RE’13 is now over - thank you for joining us!


  • RE’13 presentation slides now available from the Downloads page.

Key Dates in 2013

  • July 15: Doctoral Symposium
  • July 15-16: Workshops & Tutorials
  • July 17-19: Main Conference

Safety and Security in Rio de Janeiro

In the past, Rio de Janeiro was known as an unsafe city. Much has changed in the last decade. The State government has implemented a Pacifying Police Force (Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora - UPP) in several favelas. This, along with other security measures, has greatly improved Rio’s safety. Nowadays, locals and tourists can enjoy Rio’s beautiful scenes with a relative peace of mind. I say “relative” because Rio de Janeiro is like any other big city in the world. With some common sense cautionary measures, you will most likely have a lovely time in this wonderful city.

“Most visitors seem to have at least some concern about how safe the city of Rio de Janeiro is. Difficulty with writing a guide is that I cannot guarantee that nothing bad will happen in a particular neighbourhood. Since I have been living here for a while I can, however, give you some general pointers, and I can say that Rio de Janeiro is much safer than what most tourists assumes.
First thing you have to keep in mind is that tourism is a very important part of Rio de Janeiro. Brasilians take pride in the fact that people are willing to visit their country, and in addition there are financially aspects to take into account. Because you are valuable for Rio de Janeiro plenty efforts are made to keep you safe. This starts already when arriving at the airport”

Rioguide [3]

We have collected below some safety and security advice from travel guides, UK government and personal experience. We have tried to make a comprehensive list in case you find yourself in one of these situations.

Public Transport

Buses are well-known targets for thieves. Avoid taking them after dark, and keep an eye out while you’re on them, especially during rush hour. Bus drivers can drive very fast. Sit down, if possible, and hold tight. Generally speaking, the metro system is safe. [1] [2]


Only use licensed taxis. You can pick up a licensed taxi from the many recognized taxi ranks around Brasilian cities. Most airports have licensed taxi desks inside the baggage reclaim areas. Take taxis at night to avoid walking along empty streets. [1][2]

Some licensed taxis that can pick you up anywhere in the city:

  • JB Taxi: (21) 2178 4000
  • Pontual: (21) 3294 6650
  • Taxi Golden: (21) 2589-0799
  • Lagoa Taxi: (21) 2291-9734
  • Taxibeat (Smart phone application - choose only well-ranked drivers):

They will call you back in a few minutes telling the number of the taxi that will pick you up. They might not speak English.

In conventional taxi-cabs - yellow coloured with a blue stripe - the amount to start a trip is around R$4,40. The rate per kilometre is around R$1,60, in Class 1 fares, which are applicable Mondays to Saturdays, from 6h to 21h. Each kilometre turned under Class 2 fares, which are applicable Sundays and holydays, is around R$1,92. Baggage may cost you an extra R$2,50 per bag. [3]

Beaches & Swimming

Purse- and bag-snatching is extremely common on the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, where thieves work with lightning speed. Always keep an eye on your stuff and don’t take anything of value to the beach. A common beach scam is for one thief to approach you from one side and ask you for a light or the time. While you’re distracted, the thief’s partner grabs your gear from the other side. [1]

Strong currents can be a danger off some beaches. Take local advice before swimming. [2]


Maracanã Football Stadium is worth a visit. If attending a football match, take only spending money for the day and a small camera. Avoid the crowded sections where the organized fans gather.


There are high levels of poverty in shanty-towns (favelas). The state government has implemented a Pacifying Police Force (Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP)) in several favelas in Rio de Janeiro. This has improved security, but favelas can be dangerous. Don’t wander into the favelas unless you’re with an organised tour guide who really knows the area. Violence, particularly aimed at police and officials may occur. Public transport is likely to be disrupted during periods of unrest. Be alert and make sure you are aware of local conditions at all times. [1][2]

General Sightseeing

Centro, which is deserted in the evening and on weekends, should only be explored during weekdays. [1]

Avoid wearing expensive jewellery and watches. Don’t carry large sums of money. Leave your passport and valuables in a safe place, though you should carry another form of photo ID like a driving licence with you at all times. [2]

Armed robberies are rare, but have occurred on the streets of Lapa, Santa Teresa and in the South zone of Rio (Botafogo, Flamengo, Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Gávea). If you have the misfortune of being robbed, slowly hand over the goods. Never argue, try to run or to fight back - it is not worth it. Robbers may be under the influence of drugs.


Some ATMs have been fitted with an anti theft device that applies pink coloured ink to the notes of an ATM that has been damaged or tampered with. Any pink coloured note will not be accepted in the market and automatically loses its value. If you withdraw cash at an ATM and it has any sort of pink marks, speak to the bank straight away to get it changed. [2]

Bank and credit card fraud my happen. Keep sight of your card at all times. Notify your bank in advance of your trip to avoid your card being blocked. [2]

Demonstrations and Riots

In the last few days, there have been demonstrations all over Brasil, which started because of the rising bus fares and progressed to a number of other issues, such as better health and education systems, end of corruption, and human rights. The vast majority of demonstrators are peaceful. Unfortunately, a few vandals take advantage of it to attack the city’s public heritage.

The best thing to do is to keep yourself informed about where there will be demonstrations. They take place in specific places, advertised through the social networks. Unless you want to take part, just choose another part of the city to visit on that day. If participating, just keep alert and calmly walk away if you see any kind of tension.

Medical Services

There are scores of pharmacies in town, a number of which stay open 24 hours, including two branches of Drogaria Pacheco (Av NS de Copacabana 115 and Av NS de Copacabana 534), Farmácia do Leme (Av Prado Júnior 231, Copacabana), and Farmácia Piauí (Av Ataulfo de Paiva 1283, Leblon). There are many others around the city. Just ask a local. [1]

For medical emergencies visit one of the following (prefer private hospitals):

Private Hospitals:

Public Hospitals:

  • UPAs – Unidade de Pronto Atendimento (all over the city) -
  • Hospital de Ipanema (3111 2300; Rua Antônio Parreiras 67, Ipanema)
  • Hospital Miguel Couto (2274 2121; Av Bartolomeu Mitre 1108, Gávea)
  • Hospital Rocha Maia (R. Gen. Severiano, 91 - Botafogo Rio de Janeiro, 22290-040 (21) 2295-2295)





Leticia Duboc – Posters & Demos Chair