours, went to the beach, visited the botanical gardens, etc.

Here's my advice: go to Rio but do some reading and talking with people before you go. you have to be careful because you will stand out as a tourist, but if you take some reasonable precautions, you will be fine and will have a great time. Stay in Ipanema or somewhere else more safe. (Women jogged and biked there alone at night when I was there in 2002.) Copacabana is a little more crazy. (I think of Copacabana beach as like Venice Beach in So Cal and Ipanema like Santa Monica.)

Sign up for tours through travel companies and use tour guides. Don't use credit cards in Rio (except for the hotel) as there is much credit card theft there (the rest of Brazil is fine). Pay with cash and only carry what you need for dinner or whatever you are doing (and hide the money). Use the hotel safes to store extra money and valuables.

Use radio taxis (you call them first) not the ones you pick up on the street because they cheat everyone, even the people who live there! (Taxis at the airport are OK.) I took buses and they were fine, and the subway is safe. Don't wear fancy clothes or jewelry. Take no valuables to the beach (use a disposable camera there too).

There are some great side trips you can take to safer areas. I highly recommend taking a side trip to Ilha Grande where many people from Rio go for the weekend. (Go during the week for a more relaxing time.) No cars, just walking and biking and boating on a beautiful tropical island with little hotels and restaurants. I hear Petrópolis is beautiful also. Go and have fun! Andi

Hi, I have not been to Rio, but can give you info on Buenos Aires. I am currently living in Buenos Aires for a few months for my husband's work but will be returning to the bay area next year, so I feel like I can give you a good idea of what it's like here.

First of all let me say Buenos Aires is a beautiful city that is filled with places to go and restaurants to try and it is a very young city (EVERYONE has kids) You see children everywhere you go. It is very European, old architecture, plazas, cafes. A lot of people smoke, but they recently passed a law banning smoking in public places, so that has been wonderful.

In terms of crime, I live in Recoleta, one of the best neighborhoods in BA and you can definitely feel safe here. People walk around at 3am and there are plenty of people everywhere, police walking around and lights everywhere. Of course things can happen anywhere you go, in particular a big city, so you need to be cautious. But really I do not see it as a dangerous place for a woman and girl at all! I have walked around at night alone with the baby for fresh air and never once was scared. Let me know if you want any specific travel info for BA, you can email me directly. maria

I could not tell you about Rio bc. I've never been there. About Buenos Aires, it couldn't be a safer place. For many, many years it was a city with an amazingly low crime rate in the whole world. I am going to Buenos Aires, by myself, with my three year old in December, for twenty days. If you go to ANY large city in the world and go out by yourself in the middle of the night in a bad neighborhood it could be dangerous. But I doubt you would even know where those 'bad' neighborhoods are anyway. Buenos Aires has been called 'the city that never sleeps' and 'the Paris of South America'. Not only will you be safe but you will absolutely love the city with all the festivals, and art shows and cafes and restaurants... I recently read it is the city with most plays going on at once in the world... It's a very artistic, cultural city. Don't forget to see some tango shows! Enjoy your trip Buenos Aires lover.