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A Guide to Travelling to Rio

Rio is Brazil's cultural and tourist hub, attracting visitors from across the globe, to its warm, temperate climate. 

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Reasons to travel to Rio

 

There are plenty of reasons to travel to Rio, of course. The city is renowned for its hospitality, vibrant culture, famous Carnival and breath taking scenery – and we don’t just mean the not-to-be-missed Copacabana beach. Rio is also home to some of the world’s most incredible flora and fauna, including the world's largest swath of urban rain forest.

But before you pack your manokini and race to the airport, here's some Rio travel advice you may find useful.

 

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How can I stay safe in Rio?

So if you’re thinking about travelling to Rio – apart from sun lotion and a passion to party – the one item you should definitely have on your shopping list is travel insurance. 

It’s important to be vigilant, and try not to wear jewellery or flash your favourite watch when you're out in public. It’s always a good idea not to carry too much cash. Theft is common - particularly on public beaches and, sadly, tourists are an all too easy target.

It might also be a good idea to avoid Brazil's 'favelas'. They’re shanty towns on the outskirts of major cities. Unfortunately, some people see them as a tourist attraction. Believe it or not you can even book official sightseeing tours to them. But they can be dangerous places for tourists. A trip to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer is a much safer bet.

When travelling between sights, keep your wits about you - especially on public transport during rush-hour, as petty crime is common. As a general rule, the metro system is safer than the buses, but ideally, you should stick to legitimate, well-marked taxis.

In the unlikely event that you do have something stolen such as your valuables, possessions or cash, they should all be covered under your travel insurance policy. But do check in your policy documents prior to travelling with regard to what you need to do should the worst happen. It’s likely you will need to report the theft to the police and have evidence of this.

What else do I need to consider before getting on the plane to Rio?

Before you start packing, here are some more Rio travel tips:

- Travel and accommodation: book your flights and accommodation as far in advance as possible from a reputable seller.

- Insurance: get comprehensive travel insurance and make sure it covers you for all the activities you want to do. Many Brazilian hospitals will not accept you as a patient unless you’re able to provide evidence of insurance. So make sure you have plenty of medical cover. You can compare travel insurance quotes by clicking here.

- Passport: your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the date you enter Brazil. Don’t leave it to the last minute to check.

- Book transport: Brazil is huge. In fact, it's the world’s fifth largest country. So if you plan to travel outside of Rio, make sure you check how long journeys will take, and book your transport well in advance.

- Injections: check which jabs and medication you need, especially if you’re planning to venture to more remote parts of the country. See www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk for more information.

- Language: learn a smattering of Portuguese before you go as English isn’t as widely spoken as you may expect.

The Zika Virus

One other thing to think about before you travel to Rio is mosquitoes – and more specifically the Zika virus. Zika is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. For most people, the symptoms (fever, rash and joint pain) are mild, but during pregnancy, Zika can also cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly.

The official line is, if you’re pregnant, you’re advised not to travel to areas infected with the Zika virus, including Brazil.

Hopefully, absolutely nothing will go wrong when you travel to Rio. But put these numbers and addresses in your mobile phone and hand luggage just in case:

Emergency assistance

If you’re in Rio and need emergency help, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Police

The Tourism Police station is open 24 hours a day. Make a note of the details in case something should happen:

Tourism Police. Av. Afrânio de Melo Franco 159, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, 22430–060.021/2332–2924

Visitor Information

Rio’s city tourism department, Riotur, operates a tourist information website in English and Portuguese www.rioguiaoficial.com.br. City maps can be picked up at Riotur booths at bus stations and airports in Barra, Copacabana, Leblon, Gavea, Sugarloaf and Lapa.

Now you have all the information you need to stay safe the only thing left to do is enjoy your holiday!

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