Warnings and Dangers in Sao Paulo: Watch Your Back!
São Paulo, Brazil is a popular tourist and business destination with a population of 16 million people, 40 percent of whom are poor. Because of this poverty, São Paulo is an especially dangerous city for visitors. Visitors to São Paulo should be aware of these warnings and dangers while visiting this large and busy metropolitan area.
Hide Your Valuables at All Times
When you walk around in São Paulo streets, don’t wear watches or jewelry or carry your notebook or camera openly. These items can quickly make you a target for robbers known as “trombadinhas”.
Ibirapurera Park is one area where you should be especially careful when walking around. Avoid taking any valuables or money with you if you go there.
You are not even safe when you are inside a car. Keep vehicle windows closed and car doors locked at all times. Be especially aware of what is going on around you when you are stopped at a traffic light. Robbers on motorcycles often target drivers during traffic light stops.
Violent Crime is Common in São Paulo
A business traveler was recently killed in broad daylight on the Anchieta Highway while stopping to take a photograph on this well-traveled toll road. The traveler and his companion were robbed at gunpoint, and one of the men was shot and killed during the robbery.
Violent crimes like this occur frequently in São Paulo, and travelers should be vigilant at all times, day and night, even in well-traveled areas.
Be Careful Who You Associate With
Criminals in São Paulo are known to seek out naïve tourists for robbery or kidnap, and travelers are advised to avoid talking to strangers on streets and in bars. Do not buy street drugs, or you may be set-up for arrest by a policeman posing as a hippie.
When you arrive at the airport, look for the special bus and taxi services connected to the airport. With these services, you pay for your ride inside the airport before you get into the bus or car. This lets you keep your wallet hidden and safe when you are first out on the street, reducing your chances of being targeted for robbery as a new arrival.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Sao Paulo.